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German Shorthaired Pointer on point in a field.


The AKC Detection Dog Task Force has launched its Pilot Detection Puppy Rearing Program – an opportunity for breeders and owners to work closely with experts on raising dogs that will have the potential to be trained 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 violent and terrorist acts increase, so does the demand for these elite dogs to protect our country.

Which Dog Breeds Are Sought?

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. More breeds may be added in the future.

The puppies should be derived ideally from field-trial lines as these dogs have shown the most aptitude and energy for performing the demanding tasks required of explosives odor detection 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.

How Long is The Program?

For a period running approximately 8 months to a year, the breeder will work closely with AKC Contractor and Subject Matter Expert Scott Thomas. Thomas is a 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 be asked to submit videos for Thomas’ review. At the course’s completion, AKC will assist in providing resources for the breeders to sell or donate the dog to agencies seeking explosives or other types of detection dogs.

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. A maximum of 10 participants will be accepted for the pilot program.

To apply, contact