Meet Eebbers: Winner of the TSA’s “Cutest Canine” Contest

(Photo credit: yacobchuk/Getty Images)

A TSA screening dog from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport won the organization’s “Cutest Canine” competition, reports CNN.

Eebbers, an 11-year-old child Vizsla-Labrador mix, won out of 92 contestants. Over the past month, the TSA has been running a contest on various social media platforms encouraging the public to vote for their favorite puppy. After all the votes were tallied, Eebbers emerged as the clear winner.

The cutest canine officer

Eebbers are passenger control dogs. With his dog handler, they check the travelers and their luggage to detect possible explosives. This pup knows his stuff, though. Eebbers has worked at Minneapolis Airport for nearly 10 years. On top of that, he’s the last dog born in the TSA’s “Puppy Program” that hasn’t retired.

The program began the day after September 11. With the creation of the TSA, government officials knew that establishing a standardized screening program to provide high quality detection dogs would be essential.

The program was based at the TSA Dog training center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. At 10 weeks, puppies move into area foster homes to be properly socialized. After their first birthday, they return to the military base to begin serious training.

To date, the TSA has discontinued the program. However, they continue to breed ambitious puppies in this area, with an average of 325 dogs graduating from training each year.

A life of service

Eebbers’ resume is impressive in every way: he’s been part of critical safety for “two Super Bowls, the Special Olympics World Games, an NCAA football national championship game, and the NASCAR Indianapolis 500.” On a darker note, Eebbers’ namesake is in memory of a 19-year-old Army Pvt. 2 James Henry Ebbersdied in action during Operation Enduring Freedom.

And while we’re sure Eebbers still has a few more years of service left in him, he could also have a future in modeling. The adorable pup will grace the cover of the TSA’s 2023 Canine Calendar.