Mission Statement: The American Kennel Club, the oldest and largest dog registry in the country, will provide assistance to the US Government and AKC breeders to improve the domestic supply of dogs for explosive detection training by raising the awareness of obstacles, exploring multiple solutions, educating key stake holders, and fostering collaboration for continuous improvement.
Issue: With incidents of homegrown terrorism and mass shootings on the rise, explosives detection is a growing need for government agencies and private businesses. Dogs have amazing scenting capabilities and are the best explosives detectors. The United States has relied on Europe for most its working dogs and now is facing a shortage of dogs for detection work, due to overseas demand for detection dogs. The AKC has formed a task force to examine how it can assist with this national security issue.
AKC Detection Dog Task Force Initiatives
Government Regulation Revisions – The AKC Government Relations team is working to make it easier and more advantageous for domestic breeders to sell to the government. The AKC was instrumental in submitting key language to HR 2810, which will require the Department of Defense to provide regular reporting on questions related to the sourcing of military working dogs, including the number of dogs purchased from domestic vs. non-domestic breeders, the costs associated with each, information on the difference in accounting for domestic vs. European dog purchases; and how they determine which dogs to get.
Breeder Outreach – Most breeders are unaware that there is a need for dogs to be trained for explosives detection work. The most in-demand breeds for public detection work are sporting dogs, including Labrador Retrievers, German Shorthaired Pointers, German Wirehaired Pointers, and Vizslas. The AKC is conducting outreach to breeders through articles, meetings and presentations to kennel clubs and national parent clubs.
Raising Awareness and Bringing Stakeholders Together – The AKC has met with many stakeholders in the detection dog field, including TSA and Department of Defense officials, university scientists who are working to improve the dogs and their performances, and private businesses that train and sell the dogs and provide security services through handler-dog teams. AKC hosted its first US Detection Dog Conference in 2017, with the goal being to stimulate discussions among key players on how to solve this national security crisis.
How to get involved: If you are a breeder or owner of the needed breeds, spread the word. Let your clubs know about this issue. For more information, contact Melissa Ferrell at Melissa.Ferrell@akc.org or call 919-816-3577.