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The American Kennel Club’s newest sport, AKC Scent Work, launched Oct. 1, 2017, but it kicked off in September with the first AKC Scent Work trial.

The sport mimics the work of detection dogs to locate a scent and alert the handler when they find the odor. Dogs compete and earn titles in five divisions: Container, Interior, Exterior, Buried and Handler Discrimination.

The first AKC event was held in conjunction with the Eukanuba Performance Games in Wilmington, Ohio. Ninety-seven dogs representing 20 states and Canada competed. Three All-American Dogs became the first Canine Partners members to earn Scent Work titles on Sept. 16.

Congratulations to Brenneman’s Casey & Julie Brenneman; Lilly – A Welsh Sheepdog & Clare Miller; and Bordertown Wings to Fly & Mary Green.

Read on to meet these talented scent sleuths:

Brenneman’s Casey SCN SIN SEN SBN SHDN CGC owned by Julia Brenneman of Kalamazoo, Mich.
Casey earned all five of the AKC Scent Work novice-level titles at the Eukanuba Games. The rescue dog came into Julia’s life nearly eight years ago at the Humane Society of South Central.

“When we first met at 8 weeks, she came up to me front on and sat, so much as to say ‘What are we going to do now?’ “Julia said.

As a puppy, she started obedience classes and then moved into agility and competed in that sport for six years. “We gained a good foundation in team communication. I am convinced those years helped us to enjoy scent work,” Julia said.

Before AKC launched Scent Work, Casey and Julia competed in other scent work venues, winning numerous titles with high scores.

“In September 2017, we achieved a great feat! Our training group saw Eukanuba advertise the world’s first AKC Scent Work trials. We all said ‘YES!’ Four from our group went to compete, and we all came home with titles,” Julia said. “In four days of trialing each element each day, Casey earned five titles plus an extra leg here and there. She was eligible for High in Trial one of those days.”

A key to success in Scent Work is trusting your dog, Julia said.

“All the practice we do with different dogs around and a plethora of surroundings, I’ve learned her alert signals and have trusted that she knows where ‘it’ is. She does have the nose and what a nose it is!”


Lilly – A Welsh Sheepdog SBN SCN SEN SIN owned by Clare Miller of Tulsa, Okla. 
Lilly, a 9-year-old Welsh Sheepdog, earned four AKC Scent Work novice-level titles at the Eukanuba Games – Scent Work Buried Novice, Scent Work Container Novice, Scent Work Exterior Novice and Scent Work Interior Novice. She also is the first dog of any breed in Oklahoma to earn an AKC Scent Work title.

Welsh Sheepdogs are not yet an AKC-recognized breed so Lilly competes in AKC events through the Canine Partners program. Most Welsh Sheepdogs live on farms in Wales, where they herd sheep and cattle, and Lilly’s parents were from Wales.

Before Lilly started competing in Scent Work, she participated in freestyle, agility and flyball. She is also a member of Dog Scouts of America and has earned numerous merit badges.

“Several years ago, I read an article about a new dog sport started by a group in California.  It sounded like something I would enjoy,” Clare said. “After Lilly injured her back and could no longer run agility or flyball, we started scent work training and soon started competing.”

Lilly attained one of the highest levels in another venue in spring 2017.  “Around the same time, we learned AKC would be holding scent work trials. We were fortunate to attend the first AKC scent work trial. It was a great experience.”

“This sport is very good for anyone, especially people and dogs who may not be able to compete in other dog sports,” Clare said. “Any age person and dog can do well.”


Bordertown Wings to Fly SCN SEN SBN owned by Mary Green of Broken Arrow, Okla.
Windy earned three novice-level titles at the premier of the Eukanuba Performance Games.

“I’m so proud of this little rescued girl. She is a fantastic training partner who loves the scent work games,” Mary said. “We cannot wait to enter more trials.”

Mary has been involved in the sport since 2010 when she first saw a demonstration. It was not long before she became a certified nose work instructor and began teaching others.

“Windy is my first dog to compete in the sport. My previous scent work dog sadly passed away before she could compete. I began scent work with Windy since she was such a fearful girl,” Mary said. “This gave her some much-needed confidence in her life. I look forward to many more titles with Windy.”

Mary also is an AKC Scent Work judge.


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