This film is part of Free

Fricker's Trained Alsatians

An intriguing look at the training of police dogs, climbing up ladders blindfolded and rescuing documents from wounded soldiers.

Documentary 1945 14 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


Made just at the end of the war in 1945, this film of renowned dog trainer Charles Fricker of Pudsey reveals the training that Alsatian dogs would have received for war as well as for non-combative work for which they would usually be trained. Fricker puts the dogs through their paces for warzone situations, being attacked, fetching buckets of water and going up and down a ladder blindfolded. The latter perhaps more for the benefit of his own travelling dog show.

Charles Edward Fricker worked from the start at the Royal Air Force Police dog training school at Woodfold, established before the war by Colonel Baldwin, later becoming the Chief Training Officer. Fricker worked as a Bevin Boy during the war and afterwards established his own kennels and dog display team, as seen here, which performed before the Royal family in 1948. He later introduced the Annual Working Dog Efficiency Competition. German Shepherd dogs were used by Germany during WW1, and introduced here in 1919, being renamed Alsatians to avoid the German association. They were not re-classified back until 1977, the year after Fricker’s retirement, having subsequently been bred to a bigger size.