Detector Dog Programme

Detector dogs work at entry points into New Zealand to find products that aren't allowed into New Zealand. Find out what these dogs are looking for and how they work.



Dogs sniff out trouble

New Zealand has strict biosecurity procedures at airports and ports to prevent the introduction of pests and diseases of animals and plants. MPI uses detector dogs to find items that could be a biosecurity risk. The dogs search baggage, cargo, and mail.

The dogs are trained to find:

  • plants and plant products, like assorted fruits, vegetables, bulbs, flowers, leaves, and seeds
  • animals and animal products, like meats, eggs, live birds, and reptiles.

Detector dog teams work at all international ports of entry like:

  • international airports
  • ports
  • the International Mail Centre in Auckland
  • international cargo companies.

Detector dogs are also used to help inspect the luggage of cruise ship passengers arriving from overseas destinations.

National Training Centre

The Detector Dog Programme has a National Training Centre in Auckland for training and testing new and existing detector dog teams. The centre houses up to 44 dogs, with breeding and whelping facilities.

MPI's Detector Dog Programme has also helped set up programmes in other countries. It's supplied dogs and trained handlers for Argentina, South Korea, Canada, the United States, and elsewhere.

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