Sadly, homegrown terrorism and mass shootings become everyday news in the United States. As a result, the demand for explosives detection dogs to protect against such crimes is on the increase with one major problem: there are not enough dogs to meet the growing need.
Approximately 80 to 90% of the explosives detection dogs in the U.S. — whether they work in law enforcement, private security, or government– are sourced from overseas. Sourcing for this crucial national security resource is not secure, because other countries also face their own terrorism threats, pandemics, or geopolitical disturbances that reduce the number of dogs available. Increasingly, the U.S. must rely on high-quality, American-bred, -raised and -trained dogs to protect our national and public security.
The AKC Detection Dog Task Force (DDTF) was established in 2016 to help address this issue and encourage the breeding and development of homegrown hero dogs that can achieve the rigorous standards necessary to be an explosives detection dog. The DDTF works with experts from academia, government/public policy, military, policing, training and breeding to create multi-pronged solutions to help address the shortage of U.S. detection dogs.
The AKC has launched initiatives in Public Policy/Government Relations, Networking/Raising Awareness, and Breeder/Puppy Raiser Education to advance these goals.
We invite you to learn more about these programs and ways you can participate through advocacy, education, or even raising a future detection dog hero from your own breeding program!
Breeder/Puppy Raiser Education:
The Patriotic Puppy Program is a specialized pilot program that provides one-on-one assistance to breeders/puppy raisers of Labrador Retrievers and German Shorthaired Pointers interested in learning how to raise a puppy suitable for sale/placement in advanced training as a detection dog. Successful, committed applicants work for up to a year with a top detection dog trainer to develop their skills. Learn more about what to expect in the Patriotic Puppy Program.
Coming Soon! The AKC Canine College Confident Puppy e-learning course, open to all, teaches the secrets of raising a confident puppy that can excel in a range of areas and is potentially suitable for advanced training as a working dog.
Public Policy/Government Relations:
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, through congressional testimony, advocacy and legislation. Learn more.
Networking/ Raising Awareness:
AKC National Detection Dog Conference – The first AKC US Detection Dog Conference took place in 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. Every year since then, the conference has grown in scope and reputation. The fourth annual conference is scheduled for Aug. 25-27, 2020, in Durham, NC.
Share AKC Detection Dog Task Force informational tri-fold brochure to help educate about the issues.