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In the first-ever AKC/USPCA K9 Detection Dog Challenge, 20 police dogs from across the nation will showcase the important role dogs play in keeping our country safe.

The inaugural event will be broadcast on ESPN2 Sunday, Nov. 28 at 10 p.m. E.T. Check your local provider for your channel. If you have a cable log-in, you can also watch on the ESPN app or website.

“We are thrilled to host this exciting event with the USPCA,” said AKC Executive Secretary Gina DiNardo. “It’s amazing to see these dogs in action and show viewers their training and precision. We can’t wait to share it with the ESPN2 audience.”

Ten teams of United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) narcotics dogs and 10 teams of USPCA explosives dogs will be in attendance, with breeds ranging from the Belgian Malinois to German Shorthaired Pointer to Weimaraner. The dogs compete against one another to each find their illegal substance the quickest.

Teams navigate obstacles and sort through distractions to find the hidden items. They are scored on the accuracy of their search, the perfection of their alert (telling the handler where the hide is), and the find itself (a combination of the ability of the dog and the handler to accurately tell judges where the hide is located).

How Dogs Detect

If you own a dog, you know that canines have an amazing sense of smell. In fact, they have 225 million scent receptors in their noses (compared to a human’s 5 million). Luckily, we have learned to use this to our advantage and harness dogs’ talents to fight crime. Detection dogs can be taught to detect many different drugs, explosives, accelerants, and even bodies.

You’ve probably seen a detection dog at the airport or at large events. Many years of training go into quality police dogs.

Popular police dog breeds include the Belgian Malinois, German Shepherd Dogs, Bloodhounds, Dutch Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers.

Learn more about the different ways dogs assist police, and how you can unleash your own dog’s sense of smell.