Can Huskies Be Police Dogs

Numerous dog breeds have worn a badge over the years. Some make outstanding sniffers and can find people, drugs, or even bombs. Meanwhile, other officer-dogs work chasing down criminals and apprehending them. Police pooches enjoy a unique, protected status that they share with a few police horses. I’ve written before about police dogs, and it’s not a job for every dog. You’ll never see a teacup chihuahua wearing the blue. Huskies can run the Iditarod while pulling a sled and a person behind them, so they’d probably make good cops, or would they?

Can Huskies be police dogs? Huskies aren’t among the breeds used as police dogs because they are too people-friendly. However, one special husky-dog named Arctic was an officer in Florida. His job was to liaise with the public and help people feel more comfortable around their local officers. 

Why Huskies Don’t Become K9 Officers

Husky dogs are powerful and very good at working with people. These may, at first glance, seem like a perfect combination of traits for a police dog. However, that’s a very limited perspective on both the Huskies and what a police dog needs.

Although it’s technically possible for any dog to be allowed to join the force, there are some particular reasons why Huskies don’t get picked. For one thing, they love people. Huskies are incredibly friendly, happy dogs who aren’t adverse, as a breed, to introducing themselves to a complete stranger, and making a new friend.

Dogs who make good officers must be intensely loyal to a single human, the officer they work with. Additionally, they have to take orders without questions. These hard-working pups are taught to be standoffish and chosen for their imposing demeanor, natural inclinations, and talents.

In short, K9 officers are usually chosen from the ranks of dogs bred for guard or even wartime work. Huskies aren’t ‘like that.’ They love to cuddle and ‘talk’ to people. If you can’t quite see why that would make a husky less than the ideal officer, consider this; A dog who makes friends with a criminal during a manhunt is more likely to get hurt and may become a liability.

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How Dogs Become Police Officers

Huskies don’t typically make it through training to join the force. The dogs who serve alongside our police don’t merely get handed their badges. These particular pups, regardless of breed, go through intensive training to earn their place just like the humans they work with.

Keeping people safe and locking up the ‘bad guys’ isn’t the only job perk. Although a K9 officer’s badge is honorary, it’s against federal law to assault or kill a police dog (or horse). Moreover, these working dogs are very well treated, and they retire comfortably at a reasonable age.

Much like their guide dog companions, the first thing a police dog has to do is go through basic obedience training. Indeed, any dog can pass an obedience class given time and patience. However, those who are resistant and prone to wander or get distracted washout and get adopted by loving families.

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What Makes a Good K9

Though any animal can be dangerous, Huskies are more friendly than aggressive. Because they need their natural aggression, many police dogs are unneutered males. However, a violent dog isn’t going to make a proper officer. K9 dogs need intelligence, obedience, strength, imposing demeanor, and an outstanding sense of smell to do their job.

Some people believe, wrongly, that police dogs can ‘accidentally’ be given an attack order by someone who says the wrong thing around them, but nothing could be further from the truth. The extensive training they go through with their handlers, and their natural tendencies and talents mean that these dogs only respond to the specific commands of one human.

Not only do K9’s human partners give the commands, but those orders are tailorable. For example, the dog doesn’t ‘just bite,’ but instead knows how much force their handler has authorized them to use.

More Police Training

Huskies are notoriously difficult to train, although any dog can be taught. To become an officer, police dogs go through months or even years of training. How much depends on where they come from, more on that in a moment.

Police dogs learn to ignore distractions and be vigilant all the time. A drug-sniffing dog doesn’t stop using his nose when his handler is off duty. Canine police don’t understand the distinction, but they know what needs to get done.

Each dog is paired with a human officer who has an exemplary record. Handlers have to be in good shape and excellent standing to even be considered for the job. Unlike other careers, a K9 unit (that’s the human and their dog together) cannot quit if they change their minds. An average police dog works for six years, and their handler is committed to the job for the duration since that dog learns to respond only to them.


Where do Police Dogs Come From

There are no federal restrictions that prevent a dog, like a Husky, who can meet the requirements of becoming a police dog from doing so. However, local police forces may have their own standards.

Very few future K9’s are donated. Most are bred for the job. This helps keep the desirable traits that make good dog-officers. The advantage of choosing the dogs bred to work is that they are quite literally designed to be good police.

Not every puppy in a litter will make the grade, just as not every pup will be show dog material simply because they’re pedigreed.

K9’s From Europe

In addition to the dogs here in the USA, some canine police are purchased from overseas. European dogs come highly trained and internationally certified for the work. Though it costs over eight thousand dollars to obtain a European police dog, the agencies are well known for their excellence.

Much of the time, the fee for getting a European K9 comes from other working K9 units. They don’t pay directly. Instead, funds ceased from convicted criminals may be applied to hire in a new canine police officer. Having K9 Units can undoubtedly pay for itself, particularly if your local K9s are hunting large scale drug or weapons smugglers.

Husky Instincts

The natural inclinations of Huskies often prevent them from being good guard dogs or police. While Husky-dogs make outstanding pets for active people, they need to run a lot. Being cooped up doesn’t suit these beautiful dogs. The drive to burn off that energy is something that means they need more freedom than most working police canines.

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Huskies are hunters, and their instinct is powerful. Getting distracted from an essential job because your dog wants to chase a cat would be a terrible form for a K9. What comes naturally to this breed is to go after the small prey animals they want.

Being smart isn’t everything. While police dogs need a good brain in their heads, they also have to follow orders. For Huskies, who are very independent thinkers, the desire to simply follow every order blindly is not in their nature. Unfortunately, that’s not good K9 behavior.

Final Thoughts

Huskies weren’t meant to be police. Dogs, like people, have a lot of personality variation. However, breed standards exist to help keep the different dogs suitable for a variety of jobs. A couch-potato like the French Bulldog has no imposing size or ability to tussle with a full-grown human. Likewise, a Husky was never designed to serve and protect. At least not in a violent or ‘sniffing’ capacity.

Police dogs need their ‘killer’ instinct intact. Otherwise, they’re at a much higher risk of becoming victims of crime themselves. A K9 who’d rather lick criminals’ faces than hold them in place so a human officer can arrest them is a liability in the field. Huskies are fantastic dogs, just not if you need an imposing meanie to intimidate bad people who want to harm others.

There’s nothing wrong with being bred for affection. Hopefully, we’ll see a lot more dogs like Arctic joining the police force to help victims feel more comfortable, and schoolchildren get to know their local officers.

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