In 1946, the Soviet Union formed the Grenzschutz Polizei or Border Police. They were in charge of guarding 1,378 kilometers of East German Border and also responsible for patrolling 165 kilometers of the Berlin Wall. At the end of their first year of forming there were over 3,000 soldiers comprising the entire unit. In 1951, their name changes to Deutsches Grenz Polizei. And again in 1974 the name is changed to Grenztruppen or border troops. Usually 100-160 dogs were assigned to each Grenztruppen battalion.
The Diensthundefuehrer ( Dog Team Leader ) was in charge of the overall care and training for the border patrol dogs and their handlers. 50% of their training was spent during the night for night maneuver exercises. The K9 leader had to have basic veterinary knowledge and background in animal handling. They were also non-commissioned officers. The handlers had 3 different skill levels. Level -1 the highest and level-3 being a basic skilled handler. They wore qualification badges or patches on their uniforms.
The Grenztruppen and their dogs watched over minefields, border fences; many people will remember Check Point Charlie and the watch towers. Many dog runs or fenced pens also were set up throughout the border. These runs or pens measured about 5 kilometers. Dog runs covered 97 kilometers of the border deploying approximately 1,000 sentry dogs. The area fluctuated between 90- 120 kilometers. 200-250 dog runs or pens were in Berlin alone! The dog run comprised of dogs being leashed to a suspended line. The dogs in the runs or pens were fed only once in a 10 day period to retain their ferociousness.
More than just a sentry dog, they served as tracking dogs, and attack dogs. The border patrol also deployed a special dog pack to find deserters of their “cause” in large area searches such as buildings, timber / woods, or fields.