KNPV is short for ‘Koninklijke Nederlandse Politiehond Vereniging’, which is Dutch for ‘Royal Dutch Police Dog Association’. The system began in the early 1900s in Holland in order to bring dog trainers together to establish good quality working dogs.
The main goals of the KNPV are to:
Promote the use of certified dogs for Police, Military, Security, Rescue and other Protection Services.
Train dogs to become certified for one of the KNPV certificates.
To train people to become quality handlers, instructors, decoys, and judges for exams and competitions.
To promote sensible breeding of suitable dogs for the KNPV title.
There are different KNPV titles available for specialization in different areas, such as general police & military dog training, object guarding, search and rescue, and tracking. Generally, the most popular certificate a dog is titled in (trained and passed the testing) is the Politiehond 1, known as PH-1. In North America, when a dog is titled KNPV, it usually means they have completed the PH-1 level training. The highest KNPV certificate level is PH-2. The PH-2 examination is comprised of very difficult testing components, so stringent that less than 100 dogs worldwide achieve the highly prized KNPV PH-2 level annually.
The PH-1 examination is made up of a tough set of examinations that test many different areas of a dog’s temperament, strength, agility and obedience. The examination is divided into three sections which test abilities in these areas.
The first section tests basic obedience and control. The dog is required to heel and switch from a handler’s left and right side, both while on and off a leash. The test is performed both on foot and while the handler is riding a bicycle. There is also a food test where food distractions are placed around the training field and thrown at the dog. The dog must not taste, touch or smell the food and stay focused at all times. An obstacle course tests the dog’s agility and its retrieval ability is tested by having to search and retrieve 3 small objects in an area 15×15 yards. This is an important ability for police dogs to recover evidence in crime scenes.
The tasks for section 1 are:
Heeling on a leash
Heeling off a leash
Heeling off a leash beside a bicycle
Down stay/away out of the handler’s sight
Refusing thrown food
Refusing food found on the ground
Silence under gunfire (to prevent giving away the handler’s location)
1meter jump over hedge, stay and return
Jump/climb over fence, stay and return
Jump over 2meter ditch, stay and return
Search and retrieve 3 small articles in 15 x 15meter area
Articles could include:
9mm bullet case
As Holland is typically a low land country with many wet environments, the test includes swimming across canals and retrieving objects from the water. The second section of the test calls for the dog to:
Swim across a canal 16yards wide
Swim and retrieve a large object
The third and final section of the test examines a dog’s attacking, defending, and courage. It also tests the dog’s ability to listen to commands during a pursuit and its ability to transport or guard prisoners without attacking them after they are subdued.
To pass the third section, the following abilities are tested:
Guarding an object
Searching for large object in the woods
Searching for person in the woods
Transport of arrested persons
Force the standstill of a person with a stick
Refuse the commands of others
Transport of a person who had run away and had a stick after an attack
Bring to a standstill a fleeing person on a bicycle
Transport of a person after an escape attempt
Stop a person who is shooting weapons
The firmness (hardness) of a dog
Transport of a person followed by an assault on its handler
Recall of a dog in pursuit of a person, for example to call off an attack in progress.