Labradors and beagles were chosen by AFCD as the most suitable breeds for their friendly and outgoing nature and excellent sense of smell. Each dog has been carefully selected to join the programme. A dog is capable of screening more than 300 people per hour. Initially, the Quarantine Detector Dogs of this Programme were mainly handpicked from Australia. In recent years, officers of the Quarantine Detector Dog Team have also chosen suitable dogs from among the abandoned ones at AFCD’s Animal Management Centres and local animal welfare organisations for further training.
Having an extraordinary sense of smell (said to be at least 100 times more acute than human beings), they are gentle and cooperative with people and can remain calm even in the commotion at the entry points. As such, they have been well received by travelers who see them as welcoming and non-threatening.