Dogs rely on their sense of smell to interpret their world around them- similar to the way humans depend on their sight for everyday activities. A dog’s nose works by interpreting as much information as a pair of human eyes. Their nose works by smelling an object or another animal, which allows them to process more information, beyond the visual. A dog's brain also works with the nose and coordinates to identify specific scents. The percentage of the dog's brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is 40 times larger than that of a human. Dogs can identify smells between 1,000 to 10,000 times better than humans can.
As the dog catches fresh air, their nose helps capture any scents which the breeze carries. Each scent helps to determine the direction of the source of the smell. The dog will start to become aware of not just what kind of things are out there, but also where else they’re located around the surrounding area.
As air enters, a dog’s nose works by separating the air into two separate flows, one for breathing and one just for smelling. This second airflow enters a region filled with highly specialized scent receptor cells, creating swirls of air that helps to draw in new odor molecules and allow different odors to build up over multiple sniffs. A dog’s nose works together with the brain to process and filter information. Humans have about 5 million cells dedicated to smelling alone; yet dogs have up to 220 million. Dogs also have four times the brain power devoted to processing and targeting scents. For example, we smell a “beef stew,” but a dog can smell each of the individual ingredients in that stew.
Top 10 Dogs W/ the Best Sense of Small
Bloodhounds are built to be the perfect tracking dog with over 300 million scent receptors, more than any other breed. They can follow a scent on the ground, as well the air, which makes them the ultimate tracking dog.
2. Basset Hound
Basset Hounds are of French origin. Their long ears sweep the ground, bringing the scent upward to their powerful nose, which helps to trap the scent, keeping it easily accessible in their scenting abilities.
Beagles can follow both ground and air scent. They are the smallest of the hound breeds. Many of the Beagle dogs are employed in the agricultural and protection sectors in airports to detect contraband and other illegal items that may cause harm.
4. German Shepherd
German Shepherds are known to have over 225 million scent receptors in their nose. They specialize in air scent while keeping their heads ups for additional scents that may be carried by the wind. These breeds are popular among family dogs, as well as law enforcement. They are typically employed by the police, search & rescue, and the military.
5. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are amongst the most popular dog breeds in the United States. Labs can be found working in many scent related jobs that includes searching for drugs, bomb detection and search & rescue.
6. Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois are common among the military forces, work beside the police personnel, and various search & rescue teams due to their broad and distinct sense of smell. Their talents range from the ability to detect prostate cancer in humans and even sniff out explosives.
7. English Springer Spaniel
This breed of dog is mostly known as “sporting dogs”- used by hunters for their good sense of smell and nose. English Springer Spaniels are highly trained to detect odors that include narcotics, explosives, human remains and fake currencies.
9. German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthair Pointer has great scenting and trailing capabilities. Their talents stem from their show dog obedience training, search & rescue and tracking trials.
Hunters admire the Pointer breeds for their hunting abilities. This breed has the best nose of all the pointing breeds.
Scent Training Games for Dogs to Work Their Nose
Below are fun games to teach your dog in order to exercise the use their nose. Exercise is just as important for dogs as it is for people. Their sense of smell reacts the same way a muscle would- building up more strength and conditioning. It helps them stay healthier, better behaved or prevents them for overtly acting hyper.
Games for dogs to help put the nose to work…
- Nose Work Class
- Dog Training Utility Class - Scent Discrimination
- Scent Tracking Classes
- Practical Dog scent training
The best thing about scent work is that your dog is able to do what they love and what nature intended. This is not only great exercise, but it can also be a bonding experience for the dog owners and their beloved allowing them to actively put their nose to work. It provides your dog with mental and physical benefits.
Max K9 offers Scent Sport Training on Long Island, NY! For more information on fun and natural ways to engage in your dog’s sense of smell visit the Scent Sport Training programs.
Sniff & Enjoy!