4 Things To Know Before Adopting Retired Police Dogs

In Emotional Support Animal by Emotional Pet Support Team

Police dogs aren’t like any other dog out there; they are highly trained breeds who help in the line of duty. Each type of police dog is trained in various aspects of law enforcement. Some are used to sniff out drugs by the Narcotics unit, while others are being used in search missions. 

In most cases, police utilize these dogs in their prime years, after which the dogs retire. Police dogs usually enter retirement when they age or are injured; which means they’re no longer capable of keeping up with police work. 

After retirement, the adoption of these dogs becomes a possibility. In most cases, the law officers who acted as their trainers or partners would also become their owners. If this isn’t possible, any qualified person would then be allowed to adopt them. 

Now, are you one of those who wish to adopt a retired police dog? Before taking this step, there are several things you need to know. This article will help you gain more insights.

Life Expectancy

Life expectancy refers to the number of years that a particular dog breed is expected to live. Some breeds have a higher life expectancy compared to others. For instance, a Golden Retriever’s life expectancy is 10 to 12 years, while a German Shepherd’s is nine to 13 years.  

It is also believed that a dog’s size is a major indicator of its average life expectancy. A small-sized dog is believed to live longer than a large-sized dog. Some small-sized species, like the Chihuahua and Manchester Terrier, have a life expectancy of 15 to 17 years and 12 to 14 years, respectively. 

On the other hand, large-sized breeds, such as the Irish Wolfhound and Rottweiler, have eight to 10 and 10 to 12 years, respectively. From this, you can see the comparison between the life expectancy of dog sizes.

It’s important to note that police dogs usually retire when they reach their senior years—which is typically at seven or eight years. Since police dogs are usually the large type, their typical life span would be 10 to 12 years only. Hence, it’s safe to assume that the police dog you’re going to adopt is not going to live with you for too long.

Knowing how many more years your dog has to live will also prepare you emotionally and psychologically. This reduces or eases the emotional burden once your dog passes; since you’d have prepared for it and accepted it beforehand.


There are varying police dog breeds and names, attributed to their unique genetics, physical characteristics, and capabilities. Some of the most common police breeds are German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers. 

From all the available police dog breeds, you can choose one to meet your specific needs. For instance, if you’re into hunting, a Bloodhound will suffice. Their ability to assist you with hunting is due to their strong sense of smell. They can easily guide you to where your prey is, helping you get an easy catch. 

On the other hand, a German Shepherd would be best to offer you protection. This is due to their ability to take on commands very well. Should you tell them to attack an intruder, they’ll do so without hesitation. 

Unique Needs

If you’re a long-time pet owner, you would know that different types of dogs would also require a different level of care and maintenance. Since police dogs are usually the large type, then they need bigger portions of food and more activitycompared to smaller dog breeds. 

Retired police dogs may also exhibit extreme characteristics, such as aggression. This often arises when they experience some kind of trauma in the line of duty. This means that you might have to make adjustments at home to avoid the dog’s triggers.

You should also familiarize yourself with the dog’s genetic composition. This is in relation to their health. Some breeds are likely to suffer from certain diseases once they reach a certain age. Aside from that, some retired police dogs would have pre-existing conditions—especially those who were injured or maimed in the line of duty.

Knowing and understanding will help you know how to handle it once you adopt it. You’ll also be more prepared to provide a comfortable environment for them in your home.


Knowing a dog’s diet is crucial since it more or less determines the dog’s health. Different police dogs have varying diets; the difference is mainly attributed to the dog’s size, age, condition, and physical activity. 

It’s also important to know what the dog has been eating previously. Introducing a new diet might not be the best option since it could disrupt their digestive system. It’s good to note that the percentages of food nutrients differ from dog to dog. Some police dogs might require a different range of nutrients, especially since they are aging and are less active.


This article has discussed the major aspects you need to know about retired police dogs. Make it a point to do your homework before deciding to adopt on. This will help you give them a happy and comfortable life in their retirement years.