Cyprus

Top Dog: Putting The RAF's Number One Patrol Canine To The Test

Saiid, based in Cyprus, holds the title for the Royal Air Force's top patrol dog and has been reigning champion for the last two years.

The Security Flight, Dog Section, is tasked with protecting RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.

But who is the base's top dog and what are its skills?

Seven-year-old Saiid, based at RAF Akrotiri, holds the title for the RAF’s number one patrol dog and is reigning champion of the title two years in a row.

Forces News' Cyprus reporter, Sian Grzeszczyk, put Saiid to the test by hiding on the base with Corporal Jazz Dixon, RAF Police, Security Flight, Dog Section, RAF Akrotiri.

Sian has experience of working with animals during her journalism career - in 2018, she bravely volunteered to get 'attacked' by Yyogi, a military dog who protected US President Barack Obama.

In Cyprus, Saiid, a crossbreed,  is an expert at tracking people using the wind and their scent and, despite hiding about 500m away, it didn’t take long for the RAF's top dog to track down Sian and Cpl Dixon.

Corporal Timmy Longstaff, RAF Police, Security Flight, Dog Section, RAF Akrotiri, said: "That only took us seven-and-a-half minutes, so that was really good.

"But let's say you [were] out here for two [or] three hours, he still could have picked up your scent and found you just as well."

And Cpl Longstaff said wind scenting is Saiid’s "bread and butter".

"That means he can go out into an area, search for a missing person [or] an intruder using the wind to his advantage using his very good sense of smell."

"It can then lead into a bitework scenario, so he can chase and detain a criminal.

He added Saiid is a "bit of a robot dog" as he is "really good at everything".

"He shines above the rest of the dogs," Cpl Longstaff added. 

"He's just really really good at his job.

"It's been nice to work with a dog that does everything.

"It's a bit of a break on the old brain."