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AKC Detection Dog Task Force

AKC Patriotic Puppy Program

gsp puppy detection
gsp puppy in field pilot detection
AKC Patriotic Puppy Program Logo

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. 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 detection

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 until it is about a year old. But puppies up to 4 months of age will be considered as candidates.

For a period of time, running approximately 8 months to a year, the breeder will work closely with AKC Contractor and Subject Matter Expert Scott Thomas, former breeding program manager of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and longtime dog trainer.

Thomas will use livestream and online course materials to work directly with participants on the training and socialization of the puppy. Participants will submit videos for assessment, so feedback may be given on the puppies’ progress. More information on Thomas’ work with puppies can be found at

At the course’s completion, 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 for one year.
  • 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.

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

Interested owners of other breeds may be eligible for the adjunct breed program that offers an educational opportunity through access to course materials. To apply for the adjunct breeds program, please 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