- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Transportation Security Administration is favoring floppy-eared dogs over pointy-eared ones when it comes to working with airline passengers because they appear less intimidating, according to a new report by the Washington Examiner.

About 80 percent of the 1,200 canines employed by the TSA are ones with floppy ears, or sporting breeds, such as Labrador retrievers and German short-haired pointers. The other 20 percent are working breeds and have pointy ears, such as German shepherds and Belgian Malinois, the Examiner reported.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske said sporting breeds are best for working with people because their floppy-eared appearance poses less of a threat.

“We’ve made a conscious effort in TSA … to use floppy ear dogs,” Mr. Pekoske said during a recent tour of operations at Washington Dulles International Airport northern Virginia, The Examiner reported.

“We find the passenger acceptance of floppy ear dogs is just better. It presents just a little bit less of a concern,” he added. “Doesn’t scare children.”

TSA dogs are tested on three criteria: health, ability to detect odors, and disposition toward people, the Examiner reported. While the dog’s ears won’t alone disqualify it for hire, it does factor in where the dog will be stationed. Of the 1,200 TSA canines, one-third screen passengers at airports and the rest work with luggage, not people, the Examiner reported.

TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told the outlet that the move toward sporting breeds was part of an informal internal decision and that no official document on the change was issued.

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