McBaine detects ovarian cancer tissue.

Early Detection

Detecting ovarian cancer early can have a great impact on overall survival. Penn Vet working dogs train in ovarian cancer detection.

Penn Vet working dogs are driven to work.


Drive is most clearly defined as a willingness, vigor, or enthusiasm to engage in certain behavior, contexts, or situations.

Puppies in training at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center

Basic Training

Puppies start training from the day they join the Working Dog Center at 8 weeks. After a firm foundation, they specialize.

Penn Vet Working Dog training for search and rescue


Penn Vet working dogs start their training at a young age. This six-month-old yellow lab is becoming an expert at search.

Penn Vet Working Dogs get their exercise

Fit to Work

Penn Vet working dogs are bred and trained for fitness and excellence.

Penn Vet Working Dog Center

Britty and Bretagne, Penn Vet Working Dog CenterOpened on September 11, 2012, the Penn Vet Working Dog Center serves as a national research and development center for detection dogs.

With the United States national security under constant threat from attacks, detection dogs are still the best tool that we have to detect and mitigate potential threats. Search dogs are also critical for the detection of victims of natural and man-made disasters.

As pioneers in the working dog field, our goal is to increase collaborative research and the application of the newest scientific findings and veterinary expertise to optimize the performance of lifesaving detection dogs.

Working Dog Center

  • Ph: 215-898-2200
  • Fx: 215-463-3870 
  • 3401 Grays Ferry Ave., Bldg. 6179, Philadelphia, PA 19146
  • Get directions...


Dr. Cindy Otto, DVM/PhD

Meet Penn Vet Working Dog Center founder, Dr. Cindy Otto.


Learn More About the Working Dog Center

Research at Penn Vet Working Dog Center

Our Research

To improve our nation’s ability to produce, train, and maintain these valuable canine partners, we develop and conduct research to evaluate health, validate training methodologies, and provide evidence-based recommendations to be applied throughout the industry.

Training and Breeding Programs

Breeding & Training

We offer a foundation program, teaching our dogs the basic skills necessary for a successful career in detection. In addition, we believe that we can identify and select for better and healthier dogs with a breeding program in this country.

K9 Performance Medicine

K9 Performance Medicine

The Penn Vet Working Dog Center K9 Performance Medicine service is designed to meet the fitness, conditioning, and rehabilitation needs of the working and performance dog community.

 About the Penn Vet Working Dog Center

About Our Center

Our goal is to increase collaborative research, scientific assessment, and shared knowledge and application of the newest scientific findings and veterinary expertise to optimize the performance of detection dogs.


 Get involved at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center

 Get Involved

The Penn Vet Working Dog Center is self-sustaining through individual, government, foundation, and corporate gifts and grants.



  News, Events, and Stories

News & Events

Get the latest news about the Working Dog Center. What we do - train, breed, and research working dogs and how they tick - is important to our national security and public health.


What our dogs do

Satchmo at Work
  • Prevent crime and acts of terrorism, working alongside military, police, TSA, and the Department of Defense to find explosives and narcotics
  • Rescue victims of accidents or disasters, using expert search-and-recovery skills
  • Detect medical conditions such as ovarian cancer and alert people with diabetes when their blood sugar is out of normal range

What sets us apart

Penn Vet Working Dog Center puppy
  • Collaboration with top minds at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the Monell Chemical Senses Center, Department of Defense, and Customs and Border Protection, among others
  • Innovation in collecting and analyzing genetic, behavioral, and physical data, and integrating the latest scientific findings to optimize the success and well-being of detection dogs
  • Sharing knowledge broadly with the medical and working dog communities as well as animal-lovers of all ages