Meet Britain’s toughest dogs – schooled to wrestle a gun away from an attacker or savage an intruder on command.
The ferocious canines sell for upwards of £20,000 to VIP clients including foreign dignitaries, high net worth individuals and Premier League footballers.
The dogs are put through their paces by professional dog trainers Robert Dye, 30, and Leedor Borlant, 25 – who together run Protection Dogs UK.
The Bradford-based duo travel around the world, sourcing dogs from everywhere from Serbia and the Czech Republic to America and Russia.
‘Sourcing our dogs is a difficult thing to do – it’s all about the temperament of the dogs and their pedigree,’ says Leedor.
‘We might see 100 dogs and only come back with one. We don’t look for vicious dogs or aggressive dogs – we want strong, stable dogs.’
Leeds-born Rob, who has previously worked training dogs for the daughter of the ruler of Dubai, had an encyclopaedic knowledge of dogs by the age of 5.
He got into dog training via an ex-partner who ran a rescue for aggressive canines before recruiting his old boxing friend Leedor – who now has five working dogs of his own, including Mario, a gigantic 127lb Cane Corso.
‘We originally bought him to sell, but I finished up keeping him because I fell in love with the dog, I see him as like my son,’ says Leedor.
‘I’ve been offered a ridiculous amount of money for him and I wouldn’t sell him for anything.’
The pair cater for a wide range of clients around the world.
‘Some people want a basic obedient dog that will bite on command and release on command, while others are really high-priority and fear for their life and want gunfire, attack, searching, which takes a lot of time and a lot of control, so the price goes up,’ explains Leedor.
‘We’ve had some calls from people who have been attacked, tied up in their house and left for three days, forced to open safes.’
Unsurprisingly, Rob and Leedor are inundated with requests from the criminal world, but go through a thorough vetting process before taking on a client.
‘We get requests from loads of dodgy people like drug dealers, but we’re good at weeding people out – I can tell if they’re serious or if they’ve got the wrong intentions for the dog,’ says Leedor.
One of the pair’s most recent successes was Drago – a 92lb Doberman with a string of awards for his sleek look and pedigree, who recently sold for £25,000 to a new family, who have given rave testimonials.
Despite their ferocity, the pair are adamant that their dogs are safe to be around children and that the owners are in total control.
‘We make the decision for the dog and the dog looks to us for the decision, as opposed to a dog that’s just aggressively biting everybody,’ explains Rob.
‘A client’s dog stayed here and I was looking after it – I trained this dog. I took it back to the family and he’s become inseparable with the 3-year-old.
‘As soon I put him in the car with the child, he completely changed and would not let me in the car.’
Rob and Leedor do a handover with each client to ensure the dogs are settled with their new family – including a mock burglary to check the dog is performing as necessary.
‘There’s no backing down, you can’t convince these dogs, or negotiate with them. They do their job,’ says Leedor.
‘Getting through a camera’s OK, you can get round an alarm, but you’re not getting past the dog.’