What Dog Has the Best Sense of Smell?

by Naomi Millburn
    "I smell pizza ... but there's no pizzeria around."

    "I smell pizza ... but there's no pizzeria around."

    mercedes rancaAo/iStock/Getty Images

    Dogs in general have undeniably strong senses of smell, whether it comes to detecting remnants of last night's dinner in the trashcan or even sniffing for diseases in human beings. One specific breed stands out from the rest of the pack, however, and that is the bloodhound, native to France.

    Bloodhounds are scent hounds who are frequently employed in the legal field due to the power of their noses. These big, sweet-natured canines appear in a variety of coat colors, including red, reddish-brown, beige and black, and they generally achieve heights of 23 to 27 inches at the shoulder. Besides their noses, bloodhounds are also memorable for their physical appearances, with exceptionally loose and saggy-looking skin, droopy ears and large heads.

    When it comes to recognizing and picking smells apart, the skills of bloodhounds are unmatched, notes the Westminster Kennel Club. Their noses are made up of roughly 230 million smelling cells, notes the website for PBS Nature. The olfactory talents of specially trained bloodhounds are so trusted that they are often used as proof in courts. Bloodhounds can remain on the paths of specific smells for days at a time, even when they are at remote distances, and they can focus on one path and one smell for more than 130 miles.

    Although bloodhounds certainly excel, dogs in general have admirable smelling abilities. On the whole, doggie smelling is considered to be roughly 1,000 times more potent than that of people, indicates the website for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Dogs of various breeds use these abilities to their advantage -- working alongside humans in police departments and airports. Some breeds that are frequently used include German shepherds, golden retrievers and Belgian Malinois dogs. Mixed breeds are also common.

    Although bloodhounds may have the strongest noses in the canine world, they are not alone in their categorization as "scent hounds." Other scent hounds include Ibizan hounds, basset hounds, foxhounds and beagles. Scent hounds tend to have longer mouths and noses, as well as nostrils that are accentuated in appearance -- a visual clue of their olfactory expertise.

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    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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