Legislative Action Center

Webinar Highlights Program Changes That Could Positively Impact Detection Dog Shortage
July 16, 2021 by AKC Government Relations

A webinar hosted by the AKC Detection Dog Task Force (DTTF) on Wednesday, July 14th highlighted two recent program changes that have the potential to make a significant, positive impact on causes of the shortage of high-quality U.S. bred and raised detection dogs. 

The AKC DDTF works to study and create solutions to address the shortage of high-quality explosive detection dogs that are crucial to protecting U.S. public and national security from terrorist threats. 

The webinar featured panelists Christopher Sweetwood, Ambassador for AKC Reunite’s Updated Adopt a K-9 Cop Program; and Don Slavik, Executive Director of the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) discussing recent changes in their respective programs.  

Sweetwood, who is also co-chairman of the DDTF and a member of the AKC Board, spoke about changes to AKC Reunite’s Adopt a K-9 Cop program that provide an increased (3:1) level of matching funds for police departments seeking a law enforcement dog. 

The  AKC Reunite’s Adopt a K-9 Cop program partners with AKC clubs to assist local police departments in acquiring police K-9s. Many law enforcement agencies do not have funds in their budget to obtain police K-9s, as they are considered a specialty unit. The donations allow the police departments to obtain a new K-9 for help with search and rescue, bomb detection, and overall public safety. Changes in the Adopt a K-9 Cop program now also allow contributions from the public to help cover the club’s portion of the grant. Participating  police departments can receive grants of up to $7,500.  Click here for a downloadable flyer.

The increased grants not only help individual police departments, but also provide a level of funding that takes into consideration the realistic cost for U.S. breeders to raise and train a dog to the point where it’s ready for advanced training. Better funding also creates an incentive for more U.S. breeders & puppy raisers to produce high quality dogs ready for a successful career as a detection dog. 

In the second half of the webinar, Don Slavik introduced the U.S. Police Canine Association (USPCA), the  newest member of the AKC extended family. The USPCA is the nation’s oldest and largest Police K-9 Association, devoted to educating, training and certifying police K9s regionally and nationally. 

As the use of working dogs comes under increasing attack, proper training and certification is more important than ever to protect both the public and the credibility of highly-trained law enforcement canines.  Slavik  spoke about  the broad range of work performed by law enforcement canines, the types of dogs sought by law enforcement, the importance of environmental and temperamental stability, and factors crucial for quality K-9 work.   

 To view the webinar and learn more: 







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