The latest Northland police recruit proved a star when it came to controlling an enthusiastic crowd.

Xyke, a 9-week-old pup, yesterday had his first experience on the beat when he got up close with youngsters at Educare in Norfolk St, Whangarei.

The trainee canine crimefighter arrived by plane at Whangarei Airport on Wednesday and was in the public limelight just two days later.

Xyke, a German shepherd, was one of five black pups in the litter. The only spots of white are inside his ears and a dash on his chest.


Head of the Northland police dog unit Sergeant Phil Kahotea said the pup was homed with a Whangarei-based constable who had the responsibility of socialising the young dog.

Xyke would remain with the officer for six to eight months and be exposed to as many different situations as possible.

"The idea is to take them to places they might face as a working dog like stairs inside and outside buildings, " Mr Kahotea said.

Basic training starts next week when Xyke will be enticed to track by following a chain of food.

It is uncertain where Xyke will be placed once training is complete but if a police dog handler requires a new buddy he could well be padding the beat in Northland.

Constable Josh van der Kwaak said he was very pleased with Xyke's first outing.

"He's not too shy given it's his first interaction with kids," he said.

There were plenty of small hands keen to pat the fluffy "baby dog" at Educare.


The children were also treated to a short display from Orla, a narcotics detector dog based in Northland.

The 5-year-old super sniffer made quick work of finding a bag which had traces of illegal drugs and was stashed on top of a car wheel at the child-care centre.

Her nose has been trained to sniff not only cannabis but a collection of illegal white powders including heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy and cocaine.

This detector dog can also sniff out cash, as well as drugs.

Dogs' noses are so sensitive they can pick out the difference between New Zealand and United States currency.