According to experts, a dog’s olfactory bulb is said to be 40 times that of a human’s!
So needless to say, dogs are undisputable when it comes to smelling and sniffing things. While all dogs have a great sense of smell, there are some dog breeds that are more known for their exceptional sniffing abilities compared to the other breeds. No wonder, they prove to be useful for man especially in the fields of law enforcement, search-and-rescue work and hunting, among other things.
The bloodhound almost always tops the list of the best sniffers in the canine world. It’s because it has the most olfactory sensors compared to any other dog breeds, which enable the animal to discern a target’s smell over great distances. Plus, its large, drooping ears and loose, wrinkly body trap the scent particles off the ground, which then fly into its nostrils. These unique physical characteristics of the bloodhound definitely add to its tracking capabilities.
It was originally bred for hunting wild animals such as deer and wild boar, but the bloodhound’s role has evolved to tracking humans ever since the Middle Ages. Thus, bloodhounds nowadays are mainly used for search-and-rescue work.
Like the bloodhound and many other specific breeds known for their superior smelling ability, the beagle was originally bred for hunting game. But because of its amazing sense of smell and tracking instinct, the beagle is used for many types of sniffing jobs such as searching luggage and locating vermin like rats and termites. It has been trained to detect over fifty kinds of odors — such an awesome ability that belies its small size.
3. Basset Hound
The Basset Hound is also a keen sniffer. Its name is derived from the French word Bas meaning “low” due to its low-slung body, which gives the Basset Hound a great advantage over the other breeds. Its big, long and pendulous ears as well as its wrinkled face and body help trap the scent, which goes into its nose.
4. German Shepherd
Although they’re not classified as hound dogs, German Shepherds nevertheless have an excellent sense of smell. And that is one of the properties that make them perfectly suited for law enforcement, detective and military work. German Shepherds are an “air-scenting” type of dog breed, meaning they can track their target’s scent that is carried by the wind (instead of the ground).
Coonhounds were originally bred specifically for hunting raccoons (hence the name) and other arboreal animals such as oppossums, even bears and cougars. It makes the coonhound as a “treeing” dog; it chases other animals up a tree, thus trapping them. The dog stays under the tree and continues to bark at the quarry until its owner comes and shoots it (or otherwise captures it unharmed). This is where the idiom “barking up the wrong tree” originated from, by the way.
6. Labrador Retriever
A Labrador Retriever is not the first dog that comes that to mind when talking about breeds with an excellent sense of smell. Nonetheless, they also possess a super-sensitive nose that makes them ideally suited for certain jobs like search-and-rescue and narcotics/contraband/bomb detection. A Labrador Retriever is not just a retrieving type but is also a pointing type which is known for its instinct to point and track towards its prey — the very reason why they were originally bred as gun dogs. Another good thing about Labs is that they’re highly trainable, so their exceptional sense of smell can be used to great advantage by their handlers.
The dachshund’s intelligence and amazing abilities make up for its small stature. Apart from its long body, the dachshund’s keen sense of smell enables it to hunt above as well as below the ground — this little guy loves to burrow like there’s no tomorrow! It’s the dachshund’s unique trait that’s not found in any other dog breeds. It is best suited for hunting burrowing animals such as wild rabbits, which destroy farmer crops.