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Celebrating 100 years with hundreds of dogs

Training superhero dogs

As the nation’s largest property insurer, State Farm®  understands the impact arson can have on businesses, communities and public safety. That’s why in February of 1993, State Farm started an initiative to make it easier to investigate and prove arson . . . with some wagging tails.

An accelerant detection canine, or arson dog, is trained to detect and locate trace amounts of ignitable liquids such as gas or fuel. The average dog’s nose is tens of thousands of times more sensitive to odors than a human nose. The part of a dog's brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than a human. That is truly a superpower.

Training Superhero Dogs

The first State Farm Arson Dog Program class was held in February 1993 in Gray, ME, where five handlers were trained under the guidance of Maine State Trooper Paul Gallagher. Since then, over 435 arson dog teams have been trained for fire investigation and placed in 46 U.S. states, three Canadian provinces and the District of Columbia. Paul, now a retired trooper, and his company, Maine Specialty Dogs, still train all the dogs and handlers in the State Farm Arson Dog Program. Outside of state or federal agencies, there is no other company in North America providing funding for the acquisition and training of accelerant detection canine teams.

Nearly 30 years after that first training class, the State Farm Arson Dog Program is stronger than ever. In April 2022, the program graduated and certified 17 new arson dog teams for departments in the U.S. and Canada. The class also reached a historic milestone. To celebrate the 100 year anniversary of State Farm, the Arson Dog Program now has 100 certified arson dog teams operating in North America. Our mission is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. Sometimes it takes the nose of a dog to help make that a reality.

About State Farm®:

For over 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and 67,000 employees serve over 91 million policies and accounts – including auto, fire, lifehealth, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for rentersbusiness ownersboats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the 2023 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit

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