Dog handler

Dog handlers work with specially trained dogs to help detect and prevent crime, find lost or missing people and protect property.

Potential salary
£16,000 to £25,000
Working hours
38 to 40 a week
  • the ability to teach people and animals how to do something
  • physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work on your own
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to learn through your work
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Depending on the service you work for, you could:

  • patrol premises and protect property
  • search for lost or missing people
  • detect drugs, firearms or explosives
  • look after your dog in your own home
  • attend training courses with your dog

You may need to wear a uniform.

You could work in kennels.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and physically demanding.

Promotion opportunities will depend on the service or organisation that you work for. In the police and armed forces, you may have to move out of dog handling to get promoted to the higher ranks.

In security, you could go on to be head of canine services, where you direct teams of dog handlers.

You might also become a trainer, working with organisations like search and rescue, to help train dogs and their handlers.

You can find out more about becoming a dog handler from the College of Animal Welfare.

Data from National Careers Service.
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10th July 2020