There are multiple jobs available for working dogs, and they come in all shapes and sizes. One of those jobs is being a police dog, commonly known as a K-9 dog. These dogs are known for protecting, search and rescue, as well as drug sniffing. Not just any breed of dog is suited for this work, see which breeds make the list that are best at being a K-9 dog, but also are a family protector.

It’s important to know what goes into making a good K-9 dog while they are on duty. There are different favorable traits a breed should have based on the job they will be performing. For a dog who will be protecting, the dog should be sturdy stature, be able to run fast, strong, smart and follow commands. A breed that does search and rescue along with narcotics will need a good sense of smell and can easily be trained. Dogs who perform scent tracking help out where human senses are not as strong.

Whether you are looking for a breed for a K-9 unit or for family protection, this list below will provide you guidance on the top breeds for K-9 training.

German Shepherd Outside | Man K-9

German Shephards

The loyal and easily trained breed of the German Shepherd is the best known breed for K-9 work. They work well with their partner, recognize unwelcomed predators and are made for herding. They can adapt to a variety of jobs as well, including drug sniffing, chasing criminals and performing search and rescue. They are also eager to please their partner, which makes them invaluable to the police force. This breed also are considered good house dogs because of their calm nature and caring temperament.


This breed is commonly used at the airport as they can easily maneuver through luggage, obey well and are non-imposing. They are a perfect breed for sniffing out narcotics and other contraband. At home, this breed is playful, loyal and loving.

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Belgian Malinois

This breed resembles a German Shepherd, but is smaller and often quicker to react. They have keen intelligence and great ability in following commands. They are best suited for chase and take-down of a perpetrator. If you are very active and able to keep your pet stimulated, then this breed may suit you at home. They require socialization and regular activity.


No other breed can compare when it comes to the extraordinary sense of smell capabilities of a bloodhound. They have over 230 million olfactory cells that allows them pick up a scent and be able to trace that smell for up to 2 weeks after a person has disappeared. This family companion is docile and has lovable personalities. They do need a lot of physical activity, but also know that they enjoy just lounging around the home as well.

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Rottweiler | Man K9


The physical build alone gives this breed an advantage at taking down criminals. They are also obedient, loyal and have a long attention span so they can stay on the task at hand. They are incredibly intelligent and are dogs that will have their partners back. If you are this dog’s leader of the pack, they will follow you from room to room. Rottweilers are loyal and affectionate toward their family as well.


The Lab is one of most common family pets, but they also make a great police dog. They are also well known as hunting dogs, which makes them great for sniffing out narcotics and contraband. They are also a loyal breed and protective of their partners, which makes them a good addition to a K-9 unit. The good-natured, kind and playful Labrador is a terrific family dog, as long as they are given enough daily exercise.

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Doberman Pinscher | Man K-9

Doberman Pinscher

When it comes to chasing and catching a criminal on the run, there isn’t a breed that does it much better than the doberman pinscher. This breed is lean, swift and athletic. The breed’s appearance and approach can also encourage a perpetrator to follow orders. When the doberman is trained appropriately they make a wonderful family dog as they are trustworthy and protective of children.

If you have been thinking about getting a breed of dog for protection and getting it trained rather than starting the adventure of becoming a dog trainer yourself, please contact Man K-9 in San Diego County.

Our certified dog trainers and handlers will be happy to give you advice and tell you more about the training options we offer.