Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dogs around the world: Swedish defense

Dogs perform an important job for organizations all over the world, and it might be interesting to get a glimpse from another culture. The website - the Swedish armed forces - mentions breeding and training of dogs for the Swedish defense.

These dogs do everything from assist with patrolling to search for explosives or missing persons. The dogs trained here are used both for the military and the police.

Every year, selected dogs produce 35-40 litters of German Shepherd puppies. (It's important to note that Sweden does not have the same problem with overpopulation of dogs as the US. If they didn't breed working dogs, there wouldn't be any working dogs.)

Sixteen people work full time with planning the breeding, caring for the dogs, finding foster homes, and so on. From these puppies, the  most suitable are chosen. They go to foster homes when they're between 8 and 10 weeks old, and they stay in the 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. Each year around 250 dogs go through the test, and around 60 will 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 usually more people wanting dogs than dogs available.

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  1. We had no idea that Sweden didn't have enough dogs. That is a good thing! No wonder we like Sweden!

  2. It's very different from here. Society as a whole has a different view on animals than all other countries I've been in contact with. We do have a problem with overpopulation of cats, but if you want a dog, you'll have to open the wallet and be prepared to part with a substantial amount of money.

    As an example... In 1995, I paid around $800 and a laptop for my first Border Collie puppy. Laptops were not cheap in the mid 1990's, LOL. When he passed and I wanted a new dog, I wanted to adopt, and I called shelters all around the country. They had waiting lists of people wanting dogs. A cat I could get, but not a dog.

    I gave up on waiting and visited a couple of litters close to me, but they were all far outside my price range. I finally found a puppy I could afford far down in Southern Sweden. They were cheaper, because the dad wasn't registered in the kennel club. It took one day to drive there to see them, and one day back again. Then, when they were eight weeks old, one day's driving to pick him up, and one day driving home. (It's a long country.) He cost around $1200, and that's almost ten years ago. They haven't become cheaper since.

    At this point in my story people usually ask about puppy mills. I don't see that happening - we have laws regulating everything (even how many animals a person is allowed to get without a permit) and if someone tried anyway I'm pretty sure their neighbors would tattle.

    It used to be really difficult to bring animals into the country as well, because it's a peninsula and protected from Rabies and many other icky diseases. Since the quarantine laws eased up, many Swedes rescue dogs from southern Europe and bring them home. It's a lot of a paperwork, but a good deed. =)

    I'm sure things will be changing there too, but we're not going down without a fight, LOL. We don't have BSL. You're not allowed to crop animals' tails or ears. You're not allowed to leave a dog alone for more than X hours a day. You're not allowed to have one alone horse. (We think horses are flock animals and must have some form of company to be happy.)

    Huge cultural difference. =)

  3. Sounds like heaven on earth for animals there. I'd like to live some place like that. Well except for the fact that it's hard to get dogs. They're the only pets that my allergies will tolerate to any extent at all.

    1. Sweden is a nice country. It has the climate against it, lol, but if you don't mind winter it's very nice. =)