Dog Handler

A Dog Handler is responsible for the care and control of a specially trained dog.

In day to day work you may; help prevent and detect crime, locate or stop suspects, search areas for missing or wanted people/ evidence/ data, patrol, crowd control, guard places/ people/ items.

Key Skills Required:

  • Patience
  • Ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • Self confidence
  • Ability to work effectively both in a team and individually
  • Excellent observational skills
  • Physical fitness
  • Reliable & responsible
  • IT skills

Key Points to Know:

  • This role is physically challenging and required tough training.
  • This job could involve being outside in difficult terrains and in all weather conditions.
  • The hours may be long and unsociable e.g. evenings and weekends.
  • Depending on your employer, you may look after your working dog in your own home.

To be a Dog Handler you will need to:

Have experience working within the organisation you’d like to become a dog handler in, for example if you want to be a police dog handler you will need to have been working within the police force for a number of years before you are able to apply to be a dog handler. Once you are accepted as a dog handler, your employer will provide you with training.

It may be helpful to have a diploma in Animal Care or Skills for Work: Uniformed and Emergency Services to help you secure the role you’d like but it is best to think about which organisation you would like to work for as a dog handler and look into the entry requirements for that particular organisation.

Estimated average salary: £16,000 – £25,000 annually.

As a Dog Handler, you can anticipate employment in a variety of roles including:

  • Police Force
  • Army
  • Royal Air Force
  • Search & Rescue
  • HM Revenue & Customs
  • Fire Service
  • Private Security Firms
  • Anti-Poaching Units

Being a Dog Handler is an excellent opportunity for someone with a passion for animals who wants to work within uniformed services. There are many different avenues you could take so whether you are interested in search and rescue, anti-poaching or being in the army you could do so as a dog handler. Progression tends to be limited but you could go on to be a senior handler or a progress to become a manager.   

Coexistwithmeg ♥
Megan Richards

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

Looking for more inspiration? Check out some more careers below:

Animal Behaviourist

Anti-Poaching Ranger

Animal Welfare Officer

Or click here to see the full careers with animals list.