California Dog Teams

In the News Videos

In The News | Press Releases

  • California 'Detector Dogs': How shelter pups safeguard farmlands, local crops from pests - A federal program is giving a second shot at life to shelter dogs while ensuring the protection of California farmlands.

    With funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the California Department of Food and Agriculture deploys dog teams to various counties to investigate shipping terminals and uncover pests that could — if released — devastate local crops. Many of the "Detector Dogs" come from shelters and rescues before they're identified as top candidates for USDA training. (Aly Brown, Bay City News - 11/20/23)
  • Detector Dog Teams: CDFA has been named as a recipient of $3,241,455 for its detector dog teams. The California Dog Teams program enhances inspection and surveillance activities related to plant products entering the State of California via parcel delivery facilities and airfreight terminals. The USDA allocation helps provide for ongoing operations. (Lake County News - 1/3/17)
  • Agriculture: Pooch sniffs out forbidden fruit and bad bugs. - On Jan. 2, Detection Dog Bishop made a major find at a Fed-Ex shipping hub in Ontario. He sniffed out an unmarked box that was found to contain seven pounds of mandarin oranges sent from Louisiana, said Sandy Cleland, deputy agriculture commissioner in San Bernardino County. (Article/Slideshow, The Press Enterprise - 2/20/15)
  • Rescued Dogs rescue our Agriculture Industry - In the farm-to-fork capital of the world, Dozer, a rescued Labrador retriever mix, is an employee of the California Department of Agriculture, but works specifically with Sacramento County’s Department of Agriculture. His job is to sniff produce and plants and non-indigenous pests that could harm agriculture and the environment. From spotted mangoes to exotic plants, Dozer is an expert at all types of plant life. (Sac County News - 5/29/14)
  • Hot Dogs hound state's Scofflaw parcel Shippers - Seven Bay Area dog/handler teams of the California Department of Food and Agriculture enhance inspection and surveillance efforts involving packages containing fruit and plant materials that enter the state through parcel delivery sites. (Article/Slideshow, SFGate - 04/18/12)
  • Sacramento County's four-legged AG Inspector - Being on the go before sunup to spend four hours sniffing boxes and running on treadmills might not sound like an ideal job to many, but for Dozer, a 3- or 4-year-old Labrador retriever, work is a dream. "It's clear that he loves his job," said Jennifer Berger, who has been Sacramento County's agricultural dog handler since the program came to the county in 2008. (3/01/12)
  • Detection Dogs show promise in sniffing out pests - Scientists have yet to invent a smell detector as sensitive and practical as a dog's wet nose. So researchers have turned to man's best friend for a little help in sniffing out pests, such as citrus canker, that are difficult or impossible to spot in the field (The Packer - 02/10/12)
  • Agriculture-sniffing Dog visits San Joaquin County, Lodi - Kojak, an agriculture-sniffing dog with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is in San Joaquin County because the potentially harmful Oriental fruit fly was detected in September in south Lodi and north Stockton. (Lodi News-Sentinel - 11/01/11)
  • Detector Dog sniffs out threat to County's citrus industry - The County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures recently seized 10 Kaffir lime trees from Florida after Detector Dog Drake discovered them in an unmarked box at a North County commercial shipping terminal. Detector Dog Drake and his handler, Ted Olsen, found the shipment two weeks ago during a routine inspection of packages coming into San Diego County. Each tree had leaves, roots and soil which increase the potential for pests to be present. (San Diego County News Center - 09/01/11)
  • Sniffing out trouble: Handler Tom Doud and Detection Dog Kojak Work to Protect County's Agriculture - Hundreds of packages destined for delivery flow down a conveyor belt toward the waiting trucks in every size, shape and texture: cardboard boxes with flat-screen TVs, tubes with building plans, flat document envelopes and padded pouches containing medicines or appliances parts, perhaps. And expertly weaving through it all is Kojak, a black Labrador, hopping, wheeling and turning like an expert kayaker or mogul skier. ( - 03/14/11)
  • Inspection Dogs help keep Agricultural pests at Bay - As state and local agriculture officials try to wipe out plant pests near Balboa Park, Jeremy Partch and his dog Friday are doing their part to keep more dangerous bugs at bay. (UT San Diego - 8/30/10)
  • California Agriculture Secretary congratulates Sacramento Detection Dog Tassie and her handler - Tassie alerted on a package containing guavas and curry leaves and found approximately 100 Asian citrus psyllids (ACP), a pest that can carry huanglongbing (HLB), a disease fatal to citrus plants. The parcel originated in Texas and was not inspected locally prior to shipment. (CDFA Press Release - 09/01/2009)
  • Detection Dog finds Asian Citrus Psyllids at Sacramento Package Facility - In July, a detection dog working for the Fresno County Department of Agriculture detected curry leaves in a duffle bag and an inspection revealed ACP. (CDFA Press Release - 08/28/2009)
  • FRUIT SNIFFING DOG FIGHTS PESTS - Tassie has been trained to sniff out fruit and other agricultural commodities in boxes that are shipped through express parcel facilities such as Fed Ex, UPS, and DHL. During a demonstration on Monday, Tassie successfully sniffed out oranges, apples, and even a mango hidden inside unmarked parcels. (News10 - 5/18/2009)


Detection Dog Bart surrounded by his young fans. (Photographer: Cathy Vue, CDFA)
Detection Dog Bart

- Detection Dog Bart surrounded by his young fans.

  • Pooch Sniffs Out Forbidden Fruit and Bad Bugs - On Jan. 2, Bishop made a major find at a Fed-Ex shipping hub in Ontario. He sniffed out an unmarked box that was found to contain seven pounds of mandarin oranges sent from Louisiana, said Sandy Cleland, deputy agriculture commissioner in San Bernardino County. (via Planting Seeds Blog - 2/24/15)
  • Tails Wag as Parcel Inspection Dogs Retire from California Dog Teams - There has been a changing of the guard this summer among the California Dog Teams comprised of specially trained dogs that sniff parcels and are part of the state's first line of defense against invasive species. Three veteran dogs retired after many years of service, each having reached the mandatory retirement age of nine. Using the concept of "dog years," that would make them between 56 and 61 years old in human terms. A fourth dog retired when its handler was promoted that's necessary because the program requires a replacement handler to train with a new dog to forge the strongest possible bond. All of the retired animals were placed in loving homes to live out their lives. (Plant Seeds Blog - 08/28/13)
  • California Four-Legged Agriculture Inspector Sniffs Out Pests by Day, But He Can't Go Home at Night - It takes only a small number of insects from out of the area to cause major damage to California's multi-billion dollar agriculture industry. So packages containing plant material sent into the state must be labeled and inspected. But many never get labeled or the labels are hidden or fall off. Enter Dozer. [The Poodle (and dog) blog - 2/13/12]
  • California Welcomes Dozer, Our Newest Detector Dog - Dozer the detector dog has reported for duty! He brings our total to 13 dogs throughout the state that spend their working hours sniffing around package-delivery facilities, detecting parcels that contain fruits, vegetables, plants and other agricultural materials. (Planting Seeds Blog, 01/30/12)
  • Detector Dogs Protect California's Food Supply and Natural Resources. - The California Agriculture Detector Dog Team Program was developed to serve as an additional line of defense in preventing the introduction of harmful plant pests into the State of California via privately-shipped parcels (FedEx, US Postal Service, UPS, etc). (Planting Seeds Blog, 10/07/11)