At only nine weeks old, Hawke's Bay Police's newest four-legged recruit Kong is showing great signs of continuing the family legacy.
Kong is the nephew of police dog Gazza, who was killed in April's Porirua siege, and is one of three pups in his litter of 11 to have already been recruited by police dog teams around the country.
Since arriving in the region on Tuesday, Kong has been looked after by puppy development officer Constable Cam Gunn.
As well as being Gazza's nephew, Mr Gunn said Kong was a special dog because he had "a few nice ties back to Hawke's Bay".
Gazza's brother, Gator, is an operational patrol dog in the region, and their sister Gypsy, Kong's mother, was fostered in the region. When asked about Gazza, Mr Gunn said the dog section was reasonably tight, as there were only about 120 patrol dog teams in the country.
"We know what it's like to have a dog, when something like that happens it does resonate with us, it gets us," he said.
Kong is currently the youngest of four foster dogs in the region, with the oldest at nine months. He will soon be leaving Mr Gunn to become the second foster dog of Constable Reece Mitchell.
"From next week he'll start imprinting, and he'll get basic training like obedience," Mr Gunn said. "There are certain things they try and bring out, they try and build them up so they're not just a backyard hero ... we make them as bold as can be to show the things you want to see in police dogs.
"They're naturally assertive which is a good quality, but [handlers] still need to show we're the leader."
The pup, who was big for his age, was already showing desired police dog abilities, such as high retrieve and prey drives.
When he is between 7 months and a year old, he will begin puppy training courses at the Police Dog Training Centre near Wellington, to determine whether he will become an operational patrol dog.
- The New Zealand Police Dog Charitable Trust helps to acquire police dogs, improve their breed lines, and train them and their handlers. Donations can be made to The New Zealand Police Dog Charitable Trust, Westpac Wellington, Account number 030251 0040111 00