CIA K9 HALL of FAME: Chico the Belgian Malinois

Photo credit: CIA

While 4leggers has grown into a site that offers fact sheets, helpful tips, and feature stories about all four-legged mammals from household cats to mountain lions, bears, elephants and even mice, the foundation of 4leggers is our love of dogs.

To help educate the public about how important canines are to our everyday life, even though we often don’t know it, 4leggers is launching a series of stories about some of the most courageous dogs in the world. To kick off the series, we’re focusing on the best of the best: the retired working dogs of the K9 Corps of the Central Intelligence Agency who have been enshrined in the CIA’s K9 Hall of Fame.

If you know of any courageous dogs – whether working dogs or just a neighbor’s dog who saved a life or did something courageous – please contact us and we’ll follow up about doing a story: change [at] sherpamultimedia [dot] com.


NAME:  Chico

BREED: Belgian Malinois

SPECIALTY: explosive detection



Hello! My name is Chico. I’m a male Belgian Malinois. I weigh 95 pounds. I was born in Belgium. When I was about 3-years-old, I came to the United States. It wasn’t long before I met my partner, K-9 Officer Steve. I didn’t know what to think of K-9 Officer Steve at first—he is a really big guy and kind of intimidating! But, on my first night in Virginia, Officer Steve spent the night with me. He slept on the hard concrete floor. I knew from that point that Officer Steve would always take care of me.

I came to the CIA to become an Explosive Detection Canine. Officer Steve and I went through 10 weeks of intense training, which I didn’t like at first. You see, I am kind of a hard head—I don’t like being told what to do. But Officer Steve didn’t let me get away with that. He is a former U.S. Marine and would only settle for perfection. Needless to say, I lost the battle. At the end of our 10-week training, we graduated at the top of our class.

After completing my basic training, I went to work every day with Officer Steve. It’s my job to sniff for explosives. When I find something that smells like explosives, I come to a “sit” position. This lets Officer Steve know that I’ve found something with an explosive odor. Next comes the fun part for me, because I get my tug toy each time I find an explosive—and boy do I love to play tug! Sometimes, I’ll sit just to get my tug toy. This never works because Officer Steve knows when I am faking—but I like keeping him on his toes.

When I am not working, I go home with Officer Steve to relax with our family. On the weekends I play outside a lot. I love to play fetch with a ball or KONG, but my favorite toy is always a big stick. At night, I sleep by the front door so I can do my second job, which is to keep my partner and his family safe!

Source: CIA


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