PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Penn Vet Working Dog Center announced it will partner with the Department of Homeland Security for the research and breeding of purpose-bred explosive detection canines.

This endeavor will use data gathered by the TSA breeding program in order to determine the most significant genetic and behavioral characteristics of explosive detection dogs.

Dr. Cynthia Otto, Executive Director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, says, “These remarkable dogs play a crucial role in ensuring public safety. As we gain a deeper understanding of their population genetics, we can further improve their work-related behavior traits and traits that are critical for canine health and longevity.”

The Working Dog Center, along with Dr. James Bell, Director of the 401 K-9 Program and Director of the International Canine Semen Bank, will provide care and shelter to eight adult breeding female Labrador Retrievers and up to 50 puppies every year.

Two of the dogs will be kept at the Working Dog Center in Philadelphia and six will be housed at Dr. Bell’s breeding facility in Castroville, Texas.

The doctors will then provide their research and analysis of the data associated with the observation of the canine health and performance.

Each dog will be evaluated for its potential as an explosive detecting canine.

The partners will also research possible genetic links to behaviors related to the dog’s hunting ability.

“This is truly a collaborative effort. We’ve assembled some of the best minds in the nation to evaluate and advance the health and performance of these working dogs,” Dr. Otto said.

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