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The American Kennel Club (AKC®) is pleased to announce that it is honoring dogs that work for government agencies and keep our communities safe by awarding the title of Public Service Dog. To be awarded a title, a dog must have worked for a minimum of two years and received a minimum of two certifications in its discipline from the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA). The AKC offers three titles to help identify the accomplishments of these outstanding dogs that excel in three areas:

  • Public Service Detection Dog (PSDD) – A detection dog is trained to locate and alert to a substance which may be illegal or unauthorized to possess. Examples include illegal narcotics, explosives, cadaver work, accelerant detection, game detection and contraband detection which is unauthorized to possess within a correctional facility, jail, or prison.
  • Patrol Dog (PSPD) – A patrol dog is trained in criminal apprehension, human scent detection, obedience, and evidence detection.
  • Tracking Dog (PSTD) – A tracking dog is trained to detect and follow the scent of a specific person and/or locating evidence on that track and to discriminate from a cross-track (separate person).

“Public Service Dogs utilize the instincts, drive and temperament that have been bred into these purpose-bred dogs for generations,” said Doug Ljungren, Executive Vice-President for Sports & Events. “They are highly trained, cherished by their units, and are an effective means for keeping our communities safe.”

“Police K-9 Officers are an extremely important and valuable part of law enforcement in the country,” said Christopher Sweetwood, Ambassador for AKC Reunite’s Adopt a K-9 Cop Matching Grant Program and member of the AKC Board of Directors. “The AKC is proud to recognize the service provided by these amazing canine officers.”

The AKC has an on-going relationship with the USPCA, the largest Police Canine certification organization in the United States.

For more information about the AKC Public Service Dog titling program, please see