Police dogs are too cowardly, officers admit

British police chief claims German shepherds are being bred more cowardly

source: Jason Bennetto
Independent February 3 2001 p4

Phil Tyson, a police dog handler from West Yorkshire, England, argues that dog shows have led to German shepherds becoming less bold and suspicious. Tyson says that it is also not unusual for German shepherds to have hip problems. He sees the defect as bred into them due to their usage as show dogs. He is using a Belgian malinois bitch in place of a German shepherd. Malinois are used by the police in Germany and the Netherlands, and are being tried out by a number of British police forces.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Apco) has a sub-committee which deals with dog handling, and which has met to tackle the problem of a shortage of police dogs. The committee attributes the German shepherd shortage to competition with private security firms, and to poor breeding. The secretary, Superintendent Clive Helliwell, argues that German shepherds have had courage and drive bred out of them over 30 years. Apco is carrying out research on breeding and usage of other types of dogs. Dobermanns and rottweilers are seen as too unpredictable. German shepherds were first used by the Metropolitan police in 1956, and the Met has 180 of these dogs, with 30 other dogs, including springer and cocker spaniels and labradors, used as sniffer dogs.