December 09, 1985 12:00 PM

He hasn’t got Eddie Murphy’s feline grace. Sometimes his breath isn’t so great, and he’s not much help driving the patrol car. But his partner, officer Jay Broyles, 34, wouldn’t have him any other way. He’s Boss, the top canine cop in the exclusive Beverly Hills Police Department, and the 7-year-old German shepherd has a heart of gold and medals to match.

Boss picked up his most recent gold medal at this year’s Police and Fire World Olympics for Canines, held in San Jose, where he beat out more than 40 of his pawed peers in competitions like responding to voice and hand signals and negotiating an obstacle course. He already has a litter of golds and silvers from other contests Broyles has entered him in over the years. Indeed, Boss has a taste for gold even when he’s not competing. He chipped a front tooth when he was a pup, which left him with a gold cap, yielding a flashy West Coast grin.

Boss’s dogged heroics have given his partner reason to smile also. The Beverly Hills K-9 Unit is trained to chase subjects and hold them at bay. A few years ago, Broyles claims, Boss saved his life by doing just that. The 70-pound dog latched onto the arm of a thief who had been firing a 357 Magnum at Broyles and forced the criminal to drop his gun. “It’s much safer when you round a corner during a chase and your dog is ahead of you,” says Broyles.

When Boss isn’t chasing crooks or winning trials, he lives with Broyles and his family in nearby Simi Valley. Jay and his wife, Donna, have two children, Jason, 8, and Melissa, 6, and another dog, Brandy, who is half German shepherd and half coyote. “Brandy is the kids’ pet,” explains Broyles. “They love Boss but they know he’s Dad’s working dog. He’s our friend but not our pet.” Not yet anyway. In two years or so, when Boss trades in his badge for a simple civilian dog tag, Broyles expects his partner to stay with the family. Then, no doubt, he’ll doze away his dog-day afternoons dreaming of collaring cat burglars.

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