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Traits of drug and explosives detection in dogs of two breeds as evaluated by their handlers and trainers

Ewa Adamkiewicz
Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding, Department of Animal Behaviour, Jastrzębiec, 05-552 Magdalenka, Poland
Abstract :
Police dogs handlers’ and trainers’ opinions on Labrador retrievers (n=87) and German shepherds
(n=96) trained for drugs
. explosives detection have been compared. As most important traits in
both specialties the responders indicated: (1) willingness to sniff objects, (2) concentration (focusing)
ability, (3) acuity of smell and (4) willingness to bring an object back to a person. Only trainers but
not handlers rated boldness in novel surroundings, and fear of specific things and of sudden loud
noises, high in importance. Taking all traits together 43.7% and 44.4% of dogs showed an “ideal”
level of the traits according to handlers’ and trainers’ opinion,
respectively. Correlations coefficients
between handlers’ and trainers’ ratings for the traits of real dogs did not exceed
= 0.33. Significant
breed and specialty differences were found for the percentage of dogs that demonstrated too low,
too high and “ideal” levels of the trait. Both handlers and trainers were consistent in their opinion
that Labrador retrievers as service dogs of both specialties are too highly motivated to obtain food
(P<0.05) and as drug detection dogs are overly friendly to people (P<0.01). The overall satisfaction
rate did not differ significantly between breeds, specialties and sexes. This report shows a rather low
consistency of opinions of dog trainers with those of dog handlers as to 28 behavioral and physical
traits of drug and explosives detection dogs of both breeds and reveals no special preference for
either breed in performing narcotics or explosives detection.
Keywords :
etection dogs / dogs’ handlers / dogs’ trainers / drugs

Date Deposited : 02 Apr 2015 10:04

Last Modified : 02 Apr 2015 10:04

Official URL:

Volume 31, Number 3, - 2013

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