It’ll be difficult to spot German shepherds on your next trip through airport security. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently announced it’s reducing the number of pointy-eared dogs used for safety screenings.
According to TSA officials, travelers feel less threatened by dogs with floppier ears. By removing breeds like German shepherds and Belgian Malinois, the TSA believes people (especially children) will have an easier time going through security screenings.
A new report shows about 80 percent of the dogs now working with the TSA were chosen specifically for their less-threatening ears. These breeds include golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, and wirehaired pointers.
This doesn’t mean, however, that German shepherds are banned from working for the TSA. Indeed, the TSA says they could still work for the organization provided they’re in good health.
It’s highly likely, however, that any German shepherds now employed by the TSA will work behind the scenes. Instead of sniffing people, these German shepherds will sniff suspicious packages for bombs or drugs.
Current estimates show the TSA has about 1,200 dogs that are split into about 900 teams. Approximately one-third of these canines interact with the public.
Since the TSA uses the second largest number of trained dogs out of any federal agency, it’s likely breeders will start to focus more on floppy-eared dogs. Most of the dogs now being hired by the TSA are either sporting or hunting breeds.
The TSA also has partnerships with hundreds of law enforcement agencies that have their own canine units. In case you were wondering, it costs at least $26,000 to properly train a dog for law enforcement.
For more information on this change at the TSA, you can read the original story on this link to the Washington Examiner.