Identifying suitable detection dogs

Jamieson, La Toya J. and Baxter, Greg S. and Murray, Peter J. ORCID: (2017) Identifying suitable detection dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 195. pp. 1-7. ISSN 0168-1591


Domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are versatile resources for humans due to a number of their physical and behavioural characteristics. Because of dogs’ olfactory acuity they have been used to detect cryptic or concealed items such as narcotics, explosives and wildlife. However, there is a wide variation in performance. This variation is often not correlated with their breed and has not been rigorously tested. Little research has compared dog breeds for their suitability as detection dogs, and even fewer studies have concluded which characteristics should be selected. This is important considering the number of dogs produced for detection work. This paper has collated the scientific literature to present important behavioural and physical traits, and traits which should be avoided, in detection dogs. The important traits include: highly play motivated; high level of cooperativeness with their handler; boldness; obedience yet independence when off-leash; and high athleticism. Although wildlife detection dogs are this paper’s focus, these proposed traits are relevant in any detection field.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2021 05:15
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2021 00:54
Uncontrolled Keywords: Detection dogs, Dog breeds, Breed variation, Working performance
Fields of Research (2008): 06 Biological Sciences > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour
Fields of Research (2020): 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180699 Terrestrial systems and management not elsewhere classified
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