TAGS: sense of smell | rankings | dog breeds

The Dogs With the Best Sense of Smell - Top 5 Breeds

25 Nov, 2022

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No matter what kind of dog you have, there is no doubt that they have a keen sense of smell. Being able to track and hunt prey was essential for a wolf's survival, so even though most of our pups have no real need to hunt for their own food, their strong sense of smell never left them. We all know how much our dogs love to sniff around, and this is because they pick up so many different scents ranging from food particles, to other animals, to just about anything else. While all dogs have a great sense of smell, this list shows us the breeds that are a cut above the rest.


#5 - Labrador Retriever


Labrador Retriever dog

Labrador Retrievers are incredible working dogs and rank number 5 on our list for the best sense of smell. The combination of the Lab's high intelligence and great sense of smell make them fantastic service dogs. They are frequently used in vital roles such as bomb detection in the military, search-and-rescue missions, and many more. Let's just say if they can sniff out bombs, your secret treat stash probably isn't so safe after all…

#4 - German Shepherd


German Shepherd Dog

German shepherds, like other working dogs, thrive on having a job to do. Their incredible sense of smell works in their favor as it has earned them many highly valued jobs. While notorious for police/military work, such as searching for drugs, these dogs are also commonly used as guidance/therapy dogs. In recent history, the German Shepherd became especially famous for bravely searching through the ruins after the 9/11 attacks to assist in locating survivors. The German Shepherd will love playing sniffing-related games; however, with their smelling capabilities, it will be pretty tough to challenge them!

#3 - Beagle



The Beagle is among the best when it comes to sense of smell. Their compact size, weighing 18-30 pounds, combined with their 220 million scent receptors, make them perfect candidates for hunting small prey. While this scent receptor fact is meaningless to most of us, a better understanding comes when comparing it to the mere 5 million for humans! Interestingly, the Beagle is widely used today in airports across the world. This is because they can sniff out contraband while people are passing through, but at the same time, they do not intimidate anyone. This is a plus for keeping people calm and also often catches people off guard. For example, a German Shepherd is a clear danger sign which will have smugglers turning around immediately, but the Beagle, often unnoticed, catches them with their pants down.

#2 - Basset Hound


Basset Hound

The Basset Hound is an incredible animal. They have an incredible sense of smell and were initially used for hunting. The composition of the Basset Hound's body dramatically facilitates its ability to pick up scents and to hunt. Their low-set ears drag on the ground to pick up scents, the loose skin on their heads further traps any scent molecules, and their long upright tails allow hunters to see them when they are working in tall grass. In addition, their short legs, which is actually a form of dwarfism known as achondroplasia, allow them to be close to the ground at all times, which helps them when they are tracking. When it comes to being the best hunting partner, the Basset Hound is undoubtedly among the best.

#1 - BloodHound



The Bloodhound is the dog breed with the best sense of smell. These incredible animals have approximately 230 million scent receptors - 40 times more than humans. To put this into perspective, it is estimated that the Bloodhound's sense of smell is at least 1000 times better than humans. Given their incredible abilities, the Bloodhound today is primarily used for police-related work and is often included in search and rescue teams. These pups can follow a scent for miles on end. However, the Bloodhound will also make a great friend who will surprise you daily with their unbelievable capabilities.



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