AKC Scent Work

Sniff Happens At The ABC National!

by Dawn Heath

This year, the ABC National hosted it’s first Scent Work Trial! After 3 years of planning and re-arranging, it finally happened! The boxers got to sniff at the Boxer National on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022!

We hosted (2) Container trials, Novice through Masters, and had lots of fun! A total of 26 boxers entered per trial, with 50% Super Sniffer boxers qualifying in each trial!

WHAT IS SCENT WORK? Well, it’s all about hunting and finding! AKC introduced Scent Work in 2017. The sport has grown in popularity since then and continues to gain momentum.

In 2021, our beloved boxers earned a total of 209 Scent Work Titles! Go Boxers!
Novice: 107 boxer titles Advanced: 59 boxer titles Excellent: 38 boxer titles Masters: 5 boxer titles

In Scent Work, the judge puts out a “hide”, which consists of a Qtip with 2 drops of oil, inside a small tube, for the dog to find. The target odor consists of either birch, anise, clove, or cypress, depending on the level. There are 4 main search elements in Scent Work – Containers, Interiors, Exteriors and Buried. There is also an additional element, Handler Discrimination, where the dog must indicate their human’s scent.

In the Containers element, the hide is placed inside a container for the dog to sniff and indicate to its handler that it has found the hide. The dog must choose the right container, as multiple containers will have no odor, and some with distracting odor, such as food or toys. The handler must successfully call “ALERT!” on the right container, letting the judge know the dog has found the hidden odor. Each element is timed and is rated on a pass/fail. Placements are earned for each level, for the dog with the fastest times in that search element.

Dogs of all ages and all breeds love Scent Work because it allows the dogs to use their natural sniff and hunt abilities. This is a DOG’S game; the handler is along for the ride!

Thank you to our judges, Erin Rezmer and Jacqueline Fabrizzo, to ABC for allowing Scent Work at the National, to our exhibitors, volunteers and to the committee for all the hard work that went into a successful trial! We look forward to more sniffing next year!