KONINKLIJKE NEDERLANDSE POLITIEHOND VERENIGING
ROYAL DUTCH POLICE DOG ASSOCIATION
HISTORY OF THE KNPV
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.
The 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.
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
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
e 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.
Mr. Steijns Mr. Kessler Mr. Herfkens
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.
Colonel Thomson Mr. Key
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,
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 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.
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.
|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.|
|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.|
|| 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.
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.
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