Dog Handler

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Dog handlers work with specially trained dogs to help prevent and detect criminal activity and search for missing persons. They are responsible for looking after, feeding and keeping the dogs under control.

Dog handlers mainly work for the police, the Armed Forces, customs and excise or private security firms, although they work for other organisations such as the fire and rescue and prison services.

The Work

Police dog handler Police dogs are trained in police dog training centres. The dogs live at home with their handlers. You could be:

Army and RAF dog handler Army and RAF dogs are trained at the Defence Animal Training Regiment. The dogs live in kennels. You could be:

UK Border Force anti-smuggling detector dog handlers Detector dogs are in-house, by the Metropolitan Police or the Defence Animal Training Regiment. The dogs live in kennels. You could be:

Private security firms The firm would train you to work with your dog. You could be:


The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:

For details of starting salaries with the police, the army or RAF, and Border Force, see the information given in the job profiles - Police Officer, Army Soldier, Royal Air Force Airman or Airwoman and Border Force Officer or Assistant Officer.

Starting pay rates for new entrant trained dog handlers with a private security firm in the UK vary, but tend to be in the range of £18,000 to £20,000 a year. Experienced or specialist dog handlers would expect to earn up to £26,000 a year or more.


Workforce Employment Status

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Getting In

Police dog handler

Army and RAF dog handler

UK Border Force anti-smuggling detector dog handler

Private security firms

Workforce Education Levels (UK)

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Job Outlook Scotland


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Job Outlook Scotland

0.4 %

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What Does it Take?

You need to be:


Getting On


Courtesy of Police Scotland


The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

College of Animal Welfare
Tel: 01480 422060
Twitter: @CAWInfo

The College of Animal Welfare specialises in veterinary nursing and animal care training. It operates from seven UK training centres, including the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School of Edinburgh University.

Lantra Scotland
Tel: 01738 310164
Twitter: @LantraScotland

Lantra is the Sector Skills Council for the environmental and land-based sector.

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