Legislative Action Center

Detection Dogs
Action Alert

Homegrown terrorism and mass shootings have sadly become everyday news in the United States. As a result, the demand for explosives detection dogs as a deterrent against such crimes is on the increase with one major problem: there are not enough dogs to meet the growing need.

Approximately 80 to 90% of the explosives detection dogs in the U.S. --whether they work in law enforcement, private security, or government-- are sourced from overseas. Sourcing for this crucial national security resource is not secure, because other countries also face their own terrorism threats, pandemics, or geopolitical disturbances that reduce the number of dogs available for U.S. national security and public safety. Increasingly, the U.S. must rely on high-quality, American-bred, -raised and -trained dogs to protect our national and public security.

The AKC Detection Dog Task Force (DDTF) was established in 2016 to help address this issue and encourage the breeding and development of homegrown hero dogs that can achieve the rigorous standards necessary to be an explosives detection dog. The AKC Detection Dog Task Force works with experts from academia, government/ public policy, military, policing, training and breeding to create multi-pronged solutions to help address the shortage of U.S. detection dogs.

The AKC has launched initiatives in Public Policy/Government Relations, Networking/ Raising Awareness, and Breeder/Puppy Raiser Education to advance these goals. 

We invite you to learn more about these programs and ways you can participate through advocacy, education, or even raising a future detection dog hero from your own breeding program! 

October 2023 - NEW Video - New Video Highlights Programs to ‘Educate and Empower’ Detection Dog Breeders (blog and link to Video)

Here’s How the AKC Detection Dog Task Force Is Helping to Address the Shortage of US Bred and Trained Explosives Detection Dogs  (Video)

Breeder/Puppy Raiser Education:

The Patriotic Puppy Program is specialized pilot program that provides one-on-one assistance to breeders/puppy raisers of Labrador Retrievers and German Shorthaired Pointers interested in learning how to raise a puppy suitable for sale/placement in advanced training as a detection dog. Successful, committed applicants work for up to a year with a top detection dog trainer to develop their skills. Learn more about what to expect in the Patriotic Puppy Program    

*New - The AKC Canine College Confident Puppy e-learning course, open to all, teaches the secrets of raising a confident puppy that can excel in a range of areas and is potentially suitable for advanced training as a working dog.  

Public Policy/Government Relations: 

Government Relations – There are many obstacles that stand in the way of U.S. breeders being able to easily sell dogs to the government for detection work, including low market price for top working and field line puppies and complicated government vendor contracts that make it difficult for individual breeders. The AKC Government Relations team, has made strides in bringing these issues to the attention of lawmakers, through congressional testimony, advocacy and legislation. Learn more. 

Networking/ Raising Awareness:

AKC National Detection Dog Conference – The first AKC US Detection Dog Conference took place in 2017 to start a conversation about increasing the domestic supply of detection candidates. The stakeholders and speakers included members of government, academia and private training/breeding facilities. Every year since then, the conference has grown in scope and reputation. 

*Save the Date! The AKC National 2024 Detection Dog Conference is July 23 - 25, 2024, at Roberts Centre in Wilmington, Ohio. 

Share AKC Detection Dog Task Force informational tri-fold brochure to help educate about the issues.

Learn more about what to expect if you apply for AKC's Patriotic Puppy Program - Program Overview - Sept. 2023 (downloadable & printable) 

AKC Position Statement

Working & Detection Dogs

Congressional Testimony

AKC Testimony to U.S. House Joint Subcommittee 

Learn More:

AKC Detection Dog Bulletin - a quarterly newsletter

AKC Patriotic Puppy Handout - GSP - 8 1/2 x 11 flyer (download/print)

AKC Patriotic Puppy Handout - Labrador - Postcard (download/print)

December 2023Different Roads Can Lead to Success: How One Litter Is Taking Many Different Paths to Certification 

December 2023AKC Takes Patriotic Puppy Program to The West Coast 

October 2023 - AKC Detection Dog Task Force Hosts Webinar: “Ways to Improve Training Efficiency” (Blog and link to recording)

October 2023 - NEW Video - New Video Highlights Programs to ‘Educate and Empower’ Detection Dog Breeders (Blog and link to Video)

October 2023 AKC Patriotic Puppy Program Participants Deliver Big at K2 Hands-On Seminar 

June 2023 - DDTF Webinar: Working Dog Veterinary Care, Your K9 Athlete’s Health (Blog and link to recording) 

June 2023 - Medical Requirements for Green Detector Dogs: What you Need to Know 

April 2023 - Law Enforcement K9s: The Crucial Value of Proper Training and Certification (Blog and link to recording) 

March 2023 - AKC Patriotic Puppy Program Continues to Grow 

January 2023 - Robustness in Training with Jay Crafter – Part 2 – K9 Handler Selection in Crucial Conservation Work (Blog and link to recording) 

January 2023 - AKC Detection Dog Task Force Launches Quarterly Detection Dog Bulletin    

December 2022 Robustness in Training with Jay Crafter – Handler and K9 in Crucial Conservation Work (Blog & click link to view recording

December 2022 - The AKC Patriotic Puppy Program: The Patriotic Breeder 

December 2022 - Op Ed: Too Few Bomb-Sniffing Dogs Bred in US

November 2022 - GAO Releases Report on Federal Working Dog Health and Welfare

September 2022 Detection Dog Conference: Addressing the Shortage of Bomb-Sniffing Dogs 

October 2022 - AKC DDTF Webinar “Robustness in Training” – A Discussion with Jay Crafter of Invictus K9  

August 2022 - Detection Dog Task Force Hosts 3rd AKC National Detection Dog Conference 

August 2022 - Terrorism experts, dog breeders gather to reverse shortage of domestic bomb sniffing dogs - Originally Published by The Hill

August 2022 - AKC Patriotic Puppy Program Builds Confidence With New Course 

July 2022 - Game Changers by Dr. Carmen Battaglia

June 2022 - AKC DDTF Webinar Series - Now Available Online: Latest Detection Dog Webinar: 9 - 12 Month Puppies, Getting Started Right For Detection Work (Blog & click link to view recording)

April 2022 - Webinar Examines the Impact of Pandemic on Detection Dog Industry 

April 2022 - Press Release: AKC Reunite Reaches $1 Million In Grants For Adopt A K-9 Cop Program

March 2022 - Detection Dog Task Force Launches The Confident Puppy e-Learning Course (Blog & click link to view recording)

January/February 2022 - A Malinois in a Wiener Dog Suit - Originally Published by AKC Family Dog

February 2022PRESS RELEASE: AKC Reunite Adopt A K9 Cop Program Receives $100,000 Donation From Kennel Club of Philadelphia

January 19, 2022 - AKC DDTF Webinar Series - Industry Experts Discuss Key Factors in Raising 6-9 Month Puppies for Detection (Blog & click link to view recording)  

November 2021 - PRESS RELEASE: AKC/USPCA K9 Detection Dog Challenge Winners Announced

November 2021 - PRESS RELEASE: AKC Reunite Donates $157,500 to Police Departments

November 2021 - PRESS RELEASE: AKC/USPCA K9 Detection Dog Challenge to Air on ESPN2 on November 28

November 10, 2021 AKC DDTF Webinar Series - Recap and Recording: Dogs that Work Need Diets that Work (Blog & click link to view recording) 

September 8, 2021 - Questions & Answers: 3 - 6 Month Puppies, Getting Started Right for Detection Work

August 31, 2021 - AKC DDTF Webinar SeriesWebinar Highlights Essential Qualities at 3 – 6 Months for Future Detection Dogs (Blog & click link to view recording)

August 2021 - New Video Highlights AKC Detection Dog Task Force, Patriotic Puppy Program Work to Address Detection Dog Shortage 

July 2021 - AKC DDTF Webinar Series - Webinar Highlights Program Changes That Could Positively Impact Detection Dog Shortage (Blog & click link to view recording)

July 2021 - USPCA: American Kennel Club Is Working to Remedy Shortage of Quality US-bred Detection K-9s

June 2021 - Detection Dog Task Force Webinar: Research and Analysis of the American Domestic Government Working Dog Industry

June 2021 - AKC DDTF Webinar Series - Getting Puppies Started Right for Detection:  Experts Compare and Contrast Successful Approaches – Part 2 (Blog & click link to view recording)

May 2021 - Press Release: American Kennel Club Welcomes U.S. Police Canine Association to the AKC Family

May 2021 - Press Release: AKC Reunite Announces Enhancements To Its ‘Adopt A K-9 Cop’ Matching Grant Program

May 2021 - In-Person Seminar in Hillsborough NC – ‘Detection Dog Training Begins with a Responsible Breeder’

April 2021 - AKC DDTF Webinar Series: Exploring Issues, Challenges and Recommendations for Improving Government Acquisition of  US-Bred Working Dogs (Click link to view recording)

March 2021 - Latest Research Supports AKC Push For Increased Supply of U.S.-Bred Government Working Dogs

March 2021 -  Working dogs: Domestic shortage of key frontline defense against terrorism

March 2021 - Research and Analysis of the American Domestic Government Working Dog Industry

March 2021 - Exploring Issues, Challenges and Recommendations for Improving Government Acquisition of US-Bred Working Dogs

March 2021 - Demand Is Soaring for US-Bred Working Dogs, So Why Can’t We Supply More?

February 2021 – AKC DDTF Webinar Series: So Your Dog Isn’t Cut Out for Explosives Detection? Here Are Other Opportunities (Click link to view recording)

January 2021 – AKC DDTF Webinar Series: Getting Puppies Started Right for Detection:  Experts Compare and Contrast Successful Approaches  (Click link to view recording)

Call for U.S.-Bred War Dogs Grows to End ‘Outsourced’ Security

Here’s How the AKC Dog Detection Task Force Is Helping to Improve Our National Security at the Borders

America Needs More Bomb-Sniffing Dogs Raised in Our Country to Keep Us Safe

Congress moves to ensure the greater availability of explosives detecting dogs in the US

The Making of A Detection Dog – Jan/Feb 2020 Issue

Family Dog Article – Jan/Feb 2018 Issue

Additional Resources





    Message Body
    Suggested Message
    Remaining: 0
  • Hide
    • Please call this number:

      Please do not close this window. You will need to come back to this window to enter your code.
      We just sent an email to ... containing a verification code.

      If you do not see the email within the next five minutes, please ensure you entered the correct email address and check your spam/junk mail folder.
      Enter Your Info