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Defend, Detect and Deter: What Breed of Dogs Are Used for Bomb Detection?

Published January 7th, 2021 by 3DK9 LLC

The Homeland Security campaign, "If you see something, say something," urges citizens to stay alert for signs of terrorism.

Explosive threats often can't be detected from human eyes, alone. For this reason, explosive terrorism attacks pose an ongoing risk to public safety. 

If you own a residential, commercial, or government service, you must take safety precautions. Explosive detection dogs help combat terrorism and improve security measures. In this article, we'll discuss the top dog breeds that are used for bomb detection. We'll also discuss what their characteristics are and how they help protect the public.

Explosive Detection Dogs: Key Responsibilities

Explosive detection dogs use their senses to find explosives in high-volume, high-traffic settings. This includes outdoor areas, commercial buildings, residential buildings, and vehicles. Explosive detection dogs also conduct package, luggage, and human searches.

All trained canines must have four key behavioral characteristics and skills. 

Behavioral Characteristics 

Explosive detection dogs must share the following four behavioral characteristics to be impactful:

  1. Persistence - The dog must aggressively detect a scent and track it down until they find the object.
  2. Courageousness - The dog cannot startle easily by loud noises or large crowds.
  3. Trainability - The dog needs to complete complex training procedures.
  4. Energetic - The dog must meet the physical demands of the job.

Top Dog Breeds for Bomb Detection

The most common dog breeds that used for bomb detection jobs are:

  • German Shepards
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Germain Shorthaired Pointers
  • German Wirehaired Pointers
  • Vizslas

Next, we'll dive deeper into the characteristics of each breed listed.

German Shepards

German Shepards are often selected for their hyper-intelligence levels. Their confidence and trainability make them a prime breed to learn various commands. They're also loyal and protective in dangerous situations. Their breed is one of the most popular breeds for bomb detection.

German Shepard's sport a muscular, athletic build. They have the ability to cover a large amount of ground in a short duration of time. These physical attributes are valuable for quickly detecting bombs and other chemical-based weapons.

Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers are hunting dogs, which makes them skilled at detecting explosives. This breed is also quite friendly and social. They're eager to please their owners and they're intelligent. These traits make them a prime breed to train.

Labrador Retrievers have a strong, solid build. They're also active dogs that need lots of physical exercise. Their physical traits allow them to meet the persistent demands of the job.

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois are famously known as herding dogs. Their alertness and fast reflexes aid in their abilities to succeed in the job. They're also a highly sensitive breed. They're often less responsive to harsh types of training. Fortunately, they're able to adapt to new skills quickly.

Belgian Malinois resemble German Shepards because of their pointy-ears and dark, mahogany fur. They're medium to large-sized dogs with strong, square-built bodies. Male Belgian Malinois weigh 64-75lbs. Females generally weigh 55-66lbs. 

Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers appear less intimidating than the other bomb detection dogs for sale. Their high intelligence, versatility, and obedience make them an easy breed to train. Their people-pleasing traits also aid in their ability to learn new detection skills.

Golden Retrievers typically grow to be medium-sized dogs. On average, male golden retrievers weigh 65-75 lbs. Females weigh between 55-71lbs. Like the other breeds we've covered, they're known for their solid, athletic-looking build. 

German Shorthaired Pointers 

German Shorthaired Pointers is a sporting dog breed with sharp hunting skills. They have the ability to sniff out, hunt, and locate different types of animals. They thrive in mentally stimulating settings, which makes them great for detecting explosives.

German Shorthaired Pointers is another breed that appears less intimidating to the public. On average, male German Shorthaired Pointers weigh 55-70lbs, where females often weigh 45-60lbs. Their high energy levels make them an optimal fit for working long hours and performing rigorous duties. 

German Wirehaired Pointers

Similar to German Shorthaired Pointers, German Wirehaired Pointers are also vigorous hunting dogs. Their keen sense of smell and fast response times allow them to hunt game in any location. They have impressive search and retrieval skills. They're also quite energetic. These skills help them serve as bomb-sniffing dogs. 

German Wirehaired Pointers have solid muscle-tone. Their sporty-builds are a perfect fit for completing fast-paced, high-energy tasks. Both male and female German Wirehaired Pointers commonly reach 60-71lbs.


Last on our list is Vizslas, also known as, Hungarian Pointers. Vizslas are eager, active hunting dogs that need large amounts of social interaction. They often respond to training quicker than other breeds. Vizslas can master methods for detecting bombs in packages, suitcases, and other locations.

On the downside, this breed tends to get startled by loud, abrupt noises. They also get distracted more easily than the alternative dog breeds we've covered. Therefore, this breed is used less often than the other breeds we've listed.

Vizslas are lean, muscular, and light on their feet. Males generally weigh 44-64lbs while females weigh 40-55lbs. 

Hire an Explosive Detection Dog

The dog breeds that are used for bomb detection are persistent, courageous, trainable, and energetic. They must master new skills, excel in stressful situations, and take immediate action.

Investing in large-scale safety measures is an essential way to protect the public. Don't wait to maximize security for your customers, guests, colleagues, and loved ones. Hire explosive dog detection services that you can always count on for top-notch protection.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our detection services.

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