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Members of the German Bundestag Katharina Willkomm (FDP), Stephan Thomae (FW), Grigorios Aggelidis (FDP) and other Members of the Group of FDP have provided a written question on the subject of service dog nature in Federal Authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The request resulted due to increased media coverage of service dogs worldwide. Because service dogs are used worldwide by military and police. In the request specifically American on an insert special forces in northwestern Syria is pointed to the attempted seizure of the leader of the terrorist militia "Islamic State" Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. The American public the dog startled the terrorist leader out of hiding and has followed in the tunnel was celebrated as a hero. But even in the case of abuse of Lüdge dogs came to tracking down the disks with child pornography material used.

The reply each distinguished between customs, federal police and armed forces. From the responses, it appears that there are major differences, both in the tactical use of the breeds used, and the number or structure of the respective service dogs being.

A dog handler of the Special Forces Command observed with his service dog access Diego comrades in tactical freefall jump service. (Photo: Bundeswehr / Jana Neumann)

Service Hundewesen at customs

The Customs currently has two inches dog teams at the main customs offices Cologne and Frankfurt am Main. Here are (airport surveillance product control unit) organizationally all customs dog teams of the respective customs offices in a control unit, to ensure an efficient and effective use. The remaining 39 main customs offices, the customs dog teams in the local control units are integrated. In two inches investigation offices customs dog teams are assigned to the functional area of ​​logistics support.

At customs nationwide about 340 inches dog teams currently are used, of which 160 dogs are trained as guard dogs. Mainly the races German Shepherd, Belgian shepherd (Malinois) and Dutch Shepherd (Hollands Herder) or hybrids are being formed in the guard dog area. The majority of dogs used inch, which are guided as a pure Beagles are attributable to the race Labrador or Labrador hybrid.

When combined customs dogs seven races are approved (German Shepherds, Belgian / Dutch Shepherds, Giant Schnauzer, Rottweiler, Hovawart, Bouvier and Airedale Terrier). Customs dogs that do not belong to this service breeds are formed exclusively as pure sniffer dogs and guided. Here, the duty falls back on eleven breeds.

The pure sniffer dogs are trained with different specializations:

  • Tobacco Beagle,
  • Cash Beagle,
  • Drug and Beagle
  • Species protection Beagle.

The so-called combined customs dogs are used in addition to the above specializations primarily of staff safety, ie for. B. to de-escalate, or eliminate attacks. They also have the training degree of protection dogs property. That is, these dogs can be used as a tool of physical violence and ensure that the controls at customs run safely and / or attacks on the officials to be blocked.

Further, with regard to the performance of tasks of the financial Schwarzarbeit (FKS), the use of data carrier sniffers is checked.

Service dog nature of the federal police

The Federal Police has no central dog unit. Service dogs and dog handlers / -inside the Federal police associated with the respective authorities of the Federal police organization and service according to postal plan. The Federal does not service dogs.

At the federal police 422 service dogs of different breeds are used currently, of which 209 Malinois (Belgian Shepherd), 153 German Shepherds, 25 Holland Herder, 17 Mechelar, eight Riesenschnautzer, five Rottweilers, an Australia Cattle Dog, a terrier and three German short hair.

These are used as guard dogs, explosive detection dogs and guard dogs to protect their own institutions. Furthermore, the German police two Beagles pyrotechnics, which have been formed as part of a testing features. A permanent implementation of these skills is not currently provided.

Service dog nature of the Bundeswehr

In the Bundeswehr 35 civilian workers and 320 soldiers with support, training and use of service dogs entrusted. The Bundeswehr uses 260 active service dogs of the breeds Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois), German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever in the following areas:

  • Military Police,
  • Engineering corps,
  • Paratroopers,
  • Special Forces Command,
  • Air Force Security Force,
  • Social service of the Bundeswehr (still as a pilot), and at the
  • School for service dog nature of the Bundeswehr
Use of Belgian short-haired shepherd dogs by the paratroopers of the Rapid Forces Division (DSC) in the exercise Fast Eagle 2018. They were used for explosives and people search. the scenario Military Evacuation (MilEvakOp) was practiced German citizens from a crisis area. (Photos: André Forkert)

Even in the army, the respective dogs specialize. So the military police force has explosive detection dogs and narcotics detection dogs, all of which are also trained in protection work. The engineering corps has mine detection dogs and ordnance detection dogs. The Air Force Security Force has the "service dog bodyguard forces of the Air Force." These are designed to search for explosives and in protection work. Under protection service also searching for people is to be considered.

Currently two explosive detection dogs and two ordnance detection dogs in the context of the use MINUSMA stationed (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabili-zation Mission in Mali) in GAO / Mali and two ordnance detection dogs at the German mission contingent "Resolute Support Mission" in MASAR-e-Sharif / Afghanistan.

The social service of the Bundeswehr (still as a pilot) has "social service dogs".
(Photo: Bundeswehr)

The social service of the Bundeswehr (still as a pilot) has "social service dogs". These are designed to accompany the worker at consultations. In addition, the therapeutic benefit of post-traumatic therapy support dogs in the treatment Stress Disorder (PTSD) is scientifically studied. He should, for example, the PTSD victims help to feel safe and relax. Dogs are used outside the service dog being some time in the PTSD care.

The school for service dogs nature of the Bundeswehr has besides all these service dogs on the "service dog basis." These service dogs are not yet fully developed or used in the development. The training of all police dogs of the Bundeswehr is basically at the school of service dog nature of the Bundeswehr.

The Bundeswehr runs its own breeding for several years, as not sufficiently qualified "service dog candidates" are available on the open market. (Photo: Bundeswehr)

In addition, the Bundeswehr for several years has its own breeding, as can be purchased on the open market is not sufficiently qualified "service dog candidates." Many varieties have about breeding and weaknesses.


Service dogs have in all services as animal detection means - proven and provide among other detection means (eg X-ray machines, etc.), a successful and established tools represent all users designate the use value of their service dogs as extremely high - drugs, explosives, people, etc... Especially in the armed forces, the police dogs on skills that can not be represented otherwise dispose. They are therefore essential for mission accomplishment. The special forces and infantry, for example, they are carried in Parachute drop and serve on the ground as search and guard dogs. A very good example is the already mentioned US operation against the terrorist leader.

A dog handler of the Special Forces Command (KSK) is preparing its access service dog Diego before a tactical freefall jump. (Photo: Bundeswehr / Jana Neumann)

In the armed forces service dogs more than just a "piece of equipment" or a workhorse are. They have the same status as the human comrades, and these have often saved his life.

Service dogs are used depending on the range between five and ten years. It is the operating time at customs with eight to ten years at the longest. The Federal Police is an average of seven years and the service dog of the Bundeswehr are used an average of five years. A defined "service life" does not exist according to the reply of the Federal Government in this regard. Each service dog is considered individually, his "service" ends when it no longer satisfies the performance requirements placed on it.

André Forkert