German police opt for Belgian shepherds

Police in Germany are phasing out the German shepherd in favour of a Belgian variety.

But the preference for the Belgian canines has nothing to do with German shepherds being “too dumb” for police work, said an officer in charge of dogs, responding to a question posed in a front-page headline in the Bild tabloid.

Guenther Bonke, in charge of police dogs in North Rhine-Westphalia, said: “While the German shepherd is definitely not stupid, it often does not have the potential we need.”

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Among other things, Mr Bonke said, he finds Belgian shepherds – also known as malinois – protect their handlers better in crisis situations, are more robust, and act more aggressively when needed.

Police in the state bred both types of dog for five years and observed their performance.

They stopped breeding German shepherds in 2005, and now have only 26 against 281 Belgian shepherds.

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