What type of qualities do the police look for when it recruits dogs to the force? Apart from a strong bloodline, German Shepherd dogs joining the force need a combination of stability, good movement and the right temperament.
And a Boynton dog breeding business has shown that it knows just what is needed as it goes from strength to strength.
Last month, representatives from West Midlands Police visited the village to meet some of the puppies bred at Nessbree breeders.
Gayle Edmond and Keith Ness’ business is home to three breeding bitches, and they are currently looking after two litters of puppies - one of eight and one of four German Shepherds.
Gayle said: “We started to get our breeding bitches together around five years ago, and started off training German Shepherds for working trial shows - for tracking, obedience, things like that.
“After doing that for a while, Keith said, why don’t we start breeding our own?
“We focus on eastern European breeds, Czech and East German breeds. They are the best breeds for what we are looking for, they look and have a temperament completely different to those you might see in Crufts. I personally wouldn’t breed onefrom an English bloodline.
“They make fantastic pets, but they are absolutely wonderful for training as well. We have a representative from Humberside Police and another from North Yorkshire Police coming over to take a look. They might also become working dogs in other places like the prison service.
“We strongly vet anyone who wants to take one of our dogs to ensure they only go to the right sort of place.
“It’s hard work, but it’s very rewarding.”
Dave Raymond and Terry Arnett of the West Midlands Police dog unit visited Nessbree to check out the puppies when they were only seven weeks old.
“We are looking for dogs who have the right personality. At that age, we want them to be inquisitive, and we want them to be able to follow you and enjoy playing,” said Dave.
“We have 140 puppies in our kennels, and 35 breeding bitches, but we are always looking to introduce new bloodlines to keep the breeding stock healthy.
“That’s why we’ve come over to East Yorkshire today to meet the puppies here, because this is a new bloodline that hasn’t been introduced before.
“You do need to build up relationships with breeders you can trust and that’s what we have here.”
And the type of dogs that they are looking for may not fit what people have come to expect from a police dog.
Terry said: “There are a number of tests that are standard to determine the right dogs, but a lot of it comes down to experience. Of course, they need to be well trained, because they are doing a lot of different tasks when they’re in service. But I think there used to be a view that police dogs were a bit dangerous, because sometimes they have to bite, but police dogs are no longer the ‘bad dogs’ that were donated to the police - they’re bred and trained specially.
“We take our dogs out to schools, and walking round shopping centres, and people love to interact with them. That’s because they’ve got the right temperament and they’re socialised from a young age.”
When the puppies are taken in by the police, they’re put with a walker for months to explore the outdoors, and get used to meeting people. They’re then taken into polcie kennels for training.
When in service, the dogs can be used to help with firearms support, searching, tracking, criminal work, football match duties, narcotics detection, explosives detection, panda (scanning people for narcotics) and weapon detection.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BREEDER
• Starting at 6am, the dogs need to be fed, toileted and kennels must be disinfected.
• They then go out for a good run, and some excercise.
• Any bitches that are feeding are kept inside, in case they pick up infections.
• They are then groomed by Keith.
• Feeding happens four times a day.
• Then it starts all over again, with more excercise and training