2008 is the centenary of the first Police dogs being deployed in the UK. The Europa theme is "the letter" and the 1st class stamp features an Assistance Dog carrying a letter, one of the many tasks these dogs are trained for. Also featured through specially commissioned photography by Tim Flach is a Mountain Rescue dog, Police dog, a Customs or sniffer dog, a Sheep dog and a Guide dog.
Set of 6 stamps:
54p - Customs (sniffer) dog;
1st Class - Assistance Dog
Throughout the UK, there are many charities shrewdly using dogs to help disabled people to lead fuller, more independent lives. These include people suffering from epilepsy, deafness or mobility problems, who rely on specially trained dogs to raise the alarm or help with a range of everyday tasks, from opening and closing doors, switching on lights, retrieving slippers or keys, helping someone dress and undress - even taking the laundry out of the washing machine. The dog shown on the stamp is a Labrador called Rowan.
- Skills: composure, initiative, quick-wittedness, dependability.
- Typical breeds: Golden Retrievers, Labradors and German Shepherds.
46p - Mountain Rescue Dog
The Search and Rescue Dogs Association was set up by Scots mountaineer Hamish McInnes in the 1960s. It trains dogs to 'air scent' - picking up a human scent blown towards them by the wind or air currents, a technique which has proved highly effective in pin-pointing lost or injured unfortunates. The dog shown on the stamp is a Cross-Bred called Merrick.
- Skills: hardiness, warm coat, good with heights, keen sense of smell and hearing.
- Typical breeds: German Shepherds, Border Collies, Golden and Labrador Retrievers.
- Tasks: picking up scents, leading a search party, mountain climbing.
48p - Police Dog
The first British police dogs didn't cut the mustard. A pair of Bloodhounds conscripted to track down the notorious Jack the Ripper in 1888 they bolted, after one of them bit the Metropolitan Commissioner. But today several hundred highly trained animals provide valuable canine back-up to police forces up and down the country, helping to apprehend criminals, uncover evidence, keep unruly crowds under control, as well as sniffing out explosives and drugs. The dog shown on the stamp is a German Shepherd called Max.
- Skills: Strength, speed, agility, bravery, sense of smell, coolness under pressure, unswerving loyalty.
- Typical breeds: The German Shepherd, Labrador and Springer Spaniel have replaced the original Airedale Terrier.
- Tasks: Guarding, tracking, chasing, sniffing, arresting, community liaison work.
54p - Customs Dog
It takes around three months of intensive 'hide and seek'-based training until a customs dog has the nose and expertise to uncover anything from hidden contraband and banknotes to illegal immigrants. Reporting for duty at our ports and airports, these determined animals are a boon to national security, ably inspecting passengers, cars, freight vehicles, aircraft, shipping and any other nooks and crannies that arouse the suspicions of their handlers. The dog shown on the stamp is a Springer Spaniel called Max.
- Skills: drive, determination, hunting instincts, a hyper-sensitive nose.
- Typical breeds: Labrador, Springer Spaniel, Border Collie and some cross-breeds.
- Tasks: seeking and finding, rooting in tight spaces, thwarting smugglers.
69p - Sheepdog
The sheepdog has become synonymous with the familiar black-and-white Border Collie, popularised by the long-gone TV programme One Man and his Dog. With a fierce intelligence and steely glint in their eye perfect for intimidating their ovine charges, working border collies can be directed by voice and whistle at long distances. And they're capable of herding more than sheep... they'll happily take on cattle, poultry, deer and even the odd ostrich.
- Skills: obedience, good with sheep and livestock, outdoorsy, won't take 'no' for an answer.
- Typical breeds: Border Collie, though the Kelpie is favoured in Australia. The dog shown on the stamp is a Border Collie called Bob.
78p - Guide Dogs
Dogs have led the blind since Roman times, though the modern guide dog programme was introduced in Germany for veterans who lost their sight during WWI. The system relies on close partnership between dog and owner, in which both parties are carefully matched and rigorously trained. There are some 4,700 guide dogs in the UK, provided by Guide Dogs for the Blind for a nominal 50p. The dog shown on the stamp is a Yellow Labrador called Warwick.
- Skills: obedience, patience, awareness, docility, friendliness.
- Typical breeds: Golden Retrievers, Labradors and German Shepherds.
- Tasks: way-finding, road crossing, avoiding obstacles.
Designed by Redpath using photography by Tim Flach, the stamps are printed in litho by Cartor Security Printing. The stamps are 35mm x 37mm . All images are by kind permission of Royal Mail, Copyright 2007/8. This website is copyright Norvic Philatelics 2008.
Products available:Mint or vfu
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Postmarks available for the day of issue are shown here, these may not be to scale. These postmarks cannot be obtained after the date of issue.
| Ref FD803
Philatelic Bureau Official Postmark illustrated with Dog's pawprint
| Ref FD804
Hound Green, Basingstoke, official postmark illustrated with bone
| Ref FD804NP
Hound Green Official non-pictorial Postmark
| Ref L10835
100 Years of Police Dogs in Britain, New Scotland Yard, London SW1
| Ref L10836
Working Dogs, Barking (Essex)
| Ref L10837
Working Dogs, Dog Lane, London NW10
| Ref L10838
International Sheep Dog Society, Bedford
| Ref L10839
Guide Dogs, Reading
| Ref L10840
Dogs for the Disabled, Banbury
| Ref L10841
Working Dogs, Newfoundland, Bridport
| Ref L10842
Saluting Working Dogs - thrive - London N2
| Ref M10847
St Bernard's Rd, Solihull
| Ref N10848
Police Dog, Spennymoor, County Durham
| Ref N10849
First Working Dogs, Hull Docks [*]
| Ref N10851
Sheep Dog, Kendal (Cumbria)
Mountain Rescue Dog, Denbigh
Other Location notes
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This page updated 16 March 2008
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