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)
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
AKC Patriotic Puppy Handout - GSP - 8 1/2 x 11 flyer (download/print)
AKC Patriotic Puppy Handout - Labrador - Postcard (download/print)
December 2023 – AKC 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)
June 2023 - DDTF Webinar: Working Dog Veterinary Care, Your K9 Athlete’s Health (Blog and link to recording)
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)
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
August 2022 - Terrorism experts, dog breeders gather to reverse shortage of domestic bomb sniffing dogs - Originally Published by The Hill
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)
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
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 10, 2021 – AKC DDTF Webinar Series - Recap and Recording: Dogs that Work Need Diets that Work (Blog & click link to view recording)
August 31, 2021 - AKC DDTF Webinar Series - Webinar Highlights Essential Qualities at 3 – 6 Months for Future Detection Dogs (Blog & click link to view recording)
July 2021 - AKC DDTF Webinar Series - Webinar Highlights Program Changes That Could Positively Impact Detection Dog Shortage (Blog & click link to view recording)
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
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)
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)