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AKC Patriotic Puppy Program

AKC Patriotic Puppy Program

The AKC Detection Dog Task Force has launched its AKC Patriotic Puppy Program – an opportunity for breeders and owners to work closely with experts on raising candidates for explosives detection work.

The United States has a serious shortage of qualified dogs to perform the much-needed role of explosives detection dogs. As the number of terrorist incidents increase, so does the demand for these talented dogs to protect our country.

Two of the most sought-out breeds are Labrador Retrievers and German Shorthaired Pointers (GSP). Both are known for reliable temperaments in public settings, high energy, and strong hunting drive.

The AKC is looking for breeders and owners of Labs and GSPs to participate in the pilot program. Additional breeds will participate in the future.

puppy detectionApply Here – Application Form for the Patriotic Puppy Program

Click here to learn more about what to expect if you apply for AKC’s Patriotic Puppy Program – Program Overview – Sept. 2023 (downloadable & printable)

AKC Patriotic Puppy Handout – GSP – one pager (download/print)

AKC Patriotic Puppy Handout – Labrador – Postcard (download/print)

March 2023Patriotic Puppy Program … A Look Back at 2023

December 2023 Different Roads Can Lead to Success: How One Litter Is Taking Many Different Paths to Certification

December 2023AKC Takes Patriotic Puppy Program to The West Coast

October 2023AKC Detection Dog Task Force Hosts Webinar: “Ways to Improve Training Efficiency” (Blog and link to recording)

October 2023 – New Video Highlights Programs to ‘Educate and Empower’ Detection Dog Breeders

October 2023AKC Patriotic Puppy Program Participants Deliver Big at K2 Hands-On Seminar

June 2023 – Medical Requirements for Green Detector Dogs: What you Need to Know

March 2023– AKC Patriotic Puppy Program Continues to Grow

December 2022 – The AKC Patriotic Puppy Program: The Patriotic Breeder

August 2022 – AKC Patriotic Puppy Program Builds Confidence With New Course

June 2022 – AKC DDTF Webinar Series – Now Available Online: Latest Detection Dog Webinar: 9 – 12 Month Puppies, Getting Started Right For Detection Work (Blog & click link to view recording)

March 2022 – Detection Dog Task Force Launches The Confident Puppy e-Learning Course (Blog & click link to view recording)

January 19, 2022 – AKC DDTF Webinar Series – Industry Experts Discuss Key Factors in Raising 6-9 Month Puppies for Detection (Blog & click link to view recording)

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

AKC Patriotic Puppy Program (PPP) Introduces New Manager, Phase Two Plans – Oct. 2020

Webinar Introduces New Manager, New Direction for AKC Patriotic Puppy Program – Nov. 2020

The puppies should be derived from field-trial lines as these dogs have shown the most aptitude and energy for performing the demanding tasks required of bomb dogs. The parents should have proof of all health clearances required for the breed, including hips and elbows.

Ideally, the AKC would like to work with breeders who are expecting a litter and are willing to retain a promising puppy through 12 – 15 months of age. But puppies up to 4 months of age will be considered as candidates. For a period of time, approximately one year, the breeder will work closely with a subject matter expert.

Participation in the pilot puppy rearing program does not guarantee sale of the dog at completion; however, AKC will advise and assist in connecting participants with agencies interested in locating potential explosives odor detection canines.
lab puppy detection

This is a great opportunity for breeders to receive valuable instruction on the early training of working dogs, as well as help their country with this national security issue.

There is no charge to participate in the pilot puppy rearing program, but breeders and owners are responsible for all expenses related to the care of the puppy.

At this time, we are limiting participation to individuals meeting the following criteria:

  • Breeders planning a litter with the intention of holding back a pup or puppies to be dedicated to this program for one year.
  • Trainers planning the purchase of a puppy (8-12 weeks) that will be dedicated to this program through 12 – 15 months of age.
  • Priority will be for the two targeted breeds. Breeds not used traditionally in detection roles will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Participation requires weekly reporting, quarterly video testing, and a DNA sample.
  • No dogs will be accepted into the program if the dogs’ parents have not been screened for  established health conditions that could impact that dogs’ success as a detection dog.

Click here to learn more about what to expect if you apply for AKC’s Patriotic Puppy Program – Program Overview – Sept. 2023 (downloadable & printable)

To apply for the program, owners and breeders should complete this application.

All applicants should review the AKC Care and Conditions Policy.

Stay tuned to this webpage for more information on the program and the participants.

Questions may be directed to