Fact Check

Pic Shows German Police Dogs Staying 'Calm in Front of a Cat for their Final Exam'?

The black-and-white cat was reportedly named "Minstrel."

Published March 28, 2024

Image courtesy of Screengrab/X
A 1987 photo shows "german police dogs" who “had to stay calm in front of a cat for their final exam.”
What's True

The photograph appears to be genuine — i.e., not fake or digitally enhanced.

What's False

It was taken in England, not in Germany, as suggested.

What's Undetermined

It was unclear whether the cat was part of a "final exam" or just wandered into the shot.

A black-and-white photograph shared to X (formerly Twitter) on Dec. 23, 2023, claimed to show a group of "german police dogs" in 1987 that were made to "stay calm in front of a cat for their final exam." The text also hinted that the photo was taken in Germany.

At the time of this publication, one such post had received more than 10.2 million views: 


Though the photograph appears to be genuine — i.e., not digitally created or enhanced — it was taken in England, not Germany. Furthermore, Snopes found no record to corroborate the claim that the walking cat was indeed the dogs' "final exam." We therefore rate this claim as having a mixture of truth/falsehoods.

To confirm the details of this photograph, Snopes contacted the National Archives in the United Kingdom and the Metropolitan Police. Neither institution was able to confirm the details of the photograph, including whether the walking cat was the final exam or just wandered into the shot. 

Here's what we do know: A reverse-image search using Google Lens (archive) returned a photograph hosted by the stock image website Shutterstock with a caption describing the photograph as having been taken in June 1987 at the Metropolitan Police Dog Championship Training Centre in Kent, a county in Southeast England. The cat reportedly was named "Minstrel." 

Next, Snopes conducted a Google search (archive) using the keywords "METROPOLITAN POLICE DOG CHAMPIONSHIP, TRAINING CENTRE KENT - 18 JUN 1987" and found the same image hosted by the British stock photo agency Alamy, which also identified the cat as Minstrel, and said it reportedly lived at the training facility.  

Snopes has looked into other online claims about working dogs, including whether photographs genuinely showed dozens of bomb-sniffing dogs killed by a security company in Kuwait, and if the United States abandoned dozens of military working dogs in Kabul, Afghanistan, when the U.S. withdrew troops.


"Cat Alsatians Editorial Stock Photo - Stock Image." Shutterstock Editorial, https://www.shutterstock.com/editorial/image-editorial/cat-alsatians-135500b. Accessed 25 Mar. 2024.

Google Lens. https://lens.google.com/search?p=AbrfA8ofUGSqvnR5NQFymAi3aNFkkpnIcrEx94EIazoGz2tr1HFBHykSiLjWxyJ2rquEuQDXvJB94ECtStWv4p7Fu32tjQZsyCkxVkpt2EHQQbCfvvTmf-Lg3f9trsLpxnOBLetn_ygWUzQbrRidvFovfYmmpPswWVO1WcAqBvM_X4ntUv9php8iYoR7hjM0A25kIV06uI4v1Lle45D1wKO1XslcLwGl5kwBv2eQmMeazwZUUI1oEscOQ2QgFm6-s-LECeSLHy8Y6g%3D%3D#lns=W251bGwsbnVsbCxudWxsLG51bGwsbnVsbCxudWxsLG51bGwsIkVrY0tKR1ZpWm1aaU9HRTRMVE0yT1dJdE5ETmxNaTFoTkROaExXUTJOVFk0WWpFNFpUSmtNaElmVVhwRGJFdHBSR3RJWkRSalZVTm1hVWxtYTFwaVJFTmtVVkExTURWNFp3PT0iXQ==. Accessed 25 Mar. 2024.

"Https://Twitter.Com/PicturesFoIder/Status/1738278384684446147." X (Formerly Twitter), https://twitter.com/PicturesFoIder/status/1738278384684446147. Accessed 25 Mar. 2024.

"Https://Twitter.Com/PlentyOfClarity/Status/1738402234545971239." X (Formerly Twitter), https://twitter.com/PlentyOfClarity/status/1738402234545971239. Accessed 25 Mar. 2024.

Limited, Alamy. Minstrel the Cat Who Lives at the Metropolitan Police Dog Training Centre at Keston in Kent Stock Photo - Alamy. https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-minstrel-the-cat-who-lives-at-the-metropolitan-police-dog-training-20086889.html. Accessed 25 Mar. 2024.

METROPOLITAN POLICE DOG CHAMPIONSHIP, TRAINING CENTRE KENT - 18 JUN 1987 - Google Search. https://www.google.com/search?sca_esv=f25fd1d09a6b1709&q=METROPOLITAN+POLICE+DOG+CHAMPIONSHIP,+TRAINING+CENTRE+KENT+-+18+JUN+1987&uds=AMwkrPu0_dNyZHPwwJuocuJvJ2saJrIJsJcunlwH0kxxPa43F6SFbEYE3ROi3JyBh2ZUEAmY2zI3oukL_buO8vumok8zBCtC4l91utHP-Sg2ODUeotScM3SDgaXTK5PbYZt7Mbhk_f7paYBpSBKi_LDNPBrDk7SG2EySCylsF4-i6VggwCArIminX3uSOpaRVUPoq4LteFrkoCTNaf8iL4WY8DPBgM4Esjc63yMev2tI1Ou1hGoewPtw0yid6iI7eOrzFSiEePqVmUmbslFbXHvCnTtP2pH0Xjb1kyW3QVwf80xzxoyTss6flsCEA4dbWvQKd8gKFmTv7rJ0PYFnPPAcdyKO2xzThLPemg08m2cj7C1jBMQODzlhR3gPZYBgNdF7FM-ykdhU&prmd=ivnsmbtz&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi-0NTLopCFAxVvDjQIHfRYCicQtKgLegQIDBAB&biw=1190&bih=823&dpr=1.8&tbm=isch. Accessed 25 Mar. 2024.

Madison Dapcevich is a freelance contributor for Snopes.