A detection dog or sniffer dog is a dog that is trained to use its senses to detect substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, wildlife scat, currency, blood, and contraband electronics such as illicit mobile phones. The sense most used by detection dogs is smell. Hunting dogs that search for game, and search dogs that work to find missing humans are generally not considered detection dogs. There is some overlap, as in the case of cadaver dogs, trained to search for human remains. A police dog is essentially a detection dog that is used as a resource for police in specific scenarios such as conducting drug raids, finding missing criminals, and locating stashed currency.
Frequently, detection dogs are thought to be used for law enforcement purposes; however, they are also used as a valuable research tool for wildlife biologists. In California, detection dogs are trained to discover quagga mussels on boats at public boat ramps because they are a harmful invasive species for the environment. Detection dogs also tend to be employed for the purposes of finding and collecting the feces of a diverse array of species, including caribou, black-footed ferret, killer whale, and Oregon spotted frog. This process is known as wildlife scat detection.
Detection dogs are also seeing use in the medical industry, as studies have revealed that canines are able to detect specific odours associated with numerous medical conditions, such as cancer.
Detection dogs have been trained to search for many things, both animate and inanimate, including:
One notable quality of detection dogs is that they're able to discern individual scents even when they're combined or masked by other odors. A lot of the items listed above can be disguised when covered by multiple smells. Detection dogs help uncover these items. In 2002, a detection dog foiled a woman's attempt to smuggle marijuana into an Australian prison in Brisbane. The marijuana had been inserted into a balloon, which was smeared with coffee, pepper and petroleum jelly and then placed in her bra.
Detection dogs are often specially trained by handlers to identify the scent of bed bugs. With the increased focus on green pest management and integrated pest management, as well as the increase in global travel and shared living accommodations, bed bugs have become more prevalent. Detecting bed bugs is a complicated process because insects have the ability to hide almost anywhere. Detection dogs help solve this problem because of their size, speed, and sense of smell. From eggs to adults, detection dogs use their unique ability to smell in parts per trillion in order to track bed bugs in every phase of their life cycle. They can find bugs in places humans cannot such as wall voids, crevices, and furniture gaps. Dogs are also a safer alternative to pesticide use. If detection dogs can find out exactly where bed bugs are located, they can minimize the area that needs to be sprayed.
The National Pest Management Association released their "Bed Bug Best Management Practices"  in 2011 which outlines the minimum recommendations regarding not only treatment, but the certification and use of bed bug detection canines. The NPMA's Best Management Practices emphasizes the importance of having bed bug detection dog teams certified by third party organizations who are not affiliated to the trainer or company that sold the canine.
Scientists at the University of Kentucky reviewed studies on bed bug detection dogs and concluded that although expensive for operators, they're a reliable source as long as they undergo the proper training. In another study, detection dogs had a 97.5% correct positive indication rate on identifying bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) and their eggs – with zero false positives – all while accurately distinguishing them from carpenter ants, cockroaches, and termites. They also successfully differentiated live bed bugs and viable bed bug eggs from dead bed bugs, cast skins, and feces with a 95% correct positive indication rate.
Scat is abundant in the wild and contains valuable data. Wildlife scat detection represents a fairly non-invasive method of study for many species where previous live-capture once predominated. Compared with other methods of scat collection, dogs are able to survey larger areas in less time at decreased costs. Research shows that detection dogs can find laboratory rats and mice in a large rodent-free area of 32 hectares which is extremely large in size. Some specific types of feces that detection dogs have had success in identifying include killer whale feces, northern spotted owl pellets, and salamanders.
In 2001, the Australian state of New South Wales introduced legislation that granted police with the power to use drug detection dogs without a warrant in public places such as licensed venues, music festivals, and public transport. The laws were repealed in 2005, and then reviewed in 2006 by the New South Wales Ombudsman, who handed down a critical report regarding the use of dogs for drug detection. The report stated that prohibited drugs were found in only 26% of searches following an indication by a drug sniffer dog. Of these, 84% were for small amounts of cannabis deemed for personal use. The report also found that the legislation was ineffective at detecting persons in supply of prohibited drugs, with only 0.19% of indications ultimately leading to a successful prosecution for supply.
In 2011, the Chicago Tribune claimed that detection dogs responses are influenced by the biases and behaviors of their handlers, which can hinder accuracy. Another factor that affects accuracy is residual odors. Residual odors can linger even after illegal materials have been removed from a particular area, and can lead to negative detection alerts. Additionally, very few states have mandatory training, testing, or certification standards for detection dogs. This leaves people to question whether they're truly equipped to carry out searches.
Detection dogs give police the potential to conduct searches without cause, a manner that is unregulated. They're often accused of being motivated more by the state's desire to be seen doing something, than any serious attempt to respond to the dangers of drugs use. In June 2012, three Nevada Highway Patrol officers filed suit against Nevada's Director of Public Safety, alleging that he violated the police dog program by intentionally training canines to be "trick ponies" – to falsely alert based on cues from their handlers – so as to enable officers to conduct illegal searches of vehicles. The lawsuit claims that in doing so, he and other top Highway Patrol officers had violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
In Norway, students were subjected to a drug search in their classroom by a detection dog. The students didn't have to be present in the room while the dogs searched; however, they were forced to answer questions by the police instead. An article in Tidsskrift for strafferett, Norway's journal of criminal law, claims that such searches breach Norwegian law.
Agata is a female yellow Labrador Retriever drug detection dog who works at Leticia, Colombia. In 2004, Colombian drug barons placed a US$10,000 bounty on her head, making her one of the only dogs to ever have a bounty on its head. This resulted in the dog and her handler being given a body guard. The bounty was the result of her abnormal skills at drug detection, having stopped more than three hundred kilos of cocaine, worth more than seven million dollars, and twenty kilos of heroin. She was decorated for her work.Beagle
The beagle is a breed of small hound that is similar in appearance to the much larger foxhound. The beagle is a scent hound, developed primarily for hunting hare (beagling). With a great sense of smell and superior tracking instinct, the beagle is employed as detection dog for prohibited agricultural imports and foodstuffs in quarantine around the world. The beagle is intelligent but single-minded. It is a popular pet due to its size, good temper, and lack of inherited health problems.
The modern breed was developed in Great Britain around the 1830s from several breeds, including the Talbot Hound, the North Country Beagle, the Southern Hound, and possibly the Harrier.
Beagles have been depicted in popular culture since Elizabethan times in literature and paintings, and more recently in film, television, and comic books. Snoopy of the comic strip Peanuts has been called "the world's most famous beagle".Buster (spaniel)
Buster (2002 – 2015), an English Springer Spaniel, was a military detection dog who was active during the Iraq War. Because of his actions in discovering a hidden weapons cache, the dog was credited with saving service personnel from insurgents operating in the southern Iraqi town of Safwan. He was awarded the Dickin Medal, referred to as being the animals' Victoria Cross.Cena N641
Cena N641 typically referred to simply as Cena was a black Labrador retriever bomb detection dog in the US Marine Corps. He served three tours of duty in Afghanistan.
After retirement of the dog with a hip injury, Cena was four years later reunited with one of his Afghanistan handlers, Jeff DeYoung as a PTSD therapy dog, on 24th April 2014.On 27th July 2017 Cena was euthanized by DeYoung as he was suffering from bone cancer. Hundreds of people in Muskegon, Michigan attended the send-off.Diabetes alert dog
A diabetic alert dog is an assistance dog trained to detect high (hyperglycemia) or low (hypoglycemia) levels of blood sugar in humans with diabetes and alert their owners to dangerous changes in blood glucose levels. This allows their owners to take steps to return their blood sugar to normal, such as using glucose tablets, sugar and carbohydrate rich food. The dog can prompt a human to take insulin.When owners with diabetes begin to experience hypoglycemia, the detection dogs perform a predetermined task (e.g. bark, lay down, sit) to inform the person. Dogs may be directly smelling something related to the abnormal glucose concentration, or may be reacting to the owner's symptoms which are caused by hypoglycemia, such as sweating or shaking.English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer Spaniel is a breed of gun dog in the Spaniel family traditionally used for flushing and retrieving game. It is an affectionate, excitable breed with a typical lifespan of twelve to fourteen years. They are very similar to the Welsh Springer Spaniel and are descended from the Norfolk or Shropshire Spaniels of the mid-19th century; the breed has diverged into separate show and working lines. The breed suffers from average health complaints. The show-bred version of the breed has been linked to "rage syndrome", although the disorder is very rare. It is closely related to the Welsh Springer Spaniel and very closely to the English Cocker Spaniel; less than a century ago, springers and cockers would come from the same litter. The smaller "cockers" hunted woodcock while the larger littermates were used to flush, or "spring", game. In 1902, The Kennel Club recognized the English Springer Spaniel as a distinct breed. They are used as sniffer dogs on a widespread basis. The term Springer comes from the historic hunting role, where the dog would flush (spring) birds into the air.Federal Protective Service (United States)
The Federal Protective Service (FPS) is the uniformed security police division of the National Protection and Programs Directorate of the United States Department of Homeland Security. FPS is "the federal agency charged with protecting and delivering integrated law enforcement and security services to facilities owned or leased by the General Services Administration (GSA)"—over 9,000 buildings—and their occupants.
The FPS is a federal law enforcement agency, and employs approximately 900 law enforcement officers who receive initial training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). FPS provides integrated law enforcement and security services to U.S. Federal buildings, courthouses, and other properties administered by the General Services Administration (GSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
To support that mission, FPS contracts with private security firms to provide 13,000 contract Armed Protective Security Officers (PSO) providing access control and security response within federal buildings. These PSOs are not federal law enforcement but private security employees trained by FPS. FPS also protects other properties as authorized and carries out various other activities for the promotion of homeland security as the Secretary of Homeland Security may prescribe, to include providing a uniformed police response to National Security Special Events, and national disasters.
The FPS (Federal Protective Service) was formerly a part of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement until October 2009, when it was transferred to the National Protection and Programs Directorate.Florida v. Harris
Florida v. Harris, 568 U.S. 237 (2013), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court addressed the reliability of a dog sniff by a detection dog trained to identify narcotics, under the specific context of whether law enforcement's assertions that the dog is trained or certified is sufficient to establish probable cause for a search of a vehicle under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Harris was the first Supreme Court case to challenge the dog's reliability, backed by data that asserts that on average, up to 80% of a dog's alerts are wrong. Twenty-four U.S. States, the federal government, and two U.S. territories filed briefs in support of Florida as amici curiae.
Oral argument in this case – and that of another dog sniff case, Florida v. Jardines – was heard on October 31, 2012. The Court unanimously held that if a bona fide organization has certified a dog after testing his reliability in a controlled setting, or if the dog has recently and successfully completed a training program that evaluated his proficiency, a court can presume (subject to any conflicting evidence offered) that the dog's alert provides probable cause to search, using a "totality-of-the-circumstances" approach.Florida v. Jardines
Florida v. Jardines, 569 U.S. 1 (2013), is a decision by the United States Supreme Court which held that police use of a trained detection dog to sniff for narcotics on the front porch of a private home is a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and therefore, without consent, requires both probable cause and a search warrant.
In 2006, police in Miami, Florida received an anonymous tip that a home was being used as a marijuana grow house. They led a drug-sniffing police dog to the front door of the home, and the dog alerted at the front door to the scent of contraband. A search warrant was issued, which led to the arrest of the homeowner.
Twenty-seven U.S. states and the Federal government, among others, had supported Florida's argument that this use of a police dog was an acceptable form of minimally invasive warrantless search. In a 5-4 decision, the Court disagreed, despite three previous cases in which the Court had held that a dog sniff was not a search when deployed against luggage at an airport, against vehicles in a drug interdiction checkpoint, and against vehicles during routine traffic stops. The Court made clear by this ruling that it considers the deployment of a police dog at the front door of a private residence to be another matter altogether.Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is a large-sized breed of dog bred as gun dogs to retrieve shot waterfowl, such as ducks and upland game birds, during hunting and shooting parties, and were named 'retriever' because of their ability to retrieve shot game undamaged (soft mouth). Golden retrievers have an instinctive love of water, and are easy to train to basic or advanced obedience standards. They are a long-coated breed, with a dense inner coat that provides them with adequate warmth in the outdoors, and an outer coat that lies flat against their bodies and repels water. Golden retrievers are well suited to residency in suburban or country environments. They shed copiously, particularly at the change of seasons, and require fairly regular grooming. The Golden Retriever was originally bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century.The breed is a prominent participant in conformation shows for purebred dogs. The Golden Retriever is popular as a disability assistance dog, such as being a guide dog for the blind and a hearing dog for the deaf. In addition, they are trained to be a hunting dog, a detection dog, and a search and rescue participant. The breed's friendly, gentle temperament means it is unsuited to being a professional guard dog, but its temperament has also made it the third-most popular family dog breed (by registration) in the United States,
the fifth-most popular in Brazil and Australia,
and the eighth-most popular in the United Kingdom. Golden Retrievers are rarely choosy eaters, but require ample (two or more hours a day) exercise. The breed is fond of play but also highly trainable.Ilford Animal Cemetery
Ilford Animal Cemetery is an animal cemetery in Ilford in London, England, United Kingdom that contained over three thousand burials. It was founded in the 1920s and is operated by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals. The cemetery was closed to new burials in the 1960s and gradually became neglected and overgrown. In the early twenty-first century it was restored with the assistance of a £50,000 grant from the National Lottery. Headstones were repaired or replaced, the entrance gate was repaired, the graves were numbered and a visitor's map was created. The cemetery re-opened in 2007 with a ceremony that included a performance of the Last Post by a bugler from the King's Royal Rifle Corps and a pigeon fly-past (although the birds actually took fright at the assembled crowd and flew in the opposite direction). It was attended by two holders of the PDSA Gold Medal, Jake (an explosives detection dog) and Endal (an assistance dog). Also present was Commander Stuart Hett, who had been an officer aboard HMS Amethyst and had been tasked with responding to the many letters received by the ship's heroic cat, Simon, who is buried at Ilford.The burials are a mixture of family pets and military animals, including thirteen recipients of the Dickin Medal for bravery (a fifth of all Dickin Medal recipients are buried at Ilford). The first Dickin Medal recipient to be buried at Ilford was Rip, a Second World War search and rescue dog. Information boards recounting the stories of several of the animals were constructed during the recent restoration. The cemetery has an area specifically dedicated to bird burials. It also has a Pet Tribute Garden designed by celebrity gardener Bob Flowerdew. The inspiration for the design was the Dickin Medal, which has stripes of brown, blue and green representing sea, land and air forces. The garden includes a pet tribute tag dedicated to Endal, the assistance dog which was present at the re-opening ceremony but which died in 2009. The cemetery is behind the PDSA on Woodford Bridge Road, Redbridge, Ilford, Essex.
Dickin Medal recipients buried at Ilford include:
Mary of Exeter
Able Seacat Simon
Nosework is a canine sport created to mimic professional detection dog tasks. One dog and one handler form a team. The dogs must find a hidden target odor, often ignoring distractors (such as food or toys), and alert the handler. After the dog finds the odor they are rewarded with food or a toy. Nosework is a fast growing sport in part because it accommodates canines with disabilities or behavior problems.Rodriguez v. United States
Rodriguez v. United States, 575 U.S. ___ (2015), was a United States Supreme Court case which analyzed whether police officers may extend the length of a traffic stop to conduct a search with a trained detection dog. In a 6–3 opinion, the Court held that officers may not extend the length of a traffic stop to conduct a dog sniff unrelated to the original purpose of the stop. However, the Court remanded the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to determine whether the officer's extension of the traffic stop was independently justified by reasonable suspicion. Some analysts have suggested that the Court's decision to limit police authority was influenced by ongoing protests in Ferguson, Missouri.Sarbi
Sarbi (11 September 2002 – 27 March 2015) was an Australian special forces explosives detection dog that spent almost 14 months missing in action (MIA) in Afghanistan having disappeared during an ambush on 2 September 2008. Sarbi was later rediscovered by an American soldier, and was reunited with Australian forces pending repatriation to Australia. Her name is sometimes spelled 'Sabi'.Sarbi (disambiguation)
might refer to:
Sarbi, the Australian explosives detection dog
Sarbi, a village in Iran
Särbi, contemporary reconstruction of the authentic name for Xianbei
Sârbi, a number of places in RomaniaSasha (dog)
Sasha DM (2004–2008) was a Labrador Retriever who served as a bomb detection dog for the British Army whilst stationed in Afghanistan. Sasha and her handler, Lance Corporal Kenneth Rowe, were killed in July 2008. Sasha was awarded the Dickin Medal, also known as the animals' Victoria Cross, in 2014.Theo (dog)
Theo DM (2009–2011), was an English Springer Spaniel who served as a bomb detection dog for the British Army whilst stationed in Afghanistan. His handler, Lance Corporal Liam Tasker, was killed in March 2011, and Theo died within hours, following a seizure. The pair had set a new record for bomb finds during their time on deployment. Theo was awarded the Dickin Medal, also known as the animals' Victoria Cross, in 2012.Tucker (dog)
Tucker is a scat detection dog famous for his ability to find Orca scat from the prow of a boat. A black Labrador retriever mix, he was born in August 2004, and adopted by Conservation Canines in May 2006 from SnoLine Kennels in Arlington, WA. Aside from studying resident Killer whales in Washington State, he has twice been to the Alberta oil sands to survey for Caribou, Grey wolf, and Moose, and he has located iguanas in the Caribbean.Zanjeer (dog)
Zanjeer (from Hindi: जंजीर, "a chain"; ultimately from Persian) (7 January 1992 – 16 November 2000) was a Labrador Retriever who served as a detection dog with the Mumbai Police in Maharashtra state of India. Due to his impeccable service detecting many explosives and other weapons—in particular during the 1993 Mumbai bombings—he was honoured with a full state funeral.