Photo: Joeri van de Hornhutte KNPV PH1 "met lof" (with honors) certified KNPV PH1 "met lof" in May of 2022.
The following information is not intended to criticize or demean sport or methods used to train police service dogs. It's intended purpose is to provide accurate information about the KNPV or "Royal Dutch Police Dog Association" program and its certification process for dogs.
Some breeders, trainers and others are misinformed about the KNPV program and the utilization of the dogs that complete its certification process. Some have compared it to just being another dog sport similar to IGP. With no disrespect intended, that is not an accurate comparison. The KNPV program, outside of a few minor revisions to its rules and scoring, have held to the same strict requirements and purpose since its beginning in 1907.
The KNPV certification process and training requires a very committed trainer and capable dog because of how demanding and challenging the process is. On average it takes a dog, starting as a puppy, and its handler 3-4 years before they are ready for and capable of passing the certification exam trials. Only 2 German Shepherds successfully completed and received the KNPV PH1 "met lof" certification in 2022. This is in contrast to IGP and similar sports, wherein thousands of dogs, including German Shepherds, receive various levels of IGP titles each year. Also, many of the dogs utilized in the US for police service start working at 2 years of age or less. Often, they have received less than a total of 12 months of training before hitting the streets, which can be sufficient depending on their intended purpose.
Typically, after a dog receives its KNPV certification, an additional 4-6 weeks of training is needed before starting work with a government or security agency. The purpose of this training is to tailor the dogs skills to fill the needs for a particular duty.
The publication "An Introduction to the Royal Dutch Police Dog Association KNPV Training Program" 2nd Edition by G. Straatman and J. Jons states the following.
"This book is the first book published in English that describes in detail, the Royal Dutch Police Dog certification and examination program.
"Due to the proven success, objective and credibility of the KNPV program these KNPV certified Police Dogs are being exported from Holland to meet the needs of Police, Security and Military agencies worldwide." (Some are used in a single purpose capacity while others are used to fulfill more than one purpose. And others still, are utilized as family companions-protectors)
"The KNPV is a nationally sanctioned Dutch working dog certification and competitive training organization that is sponsored by the Royal Dutch family. The KNPV governs and administers the examination of the National Police Dog certification programs and examination processes, promotes the training of dogs for modern utility purposes like police work, tracking, search and rescue and guard dog work. They also promote the breeding of dogs suitable for modern utility work and the education of civilians and police officers to become good dog trainers.
The KNPV certified police dogs are raised and trained primarily by Dutch civilians. It takes over 2 years to create a dog that can pass the KNPV Police Dog 1 (PH1) certification exam. The examination includes obedience, swimming, searching for lost articles and persons, performing canine protection work that apprehends, guards, transports and controls a criminal suspect and protects his handler. The KNPV dog trainers and their dogs and training clubs view the certification examination process as a competitive challenge, to pass the exam with the highest possible score that will enable them to compete in the National Police Dog Championship competition. After certifying a dog, the KNPV trainer may sell his dog to the Dutch Police, Security or Military organizations. The trainer then acquires a puppy and again begins the process of competitively training another KNPV Police Dog.
The dog breeds mostly used in KNPV are Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherd and German Shepherds."