Swedish Armed Forces dog training center

The Swedish Armed Forces Dog Training Unit breeds and trains dogs for the Swedish Armed Forces' response units. It also trains dog handlers and represents the Swedish Armed Forces on issues relating to dogs.

Photo: Nicklas Gustafsson

Service dogs help Swedish Armed Forces staff with everything from patrols to looking for mines, explosives, drugs or missing persons. The Swedish Armed Forces Dog Training Unit, FHTE, is a part of the Life Guards. They are based outside of Märsta and in Kungsängen north of Stockholm and at the dog breeding station in Sollefteå. According to the Government resolution of 2011, the Swedish Armed Forces' breeding programmes also provide the Police with suitable service dogs.

The breeding is regulated from Sollefteå

Since the summer of 2005, the dog breeding station in Sollefteå handles its own breeding of German shepherd dogs. Every year about 35 to 40 litters of German shepherd puppies are born. 50 of the dogs that are well suited to working as service dogs will be selected. When the puppies are around 8 to 10 weeks old, they are placed with foster parents. They stay here until they are about one and a half years old.

Aptitude test

When the dogs are one and a half years old, they are tested by the Swedish Armed Forces and the Police in a joint test. The test that is carried out is called an aptitude test. This checks that the dog is mentally stable and if it is suited to work as a service dog. Every year aptitude testing is undertaken for approximately 200 to 250 dogs. Among them, about 60 dogs progress.

Approved dogs are placed with the Swedish Armed Forces or the Police. There may also be sales to other government agencies or countries.

What happens to dogs that do not pass the aptitude test?

The dogs that are not suitable as service dogs usually stay with their foster parents, or are purchased by another agency or placed with another private individual.