Rare breed puppy Rocky is the latest recruit to join the ranks of canine crime-fighters at North Yorkshire Police.
The 11-week old English Shepherd pup has been donated to the force and is set to become a drugs or explosives sniffer dog.
Sergeant Simon Whitby, head of North Yorkshire Police’s Dog Section, said:
Rocky is believed to be the only English Shepherd police dog in the UK and we’re very grateful to his breeder for donating him to the force.
He is currently undergoing his puppy-walking stage with our dog trainer to ensure he is socialised and used to people, other animals and day-to-day situations ranging from noisy traffic to crowds of people.
During this time, his temperament and behaviour will be monitored to ensure he is suitable for the role of a police dog. At around eight to nine months of age, he will be teamed up with his permanent handler before he attends his formal training course.
Once he has qualified, at around 12 to 14 months, he will be capable of sniffing out drugs or explosives and will become a valuable asset to the force, performing a vital role in helping to keep North Yorkshire and the City of York safe.
Rocky was gifted to the force by his breeder and is one of a litter of ten born on 28 January 2013 in East Kilbride, Glasgow. His dad was imported from the USA and his mum is from the UK.
In addition to farm work, English Shepherds are used extensively in North America as search and rescue dogs as well as a small number recruited in the UK for this purpose.
Despite their name, the breed are very rare in this country, with just 65 dogs believed to be resident in the UK.
Originally a herding dog, they were taken to North America by English settlers in the 1700s, but numbers declined in the UK due to the popularity of Border Collies.