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    What is KNPV?


    History of the NKPV
    The Koninklijke Nederlandse Politiehond Vereniging (Royal Dutch Police Dog Association) was originally formed as the NPV, on November 1, 1907, in a town called Roosendaal in Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands. The K for Koninklijke or Royal was not added until February 28, 1912. When first seeing the KNPV logo, the question often asked is “where is the K”. The crown above the letters NPV represents ‘K’ for royal. Police dog training was already known in Holland. However, there was no institution whose goal it was to organize the training of police dogs or to spread the knowledge about this type of training. Although founded in Roosendaal, the KNPV was, and still is seated in The Hague, which was also the early meeting place of the Association. The fact that the KNPV office is now in Amersfoort has no bearing on the Association’s seat. The statutes were written and approved by Her Majesty the Queen and governing rules were put on paper.
    Seven Pines Kennel,KNPV History picturesThe town square in Roosendaal. Far left “The Unicorn”  pharmacy where the KNPV was founded.
    In those days when people talked about a police dog, they mostly thought of the qualities of the dog’s nose, qualities that sadly enough were highly overestimated. The dog’s ability to bite and hear was more or less overlooked. Fortunately, time taught us that the protection qualities of police dogs were very important for actual police work too. The disappointment of not being able to create a miracle dog that could track and find everything everywhere was forgotten. People came to realize that every dog is an individual, and therefore, every dog is somewhat limited in what it can do. This dictates how a trainer has to go about training this particular dog. In the early 20th century when this concept was not yet accepted, discussions were held whether all dogs should be trained with a forceful method. The method used depended on the individual dog, however the goal was always the same: to pass the KNPV trial in the discipline that fitted the dog best (tracking or protection).
    The first trial rules were made in 1908, but many additions and changes were to follow dictated by gained experience in the possibilities of the dogs, as well as having to adjust the rules to reality. The fact remained however, that under every set of trial rules the dog, in order to pass, had to be totally controllable at all times. Seven Pines Kennel,KNPV History Pictures
    An early group of KNPV trainers with their dogs.
    Founders and PioneersThe pioneers for the KNPV were Mr. Couwenberg with his Boxer ‘Max’, Mr. Van Oosten with his Shepherd ‘Hector’, Mr. Steijns with his Dutch Shepherd ‘Germanicus’ (Frits), and Mr. Lokerse with his French Shepherd ‘Piet’. Even before there was a NPV, these men achieved very good results with their dogs for which they should be honored.  Police Commissioner Muller, a judge for the German ‘Polizeihund Verein’, invited Mr. Ch. Herfkens, Police Inspector in The Hague, to come to a competition for police dogs in Hagen, Germany in September of 1907. There, Mr. Herfkens met Mr. M. Kessler, also from The Hague, and together with him and an acquaintance of Kessler, Mr. J. Steijns from Roosendaal, they decided that it was time to found a Police Dog Association in Holland, just like Belgium and Germany had done before them. On October 25, 1907, these three gentlemen came together in the house and pharmacy “The Unicorn” of J. Steijns, Pharmacist in Roosendaal, and founded the (K)NPV. The official day of founding is Friday, November 1, 1907, and that date is found in minutes of the first meeting.

    Seven Pines Kennel, picture of Mr. Steijns, Mr. Kessler and Mr. Herfkens

         Mr. Steijns                    Mr. Kessler                     Mr. Herfkens

    Of all the people that have contributed to the growth of the young KNPV, Mr. J. Key certainly needs mentioning. He was the president between 1920 and 1926 and one of the first sets of trial rules was, for the most part, made by him. The German Police Dog Association is said to have copied large sections of it for their program in those days. Colonel G.J.P.A. Thomson, treasurer from 1920-1927 is also mentioned as one of the main driving forces behind the sometimes-shaky KNPV.
          Seven Pines Kennel,KNPV Information and History Pictures Of Colonel Thompson & Mr Key

    Colonel Thomson                         Mr. Key         

    The heart of the new association was certainly in the region ‘Zuid Holland’. But before too long, without informing the NPV of this, in the Dutch Region of ‘Overijssel’, some NPV members declared themselves a region of the association and thus the structure of the future KNPV, with one national board and regions with separate boards, was formed.
    Overijssel, November 28, 1908
    Gelderland, May 15, 1912
    Utrecht, February 14, 1910
    Noord Holland, November 1909
    Zuid Holland, April 2, 1909
    Zeeland, January 24, 1925
    Noord Brabant, 1910?
    Limburg, December 1919
    The KNPV DogsIn the early days, even before the (K)NPV was founded, various breeds were used for police work. In the first 25 years of existence, a limited amount of dogs received a KNPV title, not quite 33 dogs a year, the low being 1921 with 12 dogs, the high 1925 with 60. Compare that to the current numbers, approximately 1000 certificates of the combined disciplines a year.

    Seven Pines Kennel,KNPV History Pictures of<br /><br /> GSD
    GSD male “Racker” pedigree NPV
    15977, born 8-20-1909

    Seven Pines Kennel, Spits Stamboek
    “Spits”, Dutch Shepherd Bitch,
    pedigree reg: NPV 149

    Seven Pines Kennel,KNPV History Pictures of GSD
    GSD bitch “Kelinerin”
    callname   “Ali”  born 6-17-1909


    The dogs that were used most in those days were Malinois, Dutch Shepherds, German Shepherds, Dobermans, Groenendaels (called Belgian Sheepdog in the USA) and Bouviers. The list below shows some other breeds as well but they were obviously more of an exception. The fact that the Dutch Shepherd started off as the front runner, when it comes to the breeds that were used, could possibly be caused by the fact that people used the dogs that were readily available to them. Due to the breeding policy for the Dutch Shepherds, dictated by the NHC, a lot of good dogs were excluded as Dutch Shepherds (for example in 1914, all of a sudden, only brindle dogs could be registered, and up to that point, many colors, including ‘yellow’ had been permitted), but these same dogs could be entered as Belgian Malinois in those days. Maybe that explains part of the sudden increase of Malinois in the KNPV in those days.
     Seven Pines Kennel, KNPV Chart
    The last row in the above graph shows the total for the first 25 years, adding up to 822 dogs that received a KNPV title. The graph shows the six most prevalent breeds.Besides them, 5 Airedale terriers, 8 Briards, 15 Beaucerons, 9 Rottweilers, and 1 Giant Schnauzer were titled. The rest (29) were of mixed breed.

    Seven Pines Kennel,KNPV History Pictures of Bouviers
    A bouvier family. The identity of
    the dogs is unknown.

    Seven Pines Kennel,KNPV History Pictures of Doberman
    Doberman bitch “Lida” pedigree NPV 286,
    born 3-15-1911

    Seven Pines Kennel,KNPV History Pictures of Rottweilers
    Rottweiler bitch “Ortrud” (owned by the KNPV)
    and her pups, born 5-17-1916

    One of the founders of the region Utrecht, Mr. D. Otten tells us in 1932 how he regrets that some outstanding Dutch Shepherds lines which were successfully trained for the KNPV and had proven their prodigy were later forgotten when it came to breeding of KNPV dogs. The breeding of dogs of unknown background started to happen more and more. This was partly to blame on finances only (crosses were cheaper than pedigreed dogs), and partly to blame on the fact that the “Raad van Beheer”,  the Dutch pedigree registry (FCI), contrary to surrounding countries, did not require  a dog that won a championship in conformation to also have a working title of some kind.
    Seven Pines Kennel,KNPV History Pictures of a bite
    “Marco” the 1931 champion of the region Noord Brabant,
    at the spring trial of 1932 with decoy “Piet”
    Thus we can, as early as 1932, hear the complaint that pedigreed dogs with a correct temperament for KNPV work, were few and far between. Later, after the World War II in particular, due to financial considerations, many puppies of pedigreed litters were not registered with the FCI. This was simply because registering cost money and people felt that a simple piece of paper would not make their dog a better one. The split between pedigreed and non pedigreed dogs was created, and even today the majority of KNPV dogs is not FCI registered, which does not necessarily mean that the lineage of these dogs is unknown.  Nowadays, most breeders are fully aware of working lines within the KNPV and most dogs share some very solid working lines that go back a long way.
    Today Since history is made every day, this is far from being a complete overview of the KNPV. It is limited to the early beginnings of the Association, which is still very much alive, and producing great dogs for Police service applications all over the world. A continuing summing up of names of the people that carried the KNPV through the 20th century could follow. Many very inspired and knowledgeable people gave their best for the benefit of this wonderful organization and continue doing so to this day. We hope that the KNPV has a future ahead of her, as impressive and solid as her past. Long live the KNPV.


    Here is a great article from

    This article was written by a Dutch citizen who is friend of mine (BOB Neijts). Bob has been a member of the KNPV for 15 years. He has titled dogs in the KNPV and is an avid supporter of the dog sport. While the English may not be exactly correct I chose not to change the article because if is written in the way that the Dutch people think about their dogs and their dog sport.

    Bob currently lives in Bonnaire Dutch Netherlan Antillies, which is an Island off the coast of South America. He works for the Dutch Government and will remain out of Holland until 1998. Bob has taken several Malinoise with him to the island but has a hard time working in his dog sport because of the heat and lack of helpers. He travels back to the Netherlands a couple of times per year. He was instrumental in arranging for me to get permission to film the KNPV National trial.

    -Ed Frawley

    The KNPV: A Dutchman’s View

    The KNPV is an organization which is 90 years old. The start of the KNPV was at a protection dog trial in 1907. It has started as an organization to bring people, who train their dogs, together and establish a good quality of working dogs. In the early days they would let their dogs do anything to proof their courage like jumping off a bridge. To he able to judge all the dogs in the same way they started to train a fixed program which resulted in the KNPV of today. The KNPV has not changed very much over the years. They always tried to hang on to the old training program. Now days slowly the KNPV head office is beginning to realize that some of the exercises will never he used in actual life. Also they start to think about the safety of the chg. Still this only has resulted in changes to the high jump. All the other exercises like the one with the helper trying to get away on a bike is still in practice. It seems like a normal exercise as you see all these Dutchman on their bikes but it will almost never happen that you send your dog after somebody on a bike because of the danger of the dog biting somebody else. It also can be a very dangerous exercises for the helper and the dog.

    The KNPV is one of the two organizations which certificates are recognized by the government. The big difference between the KNPV an the other organization (The Dutch Association of Service Dogs) is that only the KNPV allows civilians to become members.

    The main goals of the KNPV are:

    1. To promote the use of certified dogs as service dogs for Police, security company, rescue-organizations and so on.
    2. To train dogs to be certified for one of the five certificates of the KNPV
    3. To train people to become handlers, instructors and judges and helpers for exams competitions and demonstrations.
    4. To promote the breeding of suitable dogs for the KNPV certificate.

    There are five different titles in KNPV:

    1. Police Dog 1 (PH1),
    2. Police Dog 2 (PH2),
    3. Object Guarding Dog (objectbewking)
    4. Search and Rescue Dog (Reddingshond)
    5. Tracking Dog (Speurhond)

    The PH 1 title is the most common one. It is the foundation of all of the other KNPV titles. These other titles are a diversion or compilation of the PH 1 title or they add a specific element for special needs. This PH1 is the certificate the government demands if you want to work with your dog as Police Service Dog or as a Surveillance dog for a security company.

    Object Guarding is the certificate designed for dogs who are going to be used as guard and or service dogs You need at least this certificate to be allowed by the government to use your dog for police and or security services. It is very often done by people who want to keep training and don’t want to sell their already titled PH1 dog.

    Search and Rescue Dog is a more specialized certificate and requires a dog who will be able to search’ locate and find victims underneath wreckage of houses and buildings. Just a handful of people train their dogs for this title.

    Tracking Dog is a very specialized title. The dog has to be able to work out a human track (on a reliable basis) and also must be able to discriminate a specific human scent out of a line up of human scent samples.

    Holland is a dog loving country. Specially in the southern part of the country where there are a lot of clubs. Not only KNPV but also IPO VH and agility. If you leave one training field you are already on the border of the next.

    Holland and it’s KNPV has always been different from all the other countries training dogs (like Germany, Belgium and France.) The KNPV always hung on to the old fashion way to make sure that you have only good and tough dogs In all the other countries the training programs have changed a lot over the years, not so with the KNPV. This as a more dark side like I mentioned above, but also a bright side. A very good thing about this is that the KNPV never changed the rules and exercises so that also the inferior dogs could get a PH1 title. No! The KNPV always supported the breeding of good qualified dogs. In other countries it happened that they changed the program to fit the type of dogs being bred instead of breeding dogs who are able to do the program. Everybody knows where this leads to: “destruction of the dogs working abilities. When that happens they have a problem which is even bigger than what they started with. Now they have only dogs with a lack of working abilities. This is about the same reason why the KNPV doesn’t worry if a dog is registered or not registered.”

    The KNPV wants working dogs not the show dogs. They have seen it happen that as soon as the breeders only look after the exterior of the dog the good characters will fade away. To get rid of the working abilities is no problem, to get them back almost impossible!!

    This more or less old fashion thinking or maybe stubborn behavior of the KNPV gave us the good quality working dog we see today. Strong, hard biting, dogs with a lot of drive and spectacular high bites which are so famous for the KNPV.

    There is a very big difference between the KNPV and the IPO and VH. Not only in the program but more so in the members. Most of the people who train IPO already owned a dog before the became a member of a club. Most of the times they start with a puppy course or come to the club when they have difficulties handling their dog and then train in IPO.

    The members of the KNPV are almost all already into the dog training and try to find a pup or young adult who is capable of doing the KNPV program. Most of the times people in the KNPV don’t keep their dogs. Either he is Ok and gets titled, and than sold, or he is not OK and gets sold straight away! This attitude makes the KNPV members sometimes a little rude in the eyes of all the other dog loving people. The main reason is that they want to get the dog titled as soon as possible. Luckily most of the KNPV members are very nice people.

    Before a dog is sold they have tried everything within their power to get the dog through the PH 1 exam. But once they know he will not succeed the decision is easily made and the dog is history After all you can’t keep every dog who is not capable to get titled. It is like a soccer player who has shoes that are to small. He will get rid of the old ones and buy new shoes which he can perform better with. The main thing is that all the members, young or old, train their dogs to get titled and not just to train them and have a good time with their dogs. Also The KNPV itself is very clear about that. The reason why they come on the training field is clear. “TO TITLE THEIR DOG.”


    Another great article from

    The Difference Between Schutzhund & KNPV Dogs

    Both started in the early 1900’s. Schutzhund and KNPV are great European dog sports. Schutzhund originated in Germany and the KNPV began in Holland.

    Schutzhund was started by Amax Avon Stephanitz who is the founder of the German Shepherd breed. He designed the sport of schutzhund to be used as a tool by breeders. Schutzhund is intended to give a breeder a way of measuring the working ability of a dog so that this information can be used in a breeding program. Schutzhund was originally intended as a certification program, which in effect it still is. But over the years it has evolved into a sport where competitors see who can do the best job in training their dogs in the skills that are tested.

    The KNPV is also known as the Royal Dutch Police Dog Sport. The name would imply that the sport trains police dogs. This is not correct, the dogs trained in KNPV can not and should not go directly into police service work. The sport was originally designed to provide a certification program by the Dutch government for civilians to train and title dogs that would then be made available to the Dutch Police. The fact is that many people who train in the KNPV still feel that the purpose of the sport is to provide dogs for service work. Many of the exercises closely relate to skills that are needed as a service dog. The fact is that a KNPV titled dog still needs to go through 5 or 6 weeks of additional training to get it ready to work as a street police service dog. Over the years the KNPV has also developed into a dog sport more than a certification program in Holland.

    dog trainingMany dog vendors in this country intentionally mislead people and police agencies into believing that both Schutzhund and KNPV dogs are qualified to become police service dogs simply because they have obtained a Schutzhund or a KNPV title. Nothing is further from the truth. Both dog sports train a dog to bite a man. But it’s possible to train dogs in either dog sport to bite strictly using the dogs prey drive. A dog must be able to work in his “defensive drive” and in “fight drive” to be a functional police service dog.

    In schutzhund the dogs are trained to track. The style of tracking is called “competition foot step tracking.” The purpose of schutzhund tracking is not so much to teach a dog to follow a scent (that is a simple task) as it is to test the trainers ability to train a dog to follow scent very precisely and at a very controlled speed. Yes the dog must follow scent but the deciding factor in this work is not getting to the end of the track as much as it is the style at which the dog works (slow, methodical, not getting off the track more than a foot or two and not going by a corner by more than a body length). It is difficult to train a schutzhund dog to track in such a way that the pressure needed to get the dog to slow down and conform to the rules does not bleed over into the obedience work. If it does the pressure results in a dog that looks like it’s depressed and hates the work. Training a good schutzhund tracking dog is an “ART FORM.”

    dog trainingIt is important to realize that schutzhund tracking is no where near police service tracking. The fact is that if a dog was “FORCE TRACKED” for sport work (which is common) it will not do police service tracking. These force tracked dogs do not like to track as a result of the force that was put on it in the force training. Service dogs need to be trained to track through drive and tracking at speed is an important part of this training.

    The KNPV does not have any tracking in their normal certification program (they do offer a special tracking Certificate). One of the exercises in the KNPV is to do area searches in the woods for articles and for the helper. This is a particularity bad concept for a dog that is going to become a service dog. Dog’s that are first trained to run around with their nose in the air trying to find the airborne scent from an article or a man can almost never be trained to become good tracking dogs where the scent comes from the ground. Tracking should always be trained before area search.

    In Holland when police agencies purchase a KNPV titled dog the animal must first go through a selection test where it’s drives are tested for service work. Once an animal has been selected it then goes through 6 weeks of training before it is allowed to work on the street. In addition, the Dutch police recognize the scent restrictions of the sport and train special tracking dogs for their scent work. These specialty tracking dog’s are almost exclusively not KNPV certificate dogs.

    The protection work for Schutzhund has little to do with police service work. The schutzhund bite work is a very precise routine that dogs can be “programmed” to work through. Granted, it takes a certain level of temperament and drive to be able to perform the routine. This drive level is so low on dogs that pass the schutzhund exam that it almost eliminates the value of a title to a breeder like myself. Frankly through proper training dogs can easily be schutzhund titled but these same dogs can not come close to passing a selection test for police work, much less be trained to do the work.

    When a dog is titled in schutzhund the judge gives his opinion on what type of “COURAGE” the dog has displayed that day. A “PRONOUNCED” rating is the highest. The problem is that 90% of the schutzhund judges do not understand true aggression. They don’t understand fight drive and they are not willing to admit it. Dog’s are constantly given “pronounced” ratings when in fact they don’t deserve it. This is evident by the number of schutzhund titled dogs that do not have the courage and hardness to do police service work. The problem is that the judges confuse “very active prey drive” in the bite work with true aggression.

    The obedience in the Schutzhund sport is also very precise. Way more than is needed for a service dog. While there is nothing wrong with the challenge to train a dog to perform at this level of precision and still maintain a respectable drive, it is very difficult to do. In most cases, with novice trainer, dogs developed minor temperament problems. They lose over all drive because of inappropriate force being applied by new handlers. With the advent of better videos and books in this country, this is becoming less and less of a problem than it was 15 years ago.

    While the KNPV sport does not require the same level of precision as schutzhund, it does seem that a lot of Dutch trainers are very hard on their dogs in obedience. I think this is because of the fact that they have not been forced to develop other training methods because many of their Malinois (at least the ones selected for their sport) are so high in drive that they can take the force and still maintain drive.

    In KNPV we also see a lot of dogs (even at the national level) who are strictly prey dogs. The sport has been gaining in popularity in this country because people have recognized the weaknesses of schutzhund and are not willing to accept them. These people think that the KNPV is a much more difficult sport where only the tough survive. Unfortunately they are wrong. The KNPV is a great sport if one keeps in mind that it is “JUST A SPORT.”

    I have seen a lot is KNPV dogs that are imported into this country that bite like alligators but have nerve problems. This makes them jumpy and a little dangerous to work from a handlers standpoint. This is not something that is seen very often in German Shepherds but it is not that uncommon in Malinois. The Dutch should not be blamed for this. These dogs are almost always sold at reduced prices (many times they are 1/2 the price of a qualified dog.) The fact is the people who are to blame are the American importers who are trying to make a few extra dollars and accept lesser quality dogs.

    The reason for getting into KNPV is there is no tracking and the exercises are fun to train for (guard the article and handler protection etc.). Some people who live in cities have problems finding proper tracking grounds and some people simply hate training tracking (I find this hard to believe because it’s my favorite thing to train). It’s my personal feeling that KNPV would be the sport of choice in America today had it come to the States 25 years ago the way Schutzhund did.

    I would recommend either Schutzhund or the KNPV to anyone interested in training working dogs. Both Schutzhund and KNPV have had a positive influence on breeding working dogs in this country. It’s the influence of these dog sports that have raised the quality of police service dogs in America. I just feel that it is a mistake to think that all Schutzhund dogs and all KNPV dog’s can become police service dogs. The facts are that very few of them have the drive or temperament for the work.

    As far as I am concerned the best patrol dog candidates are young males who have started their training in Schutzhund KNPV (at the bite development stage) but have not yet been titled. If adult titled dogs are purchased for service dogs a good part of their training involved correcting problems caused by sport handlers and reprogramming the dogs to work on the street.


    From KNPV K9


    The forefathers of the Shepherd (Dutch, Belgian and German) were probably wolves which were domesticated, and in the 15 thousand years that followed they were used for different purposes and developed accordingly. Hunting, fighting, carrying loads and herding were just a few of the tasks that the dogs were given. Within these groups several different breeds came into existence and by looks and nature distinguished themselves from other dogs. A shepherd dog is nothing more that a dog than belonged to, and was used by a shepherd, helping him to look after the sheep or cattle. A dog with  a high level of independence was needed to keep the flock or herd together , drive it, guard, and defend it. Some breeds were specialized in working with a certain type of animal  or a specific task, while others were  all round.

    Dutch Shepherd is a breed in its own right & there are now generally considered to be two different “types” of Dutch Shepherd available. The first is the FCI registered Dutch Shepherd. These dogs are bred to FCI standards with official pedigrees and generally compete in conformation shows and or are trained in various dog sports and working pursuits such as IPO, Agility and SAR. These dogs, like most pedigree dogs, are bred more for conformation showing and companion pets as per FCI Standards, with only a few breeders concentrating on producing these dogs specifically for working pursuits. The registered Dutch Shepherd is not a large breed in terms of numbers with approximately 4500 dogs currently registered with the FCI.

    The second type of Dutch Shepherd is the most commonly found in the Royal Dutch Police Dog or “Koninklijke Nederlandse Politiehond Vereniging” (KNPV) training program. Here in it’s homeland the Dutch Shepherd is one of the mainstay breeds of the KNPV, along with the ever-popular Malinois. In fact a Dutch Shepherd called “Fritz” won an international Police dog competition in Germany back in 1908. It is worth noting that two of three founding members of the KNPV were also members in the Dutch Shepherd Club. KNPV K-9 is currently using the UKC (United Kennel Club) to register its dogs and litters and as with most KNVP titled dogs have a full pedigree bloodline document complete wirh pictures, titles and scores.

    Within the KNPV program, the Dutch Shepherd has survived without the influence and pressures of the conformation circles and has not been restricted by the need for an official pedigree. The Dutch Shepherd of the KNPV program is, and always has been, bred to be a working police dog. Even within the KNPV program, compared to the Malinois, the Dutch Shepherd is only relatively small in population yet continues to maintain a working police dog heritage that few breeds can match. Since the year 2000 the Dutch Shepherd has been winning the national KNPV championships on a regular basis. The 2001 PH1, 2002 PH2, 2003 PH2, 2006 PH1 titles were won by Dutch Shepherds, not to mention all the 2nd and 3rd places gained by other high quality Dutch Shepherds.

    Unlike the dog sport programs such as IPO, Schutzhund, and even French Ring, the KNPV has no requirement for dogs to hold an FCI or official pedigree. In fact, around about 90% of the dogs titled in the KNPV program do not have FCI or official pedigrees. The KNPV program believes that official pedigrees are not required to produce quality police dogs – and the continuing success of the program has proven this to be true. Although a little controversial, most would have to agree that generally most dogs that successfully obtained a KNPV title would be capable of obtaining IPO and Schutzhund titles, where as, the same could not be said of as many Schutzhund or IPO titled dogs being capable of achieving KNPV Police Dog Titles.