A sniffer dog named Ulf has been awarded the Top Dog award for keeping Australia's agriculture industry safe.
The Brisbane based Yellow Labrador made 400 biosecurity detections in 2020, including 27 African swine fever detections that all resulted in infringements.
The 7-year-old detector dog has been praised for his work ethic and reliability after COVID-19 forced most sniffer dogs to be redeployed from airports to mail pathways.
Regarded as an allrounder, Ulf has sniffed out a wide range of items in varying quantities, strength of smell and locations. These included seed pods in agricultural machinery, live potted plants, small pieces of plant material in people's pockets, concealed seeds in clothes lining and of course meat.
Throughout 2020 Australia's detector dog fleet intercepted approximately 13,500 risk items nationally and screened 15,706,488 million mail items with Ulf leading the pack.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said any of the items detected could have threatened and damaged Australia's $61 billion agricultural industries.
"Detector dogs are a vital part of Australia's defence against damaging biosecurity threats," Minister Littleproud said.
"With detector dogs redeployed to primarily screen the mail pathway in 2020, biosecurity risks at ports without a dog continued to be effectively managed through alternative screening methods.
"Top dog Ulf worked at Brisbane airport, Brisbane mail facilities and Port of Brisbane and detected over 80 different commodities last year.
"The most common items found by the detector dogs in 2020 included seeds and nuts, fruit and meat.
"Some unusual finds included concealed seeds that were taped to the inside of a booklet, brown marmorated stink bugs on an imported forklift and cactus seeds mis-declared as window decorations.
"The detector dogs also detected meat products which could carry a range of exotic diseases including foot and mouth disease, a highly contagious virus disease of animals and one of the most serious livestock diseases.
"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.
"Dogs are man's best friend and detector dogs are agriculture's best friend, protecting our valuable industries from foreign pests."