Noses Know Best: Dog Breeds with Exceptional Sniffers - Pet Hub USA

Noses Know Best: Dog Breeds with Exceptional Sniffers

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Every dog has an amazing sense of smell. Dogs can tell what you had for breakfast yesterday. They know where you’ve been based on the smells still lingering on your clothes. Even still, some breeds have more sensitive noses than the average dog. These are the ten dog breeds with the best sense of smell.


black and brown Dachshund standing in box
Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash

Dachshunds were bred for hunting, which means they were selected for their sharp sense of smell. Despite their adorably stubby legs and goofy-looking length, they’re fantastic hunting companions. They also make great working dogs thanks to their background.

Golden Retriever

Shallow Focus Photography of a Golden Retriever
Photo by Garfield Besa on Pexels

The iconic and stunning Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in North America. It’s also surprisingly good at detecting smells in the air, rather than on the ground. Goldies are often employed by search-and-rescue teams when the ground trail for a missing person goes cold.

Black and Tan Coonhound

Black And Tan Coonhound” by Krysta is licensed under CC BY 2.0

As their name implies, Black and Tan Coonhounds were bred to hunt raccoons. They’re capable of trailing based on scent and follow an initially strange-looking zig-zag pattern when zeroing in on a target. Like Golden Retrievers, they’re often brought in to find missing people.

Bluetick Coonhound

Bluetick Coonhound dog
Bluetick Coonhound dog” by is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Bluetick Coonhound was also selectively bred to create a capable raccoon hunter. They’re uniquely talkative while tracking, barking to alert their owners to the presence of the trail. They’re “cold-nose” trackers who can pick up scents from up to a week earlier, bounding through the underbrush to sniff out their mark.

Belgian Malinois

brown and black short coated dog on brown grass field during daytime
Photo by Anthony Duran on Unsplash

The regal and elegant Belgian Malinois strikes an imposing figure. This breed is often employed by military and police organizations to detect explosives or illicit substances. Their naturally protective nature and impeccable sense of smell make them particularly prized as law enforcement dogs.

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Labrador Retriever

black short-coated dog sitting in between concrete railings during daytime
Photo by Ben Hanson on Unsplash

Labrador Retrievers, like their Golden Retriever cousins, can detect smells in the air with startling accuracy. They’re often employed by doctors to detect medical issues in patients. In fact, Labs’ noses are so sensitive that they can smell chemicals produced by cancer cells before the cells show up in normal tests.

German Shepherd

black and tan german shepherd on green grass field during daytime
Photo by Anna Dudkova on Unsplash

Like the Belgian Malinois breed, German Shepherds are often used by law enforcement to detect dangerous ordnance and illegal materials. They’re also commonly seen working with first responders to detect victims buried under rubble after earthquakes or building collapses. These strong, athletic dogs are irreplaceable in their roles.


brown white and black short coated dog on green grass field during daytime
Photo by Jaspal Kahlon on Unsplash

Beagles are small and adorable, but don’t let that fool you. They’re also expert trackers who were bred for the hunt. Their unassuming appearance also makes them favorites of customs agents and other professionals who need to detect illegal substances while still interacting with the general public. The Beagle can find dangerous or illegal materials all while bringing smiles to the average people they encounter.

Read More: Secrets That Only Your Dog Knows About You

Basset Hound

brown and white short coated dog on green grass field during daytime
Photo by Casper Coomans on Unsplash

Basset Hounds are extremely cute, with their big floppy ears and droopy jowls. They’re also some of the best trackers in the world, capable of following scents even after heavy rain and across running water. Their small stature belies their true nature as strong, energetic trackers who can spend hours on the trail without tiring.

Read More: 10 Heroic Facts About Police Dogs


Bloodhound Trials Feb 2008 -79
Bloodhound Trials Feb 2008 -79” by Contadini is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It should come as no surprise that the iconic Bloodhound has the best sense of smell of any dog breed in the world. They were bred specifically to track animals during a hunt, and they still excel at running down fugitives, finding missing people, and hunting. If you’re looking for a tracker, you can’t ask for a better companion than a bloodhound.

Read More: 10 Things Your Dog Can Sense Before You Do

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