Labrador Qubit has been announced as ‘Top Dog’ of 2022 by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
Qubit, the biosecurity detector dog, together with handler Sam, intercepted 126 products with the potential to carry foot and mouth disease (FMD) and seized 765 individual biosecurity items.
Dr Chris Locke, Acting Secretary of the Department and Acting Director of Biosecurity, said Qubit and Sam sniffed out and seized more FMD risk material – meat and dairy products – than any other biosecurity dog team last year.
“In 2022 we saw the threat of FMD and lumpy skin disease grow as it was detected in our near neighbour, Indonesia.
“In response, the biosecurity detector dog program expanded the detector dog target odours to include dairy products, which have a greater risk of carrying exotic diseases including FMD.”
Currently, the department has 46 Labradors working as biosecurity detector dogs across Australia’s international airports, mail centres, and seaports, with this number set to increase to 62 over the next two years.
“Biosecurity detector dogs are a vital part of our biosecurity defence at the border. They are teamed with our detector dog handlers, who are biosecurity officers with specialised skills to effectively train and deploy a detector dog.
“Together, they do a great job of protecting Australia alongside the other measures we deploy to mitigate risk of exotic pests and diseases.”
Other special mentions went to Vespa, who was named ‘Most Versatile’, who found the widest range of commodities – 124 different commodities across her 635 individual risk items seized.
Emma was named ‘Rookie of the Year’ for sniffing out 278 individual risk items since her graduation in August 2022, equating to nearly three seizures per workday.