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AKC Detection Dog Task Force

AKC Detection Dog Task Force

Homegrown terrorism and mass shootings have sadly become everyday news in the United States. As a result, the demand for explosives detection dogs as a deterrent against such crimes is on the increase with one major problem: there are not enough dogs to meet the growing need.

The US Government purchases 80 to 90% its working dogs from Europe, but there are fewer dogs available from overseas as those countries face their own rising terrorism threats.

The AKC Board of Directors established the AKC Detection Dog Task Force in 2016 to help with this national security issue. The Task Force has interviewed key stakeholders involved in explosives detection including people from academia, government, military, policing, training and breeding. Subsequently, the AKC has launched several initiatives focused on Government Relations, Networking/Education and Breeder Outreach.

*New Resources* September 23, 2021 –

AKC Patriotic Puppy Handout – GSP – 8 1/2 x 11 flyer

AKC Patriotic Puppy Handout – Labrador – Postcard

September 8, 2021 – Questions & Answers: 3 – 6 Month Puppies, Getting Started Right for Detection Work

August 31, 2021 – AKC DDTF Webinar Series – Webinar Highlights Essential Qualities at 3 – 6 Months for Future Detection Dogs (Blog & click link to view recording)

August 2021New Video Highlights AKC Detection Dog Task Force, Patriotic Puppy Program Work to Address Detection Dog Shortage

July 2021 – AKC DDTF Webinar Series – Webinar Highlights Program Changes That Could Positively Impact Detection Dog Shortage (Blog & click link to view recording)

July 2021 – USPCA: American Kennel Club Is Working to Remedy Shortage of Quality US-bred Detection K-9s



April 2021 – Research and Analysis of the American Domestic Government Working Dog Industry

March 2021 – Working dogs: Domestic shortage of key frontline defense against terrorism

March 2021 – Exploring Issues, Challenges and Recommendations for Improving Government Acquisition of US-Bred Working Dogs

March 2021 – Demand Is Soaring for US-Bred Working Dogs, So Why Can’t We Supply More?

Department of Homeland Security/Transportation Security Administration – Explosives Detection Canine Recommended Standards – March 20, 2020

Here’s How the AKC Detection Dog Task Force Is Helping to Address the Shortage of US Bred and Trained Explosives Detection Dogs (Video)

Click here to find a downloadable version of the AKC Detection Dog Task Force informational tri-fold brochure.

Here’s How the AKC Dog Detection Task Force Is Helping to Improve Our National Security at the Borders

Government Relations – There are many obstacles that stand in the way of U.S. breeders being able to easily sell dogs to the government for detection work, including low market price for top working and field line puppies and complicated government vendor contracts that make it difficult for individual breeders. The AKC Government Relations team, led by Vice President Sheila Goffe, has made strides in bringing these issues to the attention of lawmakers.

AKC Government Relations provided recommendations in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2810) to support using and developing additional sources for high quality domestically-bred working dogs. HR 2810 also requires the Department of Defense to provide reports on specific aspects of military working dog evaluation, procurement and breeding programs.  This includes comparative costs of foreign versus domestically-bred dogs, availability of domestically-bred dogs, and non-classified requirements for “green” (minimally-trained) dogs.

Goffe also was invited to testify on the issue before a Senate committee in October 2017, where she expressed the dire need for these dogs to protect the country.

Networking/Education – The first AKC US Detection Dog Conference took place in early 2017 to start a conversation about increasing the domestic supply of detection candidates. The stakeholders and speakers included members of government, academia and private training/breeding facilities.

Breeder Outreach – AKC works with thousands of breeders around the country, but most are unaware of the detection dog shortage. The AKC Feasibility Study committee is taking steps to communicate the need to breeders through presentations to kennel clubs and parent clubs and articles in AKC newsletters and magazines.