Detector Dog Ulf Declared Top Dog By The Aussie Government

Ulf, a Brisbane Airport-based detector dog for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, has been given the 2020 Top Dog award for his outstanding performance in keeping the country’s agriculture safe.

Ulf, one of 42 biosecurity detector dogs working across Australia’s international airports, is a six-year-old yellow labrador who works hard to keep the country safe from products that could harbor disease, viruses, or even invasive species of bugs and flora.

According to his 2020 statistics, he boasts over 400 recorded detections, spotting over 80 different commodities such as fruits and meats that could have potentially been biosecurity risks.

Over the past year, Ulf has been hard at work at Brisbane airport, Brisbane mail facilities, and Port of Brisbane. Throughout his career, he’s managed to sniff out a series of strange discoveries such as the seeds of foreign plants hidden away inside a booklet, brown marmorated stink bugs living inside an imported forklift, and even cactus seeds. 

Thanks to his efforts and reliability, Ulf has been declared “Top Dog of 2020” by the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. 

Ulf posing for the camera as he receives his Top Dog award.
Photo credit: Facebook/Australian Biosecurity

Biosecurity detector dogs play an important role in keeping the country safe from contagious foreign diseases. David Littleproud, the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management has stated that any of the 13,500 risk items these dogs detected over the past year could have threatened Australia’s environment, agriculture, and community health. 

In 2020 alone, detector dogs were able to screen 15,706,488 mail items nationally. “There are currently 42 biosecurity detector dogs working across our international airports, mail facilities and wharves to screen incoming passengers and goods for potential biosecurity risks, including those that carry exotic pests and diseases” says Mr Littleproud, who adds that dogs are both man’s best friend, and that detector dogs are therefore agriculture’s best friend. 

Throughout his career, Ulf managed to detect 27 different cases of African swine fever, a contagious and viral disease that was fatal to pigs and boars. Thanks to his help, biosecurity was able to issue infringements, sparing swine across the country from a potential epidemic. 

Given his expertise, Ulf has been described as “reliable” and an “allrounder”, and his adaptability and diligence earned him the title of Top Dog 2020.