Scotland Yard wants to hear from owners of Labradors , Cocker or Springer Spaniels which may be suitable for a new career with the police, customs or prison service.
The shortage has arisen because an increasing number of the dogs from breeders usually available to British forces have been brought by police and other agencies in America.
Sgt Ian Macparland from the Metropolitan Police Dog Training Establishment at Keston in Kent, said: ” Other forces have started to realise just how good British dog training is and there has been a growing demand for the past couple of years – even before 11 September.
He believes the Metropolitan centre’s training methods are so successful because they are all based on play. .
“There is a huge demand for the dogs and we are lookingfor 26 between now and March.
“The type we are looking for is the more robust, attention-seeking, naughty dogs , who owners might feel are too much bother, ” said Sgt Macparland.
All canine candidates are visited at home and then spend a few days being evaluated at the centre. Training lasts between six and eight weeks.
Although police will pay the market value for the dogs they say they hope that owners will donate them.
For more information contact the Metropolitan Police (tel: 020 8649 1626 or 07768 504 510).