Frequently Asked K-9 Questions

Where do the police dogs stay when they're not working?

The dogs live/stay in the residence of the handlers and their families.  The handler is responsible for the K-9 24 hours a day.

Can the dogs do any tricks?

The dogs do not do tricks.  We teach our dogs the training they need to help them become successful working dogs.

What breed of dog is used for canine work?

Reading Police Department has 6 K-9 teams.  We have 3 German Shepherds, 1 Belgian Malinois, and 2 German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix.  There are other breeds that are used by other departments such as Labrador Retrievers, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Pointers, just to name a few.

What happens to the dog when it gets too old to work?

When a canine becomes too old to work it is retired to the handler that worked with him.

Where are the canines purchased and how much does it cost?

We purchase our canines from Shallow Creek Kennels in Western Pennsylvania.  The canines we purchase have minimal training and cost $7,000.

How do you become a canine handler?

When one of our K-9 team spots becomes available a police officer must first put in a letter of interest to their boss.  There is then a physical fitness test, an oral interview, and a home visit.  After all of that, the most qualified candidate enters the training program to become a new Reading Police K-9 Team.

How long do the canine handlers and their dogs train?

Our basic training is 3-4 months at the Reading Police Department Kennel Facility, then another 2-3 months of training in the City.  We are always trying to do some kind of training each night that we work, plus, we get 2 days a month of all day training.

How many years can a canine dog work?

We purchase our canines at 1 1/2 – 2 years old. Typically they can work until they are 9 or 10, but that can depend on any unforeseen health issues.

What do you feed the dogs and how much do they weigh?

Our canines eat Purina Pro Plan Sport dry food.  The weight of our dogs varies from 70-90 pounds.

Do the dogs bite?

YES – ALL dogs bite! Never approach any dog without the owner’s permission.