On 21 June, Day of Cynological Units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia is celebrated, or in short – Day of the Cynologist. It was officially approved by the Order of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation No. 383 of 18 June 2004 ‘On the announcement of the Day of Cynological Units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia.’ In Russia, the practice of dog handling service in the police began in 1906 on the initiative of the head of the St. Petersburg detective department of the police Vasiliy Lebedev, and 3 years later a police dog named Tref became widely known in Moscow for solving more than 1,500 crimes.
The history of dog handling units in the structure of law enforcement agencies in our country, as is commonly believed, began on 21 June 1909, when the first Russian kennel of police detective dogs was opened in St. Petersburg. Three years later, police detective dogs began to be used in the investigation of crimes in more than 50 provinces of Russia. At the same time, the first kennel of military field dogs was opened on the basis of the Izmailovsky Guards Regiment, where they were trained and used mainly for communication and reconnaissance. In the 1920s, kennels were created in the USSR to train dog handlers and dogs for various departments and structures: criminal investigation, border troops, People’s Commissariat of Railways, paramilitary security etc.
Purposeful, well-defined work on the development of service dog breeding in the USSR allowed Soviet dog handlers to actively join the fighting already in the first days of the Great Patriotic War. On the battlefield, dogs were just irreplaceable – they found mines, provided stable communication and protection of troops, went on reconnaissance, blew up fascist tanks, found and took out the wounded, chased spies and saboteurs, transported cargo etc.
Today, service dogs continue to occupy a worthy place in the service and combat activities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia. Currently, about 20,000 crimes are solved annually in Russia with the help of dogs. For loyalty to duty, many animals have awards. Moreover, in Novosibirsk, a monument was erected to a service dog, which, being wounded, excellently participated in a counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya. There are a monument to bomber-dogs in Volgograd and a monument to the ‘Front Dog’ on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow, as well as in other Russian cities.
On 22 May 1911, The Fédération Cynologique Internationale was founded in Thuin, Belgium. The initiators of the creation were Germany, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. There is information that at that time, Czarist Russia also took part in international cynological integration. However, due to the political situation, Russia did not become a member of the founders, although this issue was discussed.
Translated by Elizaveta O. Ovchinnikova