Paws Across The Pacific

"Aussie Sniffer Dogs to Assist  U-S Drug Detection" 
News release from Australian Ministry of Justice and Customs, 
Oct. 16, 2000"

Australian dogs are set to improve bomb and drug detection in the United States, as a result of Australian Customs Service’s highly regarded breeding program.

Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, today handed over 16 Labradors to the United States Consul-General, Mr. David Lyon.

The dogs will be used as foundation breeding stock by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Institute for Biological Detection Systems (IBDS) at Auburn University, Alabama. Both organizations want to emulate the Australian breeding program.

“The FAA hopes to introduce Australian Customs methodology and bloodstock for a breeding program for counter-terrorism, while IBDS are keen to access the methodology and gene pool for illicit drug and bomb detection.

“That these agencies seek our breeding model speaks volumes about the caliber of dog our Australian program is producing,” Senator Vanstone said. The Australian Customs Service breeding program pinpoints required genetics and environmental influences for breeding top-class sniffer dogs.

In 1998, Australian Customs donated foundation breeding stock and methodology to U.S. Customs to enable them to enhance their detector dogs program. Since research began for the Customs selective breeding program, 357 dogs have been bred. Dogs from the Customs detector dog training program have made more than 6000 detections.

“Many other Australian agencies use dogs bred by Customs including the Australian Army, Australian Federal Police and State and Territory police. Around 30 Customs-bred dogs were used by these and other agencies to look for explosives during the Sydney Olympics,” Senator Vanstone said.

Currently Australian bloodlines have been used to improve the Labs used for explosive detector dogs. A company linked with Auburn Research and Technology Foundation (ARTF) is training a type of dog called "vapor wake".  New name for an old feat. In the 70's, dogs would also alert on large amounts of drugs or explosive from a distance. This was called "working  airborne odor". The scent trail was being carried airborne by wind currents. In the stone ages, for drug detector we needed a location for a search warrant. For explosives detector, the larger the device, the more odor producing explosives, and the easier for the dog to find.


This photo is courtesy of Ron Haden. It arrived with the caption "No one is above suspicion". However the Australian Flags on the dog coats would make me believe that the puppies are part of the US  Customs breeding program.   I would assume that this is a "field trip" to expose the puppies to different environments.  This program is a spin off from an Australian government sponsored breeding program. They have been breeding dogs for military & police use for over 30 years (with superior results). 

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