10 Dog Breeds with the Best Sense of Smell
March 14, 2019
All dogs have an incredibly powerful sense of smell. However, some dog breeds have been line bred to ensure that they almost have a superpower at the tip of their nose. To get an impression of just how impressive a dog’s sense of smell is here’s a fun fact. Us humans have five million olfactory receptors, while some dog breeds have 220 million or even more. It is these receptors that dogs are able to pick up scents on a trail while they are sniffing out prey, lost people, or truffles.
If you’re looking for a dog to help you on hunts as a scent dog, you won’t go far wrong if you opt from one of these 10 dog breeds with the best sense of smell! All of the breeds on the list will be suited to a different kind of hunting or scent following, so make sure you take that into consideration before you opt for a breed. There’s also plenty more to a breed than their nose, so always ensure you do your full research.
For more information on the breeds listed in this article, you can head on over to our breed page where we have highlighted the history, use, character, and health problems of each popular registered breed. You’ll even find a few of the rare ones in there too!
But for now, we’ll give you a low down on the basics when it comes to the breed starting from the least powerful nose to the most!
Pointers are the hunter’s best friend. Not only will they be able to follow a scent, but they will also help you out and point to the prey! Pointers are best equipped to scope out birds, although they are capable than much more than sniffing out feathered things. If you are looking for a pointer breed with a powerful nose, the pointer is the best option! Unlike the German Shorthaired Pointer, the Pointer sniffs their way to the source with their heads in the air, this means that they can still keep a fairly fast pace while they are in pursuit of the prey.
- German Shorthaired Pointer
Yet another Pointer has made the list! The German Shorthaired Pointers share a lot of similarities with their cousins the pointer. Ever since the inception of their breeds, they have been renown for both their scenting ability and how easy they are to train in the field. They are incredibly intelligent animals, however, they are most highly favoured for their large noses which they use to sniff along the ground. A German Shorthaired Pointer has even become famous for its ability to track down Jaguars which is allowing researchers to carry out studies!
Coonhounds are very distinctive looking animals with super droopy ears, they may not be the prettiest of all dog breeds but they come in a lot of use on scenting trails. There are six different types of Coonhound which are Treeing Walker, Redbone, Blue Tick, Plott, Black and Tan, and English. Each of the Coonhound breeds has different abilities with their nose. Some are better equipped to work with fresh trails, these types are said to have “hot” noses. While some of the Coonhound breeds have no problem following old or cold trails.
- English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer spaniel is incredibly popular in the UK, especially within Sports. However, you will come across two different breed types with English Springer Spaniels Field bred and show bred. If you’re looking for an English Springer Spaniel for their nose abilities you will have to opt for a field-type. These are usually the breeds with liver coats. They also generally come with broader nostrils than usual. English Springer Spaniels are also charged with the very important task of sniffing out explosives. They are utilised by the police in many ways due to their ability to sniff out literally anything including human remains, beehives, drugs, and fake money. The English Springer Spaniel may just hold the title of being the most useful dog breed there is!
- Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is a fairly rare dog breed outside of Belgium. However, they are utilised a lot in the Belgian military and police force. They are also incredibly useful as rescue dogs, in more ways than one. This amazingly clever breed even has the ability to sniff out prostate cancer! Belgian Malinois dogs also have some of the same abilities as the English Springer Spaniel. They’ve also been used in the past to sniff out the occasional cheetah!
The Labrador is one of the most popular dogs to have as pets all across the globe. But did you know that they also come with their very own superpower?! And we’re not talking about their ability to keep you company! They have an incredibly powerful nose which has been led to them being utilised for many jobs including bomb detection and search and rescue.
- German Shepherd
German Shepherds make for some of the handiest working dogs around, they are used in the fields for herding sheep, as well as helping out in the police force where they can make the best use of the 225 million scent receptors which are in their nose! Just like the Pointer breed, the German Shepherd is known as an air-scent hunter they don’t need to keep their nose to the ground to be able to pick up a scent. This is because they pick up scents which are carried in the wind! This is what makes them perfect for the military and helping out as part of a search and rescue team!
Most hounds are fairly sizable, but the Beagle proves that size definitely isn’t everything. Even as one of the smallest of hounds, they boast the same number of receptors as other breeds such as German Shepherds. However, they tend to be a little more affectionate! They are able to follow both ground and air scent. If you’ve been through an American airport recently, you may have seen the dogs sniffing out restricted items! People aren’t usually able to get much past Beagles! They can be trained to detect up to 50 different odours.
- Bassett Hound
This French hound is possibly the breed of dog most equipped to keep their nose to the ground, they’re already pretty much there anyway thanks to the small stature of the breed! Their small stature is also how they came about their name! “bas” means “low” in French. Although their ears are one of the most visually distinctive features for this breed, its all about the nose! They also come equipped with a loose flap of skin underneath the chin, this helps the breed to trap the scent! That’s incredible!
It’s not up for discussion, the Bloodhound is one of the best-equipped dog breeds when it comes to their powerful noses! They have over 300 million scent receptors, that is more than any other dog breed which has been studied! The bloodhound is most renowned for their ability to scent trail people, which is why you will have seen so many films with policemen and the military following their nose. Just like the Bassett Hound, it doesn’t matter whether the scent is in the air or on the ground, they will be able to pick it up easily! It isn’t only their noses which make them the perfect tracking dog. Their long droopy ears also come in handy when it comes to sweeping the scent from off the ground around the loose skin on their neck. Bloodhounds were literally designed to follow trails! Endurance is definitely no issue for them either! They have almost unparalleled senses of smell.