Cop dog competition held in Calgary

The annual Canadian Police Canine Association trials got underway in Calgary Sunday. The competition tests the agility, obedience and speed of different police dog breeds. There’s even an event called “criminal apprehension scenario.”

Canadian Police Canine Association trials test agility, speed and ‘criminal apprehension’

While Calgary police mainly use German Shepherds, they also employ Belgian Malinois (pictured) and Labrador Retrievers. (CBC)

Some of Canada's four-legged cops have been showing off their bark — and their bite — in Calgary this week.

The Canadian Police Canine Association trials began on Wednesday, but is only open to the public on Sunday.

The competition tests the agility, obedience and speed of police dogs. But Calgary police Const. Darcy Williams said the real crowd pleaser is the "criminal apprehension scenario."

That's the event where a dog takes down a fake suspect who is fleeing.

"They're trained, when they're needed to, to bite and hold on and wait until we can get up there to effect the arrest safely," said Williams, who is organizing the Calgary competition.

The dog and handler are scored as a team, not individually.

What makes a great police dog?

Williams said police look for dogs who are loyal, even-tempered, have good listening skills and have the ability to learn new commands.

While the Calgary police predominately use German Shepherds, they also employ a breed that Williams said is not that common in Canada — the Belgian Malinois.

"They don't make good pets, but they're a really good working dog."

He said they also use Labrador Retrievers for detective work.

"They're not a pet, we don't treat them as pets. They're a working dog. So generally, when they're out doing something they're working and we don't want them to be confused with visiting time versus working time."

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener