Dogs perform important jobs all over the world, not just for individuals but also for organizations such as military and police. The website forsvarsmakten.se – the Swedish armed forces – gives a glimpse into breeding and training dogs for the Swedish defense.
Swedish military dogs assist with everything from patrolling to searching for explosives or missing persons. It is a big country area-wise but has a small population, and the same facility breeds and trains dogs for both the military and police.
Every year, selected dogs produce 35 to 40 litters of German Shepherd puppies. This sounds like a lot of dogs, but it is important to note that Sweden doesn’t have the same problem with overpopulation of dogs as for instance the USA.
Sixteen people work full time with planning the breeding, caring for the dogs, finding foster homes, and other tasks involved with the dogs. The most suitable puppies from each litter are chosen and go to foster homes when they’re between eight and ten weeks old. They stay in their foster home until they’re a year and a half.
Don’t worry; the puppies not chosen for service are placed in good homes.
At eighteen months, the dogs are considered old enough to go through a suitability test. This test makes sure the dog is stable and mentally suited to perform at the level needed. Every year around 250 dogs go through the test, and around 60 move on to training.
Most of the dogs that don’t get approved stay with their foster homes, or go to another good home. There are more people wanting dogs than dogs available.