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  • Writer's pictureSpanish Water Dog Club

The Scent of Success! - Johnny becomes the UK's first qualified SWD narcotics detection dog.

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

Spanish Water Dog breaks through into narcotics detection work.

When you think about dogs that are employed in the law enforcement field, the first images that tend to come to mind are either German Shepherds or Springer Spaniels. However the intellect that Spanish Water Dogs present along with their incredible versatility to turn their paws to anything was recognised by Kelvyn, owner of Specialist Detector Dogs.

For nearly 2 years the team had been speaking with breeders and owners of SWD's in both the UK and Spain, assessing the potential for the breed to work alongside their already established spaniels and labradors and engage in search work conducted in the UK.

Just over 4 months ago they acquired Johnny, an 8 month old, bouncy, loving and super excited SWD. He had no prior skills or training to either search or play with a ball, however within a few short weeks of playing with the already established labs and spaniels he quickly picked and learnt the game.

Johnny's training officially started at around 10 months old, once he had settled into his new surroundings. This involved him learning to search for drugs whilst all the same time playing and enjoying the 'game' of searching. Kelvyn notes that as a breed the Spanish Water Dogs are extremely intelligent with Johnny learning everything, both good and bad, very quickly. Indeed his intellect and aptitude for picking things up kept the the team on its toes, with them having to come up with different ways to teach him the same skills as other narcotics detection dogs.

On the 21st August 2020 Johnny and the rest of the team had their narcotics detection assessment. Under the watchful eye of an independent ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers), NTIPDU (National Training Inspectorate for Professional Dog Users) and NASDU (National Association of Security Dog Users) assessor, Johnny passed his assessment with flying colours becoming the first known Spanish Water Dogs currently in the UK to qualify as a passive narcotics detection dog.

Johnny's work will now see him deployed to scan static lines, moving lines and searching venues before and after events to detect the presence of narcotics. As well identifying controlled substances, his training will also help him to identify other substances known as so called 'legal highs'

With Johnny clearly making a great impression, Kelvyn and his team have just acquired their second Spanish Water Dog to undergo similar training and join Johnny in undertaking detection work.

The Spanish Water Dog Club would like to thank Kelvyn and the team at Specialist Detector Dogs for sharing their story of Johnny and recognising and highlighting the talents that our wonderful breed are capable of.

Further information about Kelvyns work can be found via his website

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