Skip to content

Police Dogs

Dogs are an important part of policing. Their intimidating nature can help officers calm situations, and protect them while they catch criminals.

Their powerful sense of smell helps them sniff out:

  • people
  • drugs
  • explosives
  • electronics

The first police dog in the region was Police Dog (PD) Don. He worked with Walsall Borough Police from August 1939, after the chair of the Watch Committee was impressed by a talk on police dogs. PC George Cleobury went for training with the black Labrador.

In December 1951, PC John Blackhall became the first dog handler in Birmingham. Alsatian PD Flash was the first police dog.

10 years later, in 1961, Coventry appointed its three first dog handlers. They were:

  • PC Gavin “Jock” Archibald with PD Flame,
  • PC Ron “Ben” Freail with PD Blaze
  • PC Ron Owen with PD Dante

Chief Constable Edward Pendleton chose a fire theme for the names of the dogs. This was a tribute to those lost during the Coventry Blitz during which he’d served.

Three dog handlers

It took until 1979 for the first woman police dog handler in the West Midlands to be appointed. WPC Elizabeth Dixon holds that honour, serving with PD Czar.

WPC Elizabeth Dixon with PD Czar

Our police dogs today are a range of breeds. They’re bred and trained at our dedicated dog training centre in Balsall Common. You can find out more about it by visiting our force website. The link will take you to our dogs’ page.