What Kind of Dog is Tank on FBI International?

Giant schnauzer dog

FBI: International, the action-packed series from Dick Wolf that premiered in 2021, has captivated audiences worldwide. The show follows the adventures of Supervisory Special Agent Scott Forrester, Special Agent Jamie Kellett, and the lovable hound known as Tank.

The Breed of Dog in FBI International

Giant schnauzer plays a black puppy

Tank, the lead dog character in FBI: International, is a giant schnauzer. In the show, Tank is referred to as a Schutzhund, which is the German word for a guard dog, translating to “protection dog.” According to the American Kennel Club, giant schnauzers can weigh between 55 and 85 pounds and stand at a height of 23 to 28 inches. Known for their affectionate nature and loyalty, giant schnauzers are a social breed that gets along well with other dogs. They are the largest of the recognized Schnauzer breeds.

The history of the Giant Schnauzer dates back to the mid-1800s in the Bavarian Alps, where they were bred from Standard Schnauzers. Originally, they served as guard dogs for merchants, farmers, and innkeepers. They were also employed for various farm tasks, including cattle herding. Over time, their exceptional loyalty and focus made them a popular choice for European police forces and militaries. When the breed made its way to the Americas, locals were captivated by their remarkable physique. Giant Schnauzers became regular participants in dog shows, showcasing their obedience and charm. Most Giant Schnauzers are either pure black or have a grayish “salt and pepper” pattern. Compared to their Miniature or Standard counterparts, Giant Schnauzers are more muscular and lean, making them a bit more challenging to handle.

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Tank’s Health in FBI International

Dog with Elizabethan Collar fitted after operation.

In the show, Tank faces health challenges. However, fans need not worry about Green, the canine actor who portrays Tank. In season one, Supervisory Special Agent Scott Forrester recruits Tank as his new K9 partner to avoid retirement. After a bombing incident, Tank’s health becomes a major concern, and signs of aging start to show. The vet discovers a concerning lump in Tank’s throat, leading to tests to determine if it is cancerous. During the examination, a second lump is found in Tank’s intestines. Urgent calls from the veterinary team reach Agent Forrester, who is deeply involved in an investigation, seeking permission for emergency surgery. Special Agent Jamie Kellett grants permission, and Tank undergoes life-saving surgery. The episode ends with Tank still hospitalized, connected to an IV, leaving fans eagerly waiting to learn his fate.

Training Dogs for Acting

Man hands holding movie clapper

The dogs in Hollywood are not ordinary pets but well-trained task dogs. Green, the Giant Schnauzer who plays Tank in FBI: International, began his training as a puppy. Animal coordinator Theresa Ann Miller, daughter of renowned dog trainer Karl Lewis, sheds light on how professional dogs perform their roles. Clicker training, utilizing positive reinforcement, is a common method employed in Hollywood. Clickers are used to activate dogs to carry out different commands and focus on specific tasks. Miller also uses a feed stick, a thin stick with a green ball on the end, to help dogs direct their attention during scenes. Training dogs for television and film requires patience, expertise, and a deep understanding of canine behavior.

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Finding Giant Schnauzers

Giant schnauzer close up

Giant Schnauzers can be found through breeders listed in the Giant Schnauzer Club of America’s directory or at various breed-specific rescues across the United States. These organizations ensure responsible adoption practices and work to prevent Giant Schnauzers from ending up in shelters. Rescue options include The Hertha Thomas-Zagari Giant Schnauzer Rescue, the G.I.A.N.T. Schnauzer Rescue Network, and the Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas.

The Hertha Thomas-Zagari Giant Schnauzer Rescue operates nationwide and aims to find loving homes for these dogs while promoting healthy breeding practices. The G.I.A.N.T. Schnauzer Rescue Network, standing for “Giants In Action Networking Together,” spreads awareness about the joys and challenges of owning a Giant Schnauzer. The Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas focuses on rescuing and rehoming all three Schnauzer breeds, primarily serving residents of the Carolinas, Virginia, and East Tennessee.

Hypoallergenic Qualities of Giant Schnauzers

Giant schnauzer laying on a beach with the sun behind

Giant Schnauzers are considered hypoallergenic dogs, shedding minimally and producing little drool. Although no dog is completely allergen-free, Giant Schnauzers are well-suited for individuals seeking a low-dander, low-shedding companion. Regular grooming is necessary to maintain their unique coat, requiring daily brushing and monthly bathing, possibly more if they lead an active lifestyle. Owners should also pay attention to their Giant Schnauzer’s nails, ears, teeth, and skin to detect potential medical issues promptly. While Giant Schnauzers have fewer health problems than their Miniature counterparts, they are at risk for conditions such as Legg-Perthes Disease, cataracts, skin allergies, and various other ailments. It’s crucial to consider grooming and veterinary expenses before deciding to welcome a Giant Schnauzer into your home. Owning these dogs requires thorough research and understanding of their behavioral and healthcare needs.

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Training Challenges with Giant Schnauzers

Owner is training his dog in the forest

Giant Schnauzers are notorious for their intelligence and occasionally defiant nature, making them challenging to train. Raising these dogs can be described as “challenging” by the American Kennel Club, but the results of proper training are immensely rewarding. As they can grow to nearly 100 pounds, Giant Schnauzers require mental stimulation and regular exercise to prevent destructive behaviors or excessive protectiveness. Due to their working background, they need tasks to feel fulfilled. Despite their spirited nature, Giant Schnauzers are highly trainable, often excelling in complex tasks. Their intelligence has made them an increasingly popular choice for service dogs. However, it’s crucial to ensure that your Giant Schnauzer is not too hyperactive, as a dog unable to focus won’t benefit from training sessions. Active individuals who enjoy swimming, running, or hiking are well-suited for owning a Giant Schnauzer. Early socialization is vital to manage their natural protectiveness and differentiate between friends and potential security threats.

Giant Schnauzers in the FBI

Cropped photo of FBI agent using laptop in office

Although Giant Schnauzers are not used by the FBI, they have a history of serving in the Air Force as military service dogs. Originally introduced during World War II, they were replaced by German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers for several decades. However, they made a comeback in the 1980s and are still utilized by the military today. The White House Air Force staff currently includes Brock, a 98-pound Giant Schnauzer with a nearly all-black coat. Under the guidance of Sergeant Dominick Young, Brock serves as a dual-certified odor protection and patrol training dog on Air Force One. He is the first Giant Schnauzer to hold such a prestigious position in over 30 years. Military dogs undergo rigorous training and only a small percentage are selected to serve. Brock trained at the 341st Training Squadron in Joint-Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Although initially challenging to train due to his stubbornness, Brock has successfully served the President.

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The FBI’s Preferred Breed of Dog

Smiling Face Cute Lovely Adorable Golden Retriever Dog

Labrador Retrievers are the preferred breed used by the FBI due to their calm demeanor and adaptability to public attention. Labs are known for their reliability and ease of training. While some TV shows or movies may depict the FBI using German Shepherds like many police forces, the breed’s aggressiveness does not align with the FBI’s needs. The FBI started incorporating canine units in 1999, initially contracting trained dogs and their handlers. Today, these canine units are esteemed and treated with the same level of importance as human officers. Retired FBI dogs are honored and memorialized at Quantico, with some even buried in steel coffins. The dogs undergo specialized training to detect various explosives, with their exceptional sense of smell enabling them to detect minute traces. Dogs like Tank from FBI: International play a vital role in ensuring the safety of our country.

So, while Tank the lovable hound in FBI: International may be a fictional character played by a Giant Schnauzer, these remarkable dogs have a rich history and continue to serve important roles in various capacities. Their intelligence, loyalty, and unique qualities make them stand out in the world of dogs. To learn more about different topics through the “5 Ws” framework, visit 5 WS.

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