Man’s best friend is being put to work more and more often. Scent detection is a popular route for the career-minded pooch. Dogs can sniff out so many different smells, including bombs, drugs, bedbugs, different types of foods, missing people, and much more. Here are some of the top dog breeds for scent detection.
The basset hound was purposefully bred to be a skilled sniffer. Originally from France, these pups are built to follow a scent until they locate the source. Their floppy ears and characteristically droopy eyes are no coincidence—their ears pull smells from the ground to their noses, and their droopy skin helps trap scents. Basset hounds often work as hunting dogs and search-and-rescue dogs.
Bloodhounds have over 300 million scent receptors, more than any other breed of dog. This makes them amazing at scent-tracking. Much like basset hounds, they can track ground scents, but they can also follow scents in the air. Bloodhounds are popular choices for search-and-rescue dogs.
Beagles are small but mighty dogs. They are friendly and known to be great with children and other pets. Once they’re fully trained, they’re also adept at listening to commands without protest or difficulty. Originally bred to hunt rabbits, beagles have expanded into more careers: they’re often employed as bed bug detection dogs and by TSA security to sniff for food and other prohibited items.
There are a lot of types of coonhound, but they all excel at sniffing. These pooches can detect even the faintest scent. Bluetick and redbone coonhounds are known for their ability to pick up “stale” scents, or scents that are fading. Black-and-tan and treeing walker coonhounds are known to follow new scents with amazing persistence. You’ll most often find coonhounds working as criminal tracking dogs and search-and-rescue dogs.
German shepherds are known for their tracking ability and natural protection instincts. They’re extremely intelligent dogs, and they can track a human scent by the wind. They’re well-known as police dogs, but they’re also popular choices for many other positions, such as drug- and bomb-sniffing dogs and military dogs.
Scottish terriers are small and regal-looking dogs known for being great detectors. They can detect movement humans can’t see, and their famous eyebrows provide shade and clear views. They’re a bit difficult to train, but they’re great trackers—they follow scents relentlessly. Scottish terriers are often employed as truffle-hunting dogs, scouring forests for the elusive and expensive truffle mushroom.