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-Conference aims to examine possible solutions to the shortage of detection dogs-

The American Kennel Club will host the 2019 AKC U.S. Detection Dog Conference Tuesday, August 27th – Thursday, August 29th, 2019 in Durham, NC to explore solutions to the shortage of domestic dogs for explosives detection in the United States. The Conference will bring together stakeholders in this national security issue including: Breeders, Trainers, Government, Law Enforcement, Academia, vendors, businesses, and more.

The American Kennel Club formed a task force four years ago to explore how the AKC and American breeders might help with the increasing demand for qualified dogs to perform this important task and enhance national security. With incidents of homegrown terrorism and mass shootings on the rise, explosives detection is a growing need for government agencies and private businesses. Dogs have amazing scenting capabilities and are the best explosives detectors. The United States has relied on Europe for most of its working dogs and is now facing a shortage of dogs for detection work, due to increased overseas demand.

“Dogs are an integral part of several aspects of security, and the demand for explosives detection dogs is on the rise,” says Dr. Carmen Battaglia, Chairman of the AKC Detection Dog Task Force. “As the largest dog registry in the country, and an advocate for breeding for type and function, we want to use our expertise and resources to collaborate, raise awareness and educate breeders with the goal of finding practical solutions to this shortage.”

The conference will cover a range of topics that include genetics, scentwork, breeder education, public policy, the current scope of dog detection, etc., and will include detection dog demonstrations by the USDA National Detection Dog Training Center and the AKC Patriotic Puppy Program.


  • Dr. Carmen Battaglia, AKC Detection Dog Task Force Chairman
  • Gregory S. Berns, MD PhD, Distinguished Professor of Neuroeconomics and Psychology at Emory University & Mark Spivak, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Dog Star Technologies, LLC, Founder and CEO of Comprehensive Pet Therapy, Inc.
  • Dr. Robert Gillette, Manager of the website, Veterinarian, and President of RMG Enterprises, Inc.
  • Sheila Goffe, Vice President, AKC Government Relations
  • Kevin Good, Senior Research Scientist, Battelle
  • Dr. Nathaniel J. Hall, PhD, Texas Tech University, Assistant Professor of Companion Animal Science, Canine Olfaction Lab, Department of Animal and Food Sciences
  • Pamela Haney, Auburn University Canine Performance Sciences Program
  • Dr.  Eileen Jenkins, DVM MS DACVIM, U.S. Army
  • Dr. Elinor Karlsson, Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Director of Vertebrate Genomics at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
  • Dr. Lucia Lazarowski, Auburn University Canine Performance Sciences Program
  • Forrest McConnell, Senior Counsel for U.S. House of Representatives, Homeland Security Committee
  • Dr. Cindy Otto, DVM PhD DACVEC DACVSMR CCRT, Professor of Working Dog Sciences and Sports Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine, & Executive Director, Penn Vet Working Dog Center
  • Dr. Erin Perry, Associate Professor, Southern Illinois University
  • Chris Shelton, Branch Manager, TSA Canine Training Center
  • Christopher L. Sweetwood, AKC Detection Dog Task Force Vice Chairman & AKC Board Director

Panel discussion on the procurement of detection dogs by:

  • Tim Baird, VWK9
  • Mike Dougherty, American K-9 Interdiction
  • Heather Henderson, Arete Canine

Photo and video opportunities available for the Detector Dog Demonstrations:

  • Wednesday, August 28th 9:25-10:00 am: Demonstration by Monica Errico & Jennifer Anderson, USDA National Detection Dog Training Center
  • Thursday, August 29th 9:00-9:45 am: Demonstration by AKC Patriotic Puppy Program

The 2019 AKC Detection Dog Conference is sponsored by PetPartners Pet Insurance.

For more speaker or conference information, visit: or email

Penny Leigh                                                        Brandi Hunter                           
919-816-3749                                                    212-696-8220