Defence Animal Centre

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Defence Animal Centre
Defence Animal Centre, Welby Lane, Melton Mowbray - - 212111.jpg
Defence Animal Centre
Active 1946 - Present
Country  United Kingdom
Type Training
Role Training for search dogs and Household Cavalry horses
Garrison/HQ Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire

The Defence Animal Centre (DAC) is a training centre, based in Melton Mowbray, east Leicestershire, that trains animals (mainly dogs) for all three armed forces. It is also home of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. The DAC now comes under command of the Royal School of Military Engineering.


The Army moved in in 1946. RAF Police dogs began to be trained at the Centre from 1994, after merging RAF and Army dog training in April 1991. The Army School of Equitation's indoor riding school was opened by Princess Anne on 28 February 2008.[1]


Organisation requirements[edit]

British Army Horse (Household Cavalry) on duty in London.

As well as British defence organisations, it prepares dogs for the UK Immigration Service, HM Prison Service, HM Revenue and Customs (former HM Customs and Excise), other UK government agencies and overseas agencies including Irish Revenue Customs Service. UK police dogs are trained in-house at nine regional training centres, such as the Met's site at Keston and Scotland's centre at Pollok Country Park.[2]

Detection skills[edit]

The dogs, often springer spaniels, Labradors and Belgian Shepherds are mainly trained as Detection dogs to detect drugs, bombs and ancillary parts. Substances the dogs are trained to detect include TNT, Cordtex, C-4 and Semtex.[3]

Supply of animals[edit]

It trains about 300 dogs a year, taking about four to six months to train. Some dogs are donated by the general public with the rest often purchased from both national and international vendors. The Services Veterinary Hospital looks after the health of all the dogs (Canine Training Squadron) and horses (Equine Training Squadron) of the UK armed forces (mainly the British Army). The site was used as a training ground for the London Olympics 2012 for cycling and equestrian events.[4]

In Combat[edit]

In the field, some military (and police) dogs can be fitted with special bullet-proof vests to protect them.[5]

Army School of Farriery[edit]

At the Centre is a School of Farriery (training to repair horseshoes), recognised by the Worshipful Company of Farriers and Farriers Registered Council. International farrier competitions are held at the Centre annually. 140 horses can be stabled at the Centre, with 260 out at grass in 240 acres (0.97 km2) of grazing.[6]


  1. ^ "Calendar of the British Royals (February 2008)". Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Pollok Country Park". Glasgow City Council. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Bomb dogs". Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Training camps of Leicester and Leicestershire" (PDF). Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Canine vests". Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "England Farriery team has a new manager". Retrieved 15 April 2014. 

External links[edit]