Dog Handler Day in Ukraine Date in the current year: April 2, 2024

Dog Handler Day in Ukraine Dog Handler Day, sometimes erroneously translated as Cynologist Day, is a professional holiday celebrated in Ukraine on April 2. It honors people who train and work with working dogs in police units, search and rescue operations, border guard units, etc.

Dogs can be trained to perform a wide range of practical tasks, from helping disabled people to herding cattle or detecting drugs. The term “dog handler” can be applied to professionals who train working dogs and to police officers, border guards, deminers, and other specialists who work with assigned working dogs trained to performed specific tasks. Working dogs usually work exclusively with their assigned handler.

In Ukrainian law enforcement and emergency services, working dogs are usually trained to perform tasks in three specific areas:

  • Apprehension: locating, apprehending, and sometimes subduing suspects shortly after the crime occurred.
  • Search and rescue: locating suspects or finding missing people or objects.
  • Detection: detecting drugs or explosives.

Sometimes dogs are trained to perform a range of tasks such as article, area and building search, tracking, criminal apprehension, and handler protection. Such dogs are known as patrol dogs or dual purpose dogs.

According to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, the most common working dog breeds in the country are the German Shepherd, the Belgian Shepherd (Malinois), the English Cocker Spaniel, the Labrador Retriever, and the Fox Terrier. However, these are just a few of the breeds that can be trained to perform various tasks in law enforcement and emergency services. For example, Patron, arguably the most famous working dog in Ukraine, is a Jack Russel Terrier.

Patron is a bomb-sniffing dog who serves as a mascot for the State Emergency Service and Ukraine. He was born in 2019 and purchased by Mykhailo Iliev, a bomb disposal technician from Chernihiv. Iliev originally purchased the puppy as a pet for his son but later decided to train him as a detection dog instead. Due to his small weight, Patron can be used to detect anti-personnel landmines because they won’t detonate if he steps on them.

Patron and his handler became famous after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, when the State Emergency Service posted a video of them neutralizing undetonated Russian land mines and bombs in Chernihiv. Their visibility helped raise awareness of the use of working dogs in demining, search and rescue operations, border protection, etc., and highlight the contribution of working dogs and their handlers.

Dog Handler Day is celebrated in Ukraine annually on April 2 to commemorate the founding of the official canine service in the Minister of Interior of Ukraine on this day in 1994. Even though the holiday does not have an official status, it is widely celebrated in the Ministry of Interior, the State Emergency Service, the State Border Guard Service, the State Customs Service, and other organizations, institutions, and agencies that use working dogs. In addition, Dog Handler Day is celebrated by professionals who train assistance dogs.

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Dog Handler Day in Ukraine, holidays in Ukraine, professional observances, working dogs, dog handlers