If you spent any time in an airport over the holidays, you may have noticed. I say “may have” because they’re just beginning to make their changes, but it’s going to happen. They’re doing away with their pointy-eared 4-legged inspectors, and going towards more floppy-eared pups.
One of the reasons given is because dogs with pointy ears tend to “scare children.” David Pekoske is a TSA Administrator, and he says “We find the passenger acceptance of floppy ear dogs is just better. It presents just a little bit less of a concern… Doesn’t scare children.” Essentially, the TSA is going to use more floppy-eared dogs in airports to make travellers feel a little more comfortable. The TSA say they aren’t “ruling out” dogs because of pointy ears – they’re still screening all of them. They just seem to be doing what they can to choose more floppy eared ones.
The breeds in question are “Labrador Retrievers, German Short-haired Pointers, Wirehaired Pointers, Vizslas, and Golden Retrievers.” These breeds are considered “sporting dogs.” They’re chosen because, well, that’s what breeders are breeding. Over the past year, 80% of the new dogs the TSA has acquired are these sporting dogs. Typical “working dogs” (German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois-es) make up only 20% of dogs chosen. See some more information over here.