The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has announced biosecurity detector dog Qubit as the ‘Top Dog’ of 2022.

The department awards the ‘Top Dog’ title to a detector dog and handler team who have significantly contributed to Australia’s biosecurity efforts.

Qubit and his handler Sam sniffed out and seized more foot and mouth disease (FMD) risk material – meat and dairy products – in Melbourne Airport and the Melbourne Mail Gateway than any other biosecurity dog team in Australia last year.

Together they intercepted 126 products with the potential to carry FMD and seized 765 individual biosecurity risk items.

The department currently has 46 Labradors working as biosecurity detector dogs across Australia’s international airports, mail centres and seaports. This will increase to 62 Labradors over the next two years.

Special mentions were also awarded to other biosecurity dog teams. ‘Most Versatile’ was given to Detector Dog Vespa in Sydney who, with her handlers, found the widest range of commodities (124 different commodities across her 635 individual risk items seized).

‘Rookie of the Year’ was awarded to Detector Dog Emma in Sydney who sniffed out 278 individual risk items since her graduation in August 2022. This equates to almost 3 seizures per workday.

Fast Facts:

  • In 2022 Biosecurity Detector Dogs screened 6.2 million mail items and over 850,000 travellers entering Australia.
  • In 2022 Biosecurity Detector Dogs intercepted approximately 10,700 mail articles and 14,600 travellers carrying biosecurity risk items.
  • Biosecurity Detector Dogs are trained to detect over 250 individual biosecurity risk items, from fruit and meat to plants and exotic pests.
  • Biosecurity Detector Dogs are deployed to screen incoming people and goods in Australia’s international airports, ports and mail centres.

Top Dog: Qubit

  • Intercepted the largest number of FMD risk items in 2022
  • Location: Melbourne
  • Handler: Sam Watson
  • 126 interceptions of goods with potential to carry FMD
  • 765 individual risk items seized.

Most Versatile: Vespa

  • Intercepted the broadest range of risk items in 2022
  • Location: Sydney
  • 124 different commodities intercepted
  • 635 individual risk items seized.

Rookie of the Year: Emma

  • Achieved most seizures within 5 months of their 2022 graduation
  • Location: Sydney
  • 278 individual risk items intercepted.
Sam and Qubit.