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AKC Scent Work

Virtual Scent Work Test (VSWT)

Starting on August 2, 2021 a new Virtual Scent Work Test (VSWT) pilot program will be offered.  The VSWT GUIDELINES provide all the details about this new test.


What is VSWT?

The Virtual Scent Work Test (VSWT) provides dogs and owners a way to engage in an activity which utilizes a dog’s natural ability to detect search items from the comfort of a home environment. This test is a basic way for owners to bond with their dog or to help get started in Scent Work. Teams can work incrementally at their own pace while developing skills and confidence. When a team is ready, they can demonstrate basic competency in locating an item based on scent by taking the VSWT.

Can my dog earn a title?

Yes! The VSWT consists of three levels – Beginner (VSWB), Intermediate (VSWI) and Experienced (VSWE). Each level has its own set of testing criteria and titles must be earned in order. It takes two passes to earn a title at each level.

What does my dog have to do?

The VSWT requires dogs to prove basic Scent Work skills. The testing criteria allows owners to utilize their home surroundings to conduct timed searches in areas such as a living room, a bedroom or outside in the backyard. Common items such as a ball, dog toy, or treat are used as target articles. As an example, for the Beginner level, the dog must find one item (choice of ball, toy or treat) inside the home at ground level up within 1.5 minutes in one search area. Each test level is a little more challenging.

Beginner (VSWB)

Intermediate (VSWI)

Experienced (VSWE)

How is this program virtual?

Each test conducted must be captured on video so that it can be submitted to AKC for review by an AKC approved Scent Work judge. For the judge to properly evaluate a dog’s test, the video must meet certain requirements. Video requirements are detailed in the VSWT Guidelines

What dogs are eligible?

This pilot program welcomes any dog which is at least four months of age and is registered according to the following types – individually registered with the AKC, recorded in the Foundation Stock Service (FSS) program, listed with a Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) number, or enrolled in the AKC Canine Partners program. If owners do not have their dog registered according to either of these types, they can visit Register Your Dog webpage for more information and to learn how to obtain eligibility.

How do I enter a Virtual Scent Work Test?

After a VSWT has been conducted according to the VSWT Guidelines, a Virtual Scent Work Test Entry Form should be completed and sent to:  scentwork@akc.org . The entry fee is $25 and is non-refundable. The email must also contain a video link or file of the test so it can be reviewed by a Scent Work judge.

What if I have questions?

Contact the AKC Scent Work Department at 919-816-3844 or scentwork@akc.org