Have you heard the saying the dogs’ nose knows? The superiority of the canine nose is surely something to be appreciated. Experts believe the olfactory bulb of dogs to be at least 40x bigger than that of humans! While all dogs have an excellent sense of smell, some are more known for their stellar noses than others. Have you ever wondered what the breeds with the best sense of smell are?
1. The Bloodhound
You may have been guessing this one. Known for their work with law enforcement as tracking dogs, bloodhounds have a top-notch nose. The bloodhound has more scent receptors than any other breed of dog. They have the unique ability to be able to track scents in both the air on from the ground giving them a distinct advantage over other breeds.
The Beagle is a breed known for following its nose. Currently, beagles are a preferred breed for many types of nose-work including searching luggage, searching for termites and many other tasks. Beagles have been trained to detect over 50 different scents.
3. The German Shepherd Dog
Probably the most easily identified breed of typically used ‘police dogs’- German Shepherds excel in the narcotics detection arena. Their intensity and drive propel them to higher levels of success in law enforcement duties than any other breed. The German Shepherd is an air-scenting breed.
4. Bassett Hound
The Basset’s low slung body gives him a scenting advantage over some of the taller breeds. His long droopy ears work to propel the scent toward his nose while the wrinkles capture the scent a bit longer. Basset’s are said to have the second best sense of smell- only behind the bloodhound.
5. German Shorthair Pointer
The German Shorthair pointer seeks with it’s nose to the ground-different than most other pointers. He is an intense hunter, moving quickly along the scent trail always remaining silent unlike some of the hound breeds who bark, howl, and bay along the way. German Shorthairs are typically used to hunt birds/fowl but can also track small mammals on land.
Coonhounds are known as some of the most persistent and dogged hunters. Historically used to hunt raccoons (hence the name) these dogs will follow the trail tirelessly to the end. There are six different types of coonhound-and each has his own specialty. Some work best on fresh trails, while others can follow a cold trail without blinking an eye. Coonhounds use their superior noses to track an animal to the base of a tree and wait there baying and barking for their owner.
7. Labrador Retriever
Labs are a popular ‘service scent dog’ meaning their fine tuned nose is great in many ways: search & rescue dogs, therapy dogs, seizure detection dogs, arson detection dogs and more. The lab is a highly trainable, food motivated, eager to please breed with an excellent nose that can be adapted in many useful ways. For hunting purposes labs are preferred for their ability to both point and track depending on owner preferences.
While we’ll agree he’s small in stature, the dachshund makes up for it in heart. This little dog is a ‘go-getter’ originally bred to hunt badgers. They’re a determined and fierce little dog in the face of vermin and will pursue until the job is done. Daschunds are one breed that are uniquely able to hunt above and below ground- they will go down into rat tunnels and badger caves after their prey.
All of these dogs have different abilities and methods of tracking their preferred scents and smells. What entices a coonhound on a chase might be something that doesn’t even register on a labradors radar. It’s a true demonstration of the great variety of breeds and the specializations within each.