About the Service Canine Unit
Due to the challenges faced with locating high quality dogs at an affordable price, the Winnipeg Police Service started an in-house breeding program in 1999 making it one of the only breeding programs run by a Municipal Service in Canada.
The breed of choice was the Belgian Shepherd (Malinois). Over the following 6 years, 42 pups were bred and supplied the Service with all its general patrol canines as well as all outside agencies that we had trained. Pups were sold as far away as Salt Lake City Utah, Plymouth Minnesota and to several police departments in Western Canada. On average approx. 90% of the pups that were purchased for police work passed the required courses to work the street.
The program experienced a short hiatus between 2006 and 2008 and in the fall of 2008 the Service purchased a breeding female from Southern Minnesota. The sire to this pup was P.S.D. Tazer that was worked by Patrol Officer Jeff ELLIS and was the 5x USPCA National Champion. Due to the positive attributes of this female, 2 more females from the same breeding line were purchased.
Currently the Service has these 3 breeding females and 4 breeding males to ensure a supply of pups well into the future.
To find a good quality dog that has longevity in today's market is rather challenging. With the malinois we have learned that they do mature faster than a shepherd. We have had dogs raised in our program that have worked the street at 13 months and are able to work 9-10 years on the street. So when you put a price tag of $30,000.00 to $40,000.00 to train a canine team and then you are able to get 3-5 more years of work out of this team, it is more fiscally responsible. It has also proven to be difficult finding quality canines in the wake of 9/11 due to an increase in demand. As well, with our own breeding program, we have intimate knowledge of the canine's lineage and training which is not typical when importing a canine from another breeder. As well unlike a canine that is typically brokered in from overseas you do not know the training that has gone into the canine nor typically the lineage of the breeding. The true success of any breeding program is the longevity and we are fortunate to have that. Since 911 it has been our experience that it is getting tougher and tougher to locate quality canines out of Europe due to the high demand and the canines are getting younger and the quality is dropping.
The Service raises 2 pups for every future position. The pup is raised by one of the unit's 54 quarries (officers attempting to become canine handlers) under the guidance of the unit's trainers. The canines that are best suited for our program are then brought into the pre-training and 16 week Basic Handler Course. The other canines are either sold as pets or to other police agencies. The pups are sold for $500.00 at 49 days old. To inquire on the availability of pups or trained canines please contact the K9 Unit.
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