Günther Bonke, a dog expert for the police in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), said on Monday the trusty German Shepherd, or Alsatian, was slowly being replaced by the Belgian Shepherd. The breed, also known as the Malinois, is considered more dependable and robust than its German rival.
Bonke said NRW had only 26 German Shepherds still working alongside the police compared to 281 Malinois. He explained that not all German states bred their own dogs, making the often cheaper Belgian Shepherd even more attractive when bought in bulk.
NRW, which borders Belgium, has been breeding the Malinois since 1988. Over the years, the police discovered the dogs were healthier and more courageous than their German counterparts. Belgian Shepherds can also be used as sniffer dogs, unlike German Shepherds, which are largely limited to security details.
The trend to Malinois has also spread to Germany’s federal police, however, they haven’t entirely given up on other breeds like the Alsatian.
“We are not planning exclusively with these dogs for the future,” said a federal police spokesman.
Officials in North Rhine-Westphalia aren’t only betting on the Belgian dogs either. The state’s police pack of 350 canines includes Dutch Shepherds, Giant Schnauzers, several mutts, as well as one Boxer and one Rottweiler.