K-9 was a 1989 film starring James Belushi (as Officer Mike Dooley) and “Koton” (as K-9 Officer Jerry Lee) about an officer (Mike Dooley) who needs to find, and bring to justice, a drug dealer who tried to kill him. He is given a German shepherd who is trained as a narcotics dog to assist him. Of course, Mike has never worked with a K-9 before and his lack of experience comes out when Jerry Lee starts off very independent. K-9 also had a sequel, the 1999 film K911 also starring James Belushi and another German shepherd, “Mac”.
Koton also starred in TV series, K-9 where he starred as “Rondo the Dog”.
Koton was a real police K-9 dog that was used by the Kansas City (MO) police department paired up with Officer Patterson. Koton was responsible for over 24 felony arrests during his career as a K-9 officer. In October 1991, Koton found 10 kilos of cocaine worth an estimated $1.2 million. Unfortunately, less than a month later (Nov 18, 1991) Koton was shot and killed while attempting to apprehend a suspect in the murder of a police officer.
German shepherds are the most common dog used in police work where malinois are not used exclusively in the USA and many other countries in the world. Both breeds are very intelligent, able to think on their own, assess situations, as well as having the stamina, speed, and strength that is required of the job. Normally the choice between the two breeds comes down to department preference, availability, and temperament (malinois traditionally have a much higher drive than shepherds).
Arthur Betz and Robert Zides are credited for being the dog handlers for the movie’s production. Karl Lewis Miller is credited for “animal action” (?) and Teresa Ann Miller and R. Ruddell Weatherwax were the dog trainers on the set. Mark Mooring was the “technical adviser” for the K-9.