Detection Dogs

Here at Canine Detection Solutions, we have expertise in a broad spectrum of scent detection disciplines including explosive, drug & conservation detection dogs. We have brought together this skillset to offer you dogs trained to the highest standard in Japanese Knotweed detection.

We are a dedicated detection dog company who has expertise in the area but offers a completely independent service with no treatment work offered.

We work all around the UK.

Japanese Knotweed Detection Dogs

  • Even trained surveyors can miss Japanese Knotweed below ground when it has been effectively controlled and managed using herbicide – our detection dogs can find it reliably, even when the treatment history of a site is missing or patchy.
  • Similarly, when Japanese Knotweed has been covered up by accident, or on purpose, it can be overlooked, particularly during residential property surveys – our dogs can find it in places that people would find it difficult to access.
  • In areas of the UK where Japanese Knotweed is prevalent, it may be advisable to have us take a look at the property before you buy to provide peace of mind. Areas where knotweed is widespread include:
    • London – old industrial areas and near Victorian gardens and nurseries
    • Southwest England – Cornwall being a well-known hotspot
    • Northwest England
    • Wales – the South Wales Valleys and urban areas in particular
    • Scotland and Ireland are also impacted in and around urban areas
  • Large landholdings and development sites often have patchy treatment histories and there may be Japanese Knotweed belowground – our dogs can search these sites much quicker than people and find knotweed which people would struggle to locate!
  • Site access isn’t a problem – dense vegetation, riverbanks and waterlogged ground are all much more accessible to our dogs than they are for people!

Detection Dogs Continuous Testing

  • Our dogs are trained with target plants (i.e., Japanese Knotweed and other Schedule 9 invasive knotweeds) and we use plants commonly present with knotweed as distractions. Examples of distractor plants include Docks (Rumex spp.) which are closely related to knotweed and moss, which is often found growing in and around knotweed patches (particularly following effective control).
  • As part of our continuous testing and detection dog development programme, we are working with scientists to build on our skills, experience and detection results – please check out our recent case study which we undertook at the Advanced Invasives research facility (ai:LAB)


  • We provide our services to public and private clients throughout the UK and Ireland.
  • We can work with your estate agent, solicitor, contractor or with you directly to see if there is Japanese Knotweed growing in your residential property.
  • On large sites, we can search the entire site for you cost-effectively and make sure that the knotweed risks associated with your purchase, sale and/or development are reduced.
  • Where there is a patchy treatment record, we can help you to see where Japanese Knotweed might still be alive belowground – this can save you a lot of time, money and effort managing it in the later stages of the development process.
  • Get in touch to see where we can help you with Japanese Knotweed, saving you time and money and providing you with peace of mind.

Japanese Knotweed and other invasive knotweeds covered by the law

  • Japanese knotweed has well-proven negative impacts in the UK environment.
  • Because it is very difficult to kill, it is easily spread and there are laws against moving soil containing its roots (‘rhizomes’), it is expensive to manage and/or remediate.
  • Costly management processes mean that its presence on your land can cause you problems – it is better to know what the extent of the issue is sooner rather than later as costs associated with its management are greater when you have to deal with it quickly.
  • What does it look like? The images below show Japanese Knotweed shoots emerging in spring, growth in summer, flowering in autumn and the dead stems in winter. Though knotweed looks like Bamboo, it is quite different and viewed differently under the law.
Japanese Knotweed Red shoot buds emerging in early spring

Red shoot buds emerging in early spring.

Japanese Knotweed Stems beginning to grow and produce leaves in late spring

Stems beginning to grow and produce leaves in late spring.

Japanese Knotweed full growth in summer

Full growth in summer.

Japanese Knotweed flowers in autumn

Flowers in autumn.

Japanese Knotweed dead stems in winter

Dead stems in winter.

  • There are a number of other invasive knotweeds which might cause you problems; however, this is not a problem, as our dogs can detect all of the key UK invasive knotweed plants! See here [https://gov.wales/japanese-knotweed-controlling-it-your-land] for detailed knotweed identification information provided by Welsh Government.