Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thursday Trivia: Police Dogs

Today is Police Officer Memorial Day.

We thought it was the perfect opportunity to post a special edition Word Origin Trivia: the origin of the Police Dog.

(Today, we're not looking up the origin of the phrase "Police Dog" like we'd normally do in this series ~ instead, we're sussing out the origin of the practice itself.)

Police dogs have a long and storied history of service to humankind.

According to the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, the first record of dogs being pressed into military service dates as far back as the Eighteenth Egyptian Dynasty (ca. 1200 BCE).

The elegant Saluki was thought to be the breed of dog used by the Egyptians.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Ancient History Encyclopedia provides a bit more insight as we move forward through history:

"The great Latin poet Virgil, wrote, “Never, with dogs on guard, need you fear for your stalls a midnight thief”(Georgics III, 404ff) and the writer Varro, in his work on living in the country, says that every family should have two types of dog, a hunting dog and a watchdog(De Re Rustica I.21)."

It's clear that man and dog have had a close working relationship for millenia.

The first printed record of dogs specifically employed by what we would consider the modern version of police departments - at least in the Common Era - appears to date to 14th century France. Here, the faithful canine was charged with the guarding of naval docks and other maritime installations in St. Malo, France.

They were then employed in 1895 to help Parisian police disburse unruly street gangs. This was so successful, Germany decided to develop a formal training program and in 1920, the first official police dog academy came into existence. 

Police dogs-in-training, West Midlands. Can we get a squee?
Photo: West Midlands Police via Creative Commons
Today, we salute the four-legged officers who have helped us keep the peace all around the world for thousands of years.

And we honor each of the many sacrifices made by them in the line of duty.

The K-9 Corps: The Use of Dogs in Police Work, William F. Handy, Marlyn Harrington, David J. Pittman. Journal of  Criminal Law and Criminology, Volume 52, Issue 3, September-October, 1961.
Dogs in the Ancient World, Ancient History Encyclopedia, Joshua K. Mark, 2012.
The Dog: Its Behavior, Nutrition, and Health, Linda P. Case. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
Image #13 in The Album of Petroglyphs, Akhale state web directory, Golpaygan, Iran.
Wikipedia on the Saluki
Eighteenth Dynasty 11 Things You Didn't Know About Egypt
Heddlu Police: History of the Police Dog Use of PoliceCanine Units in Narcotic SearchesOf Vehicles, Lt. Robert T. Rolak. School of Police Staff and Command, Eastern Michigan University, October 17, 2000.


  1. We salute them too for all that they do and really it is amazing just all they do from protection to apprehending to sniffer patrols etc.Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. That was very interesting. The dogs and their trainers do deserve a big round of applause.

  3. Police K-9s are invaluable and wonderful assets to the force. Bark More, Growl Less Barking from the Bayou!

  4. Mommy thought you might mention the police dog and his handsome handler from BlogPaws. Thanks for enlightening us once again. XO, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

    1. oh, PAWESOME idea - and if our mom were halfway recovered (she's still DEAD tired) she might have actually rubbed two brain cells together and thought of adding that to this post! (It was pre-written 2 weeks ago, because she had a mad inkling she might be a wee bit tired after BlogPaws, MOL!)

  5. Doods I can't believe you let yer mum write about...dogs...!
    Ya well I *guess* they do cool stuff. whatevs...

    That Woman is making a cat bag for JBs mum and will make a couple styles. She will email youze guyz when thet are done... This otta be interesting since shes on kitten duty!

    Ms Stella O Houligan

  6. K9 Cops are pawsome! Where at the Feline 9's?

    1. Uhhh...I think we fit more into the Vigilante category (as seen in this week's cat-saves-boy video that went viral!) ;-)

  7. There totally need to be more police kitties! But in the meantime, interesting history. We didn't know anything about how police dogs came to be.

  8. Dogs may be older furrends to Beins, but we are furry sure we cats are better ones. ;)

  9. Yeahhhh... we need to start a police cat squad!!

    Thank you guys so much for sending us good thoughts while I was at the vet, Rumblemum sure needed them, she was a wreck! And I felt all your healing purrs :) :)

  10. A big MEOWOOF for da police woofies, mom got to "meet" (at a distance) 1 of our local police dogs few weeks back, he was bootifull! She found out it all about his toy, not da baddie guy or da drugs, he does his job den gets his toy for few minutes. It also keeps him from getting stressed out or frustrated when he gets all amped up going to a call den isn't needed or when he isn't needed to put da bitey on a baddie. His 'reward' isn't getting da baddie or da da toy! I tink hoooman's should have a toy like dat!


Coolio! A comment? For US?