Titles & Awards

The NACSW currently offers three national title levels for dogs & handlers competing in the sport of K9 Nose Work®: Nose Work 1, 2, and 3, as well as Element titles at the NW3 level, and an NW3 Elite title. A title is awarded for passing all four elements of competition in one trial day, and must be earned before advancing to the next level of competition. See the left side bar for detailed descriptions and title parameters.

NW1: recognizes proficiency in one target odor

NW2: recognizes proficiency in two target odors and increases the difficulty level with larger search areas, more hidden odors, and more environmental distractions

NW3: recognizes proficiency in three target odors and greatly increases the difficulty level  

NW3 Element titles: achieved by successfully completing an individual element three times at the NW3 level. For example, completing the NW3 level container search element at three different trials earns an NW3-C. Earning all four element titles is not equivalent to earning an NW3 title, which requires passing all four elements in one trial day

NW3 Elite: achieved by earning three NW3 titles

Element Specialty titles: beginning in 2013-2014, dogs & handlers will have the opportunity to earn new titles for competing in trials that focus on just one or two elements of competition. These Element Specialty trials could include longer searches or a greater number of searches than a typical element in an all day trial, or they could feature the element searches in unusual or more challenging environments.


In addition to titles, dogs & handlers can earn awards for individual element placement and overall placement in NACSW sanctioned trials.

Harry Award: this award is presented at each NW1 trial to the most outstanding rescue dog that demonstrates extraordinary ability and spirit in K9 Nose Work. The Harry Award is named in honor of Harry the Beauceron, a noble rescue dog, and one of the original K9 Nose Work dogs. Harry unexpectedly lost his life on August 5th, 2008. Harry showed great talent for K9 Nose Work, and shared a special bond with his handler, Penny Scott-Fox. Learn more about the Harry Award and read stories submitted by handlers of Harry Award winning dogs.        


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