Do Some Dog Breeds Have Better Noses Than Others? - We Save Dogs Life

Do Some Dog Breeds Have Better Noses Than Others?


ALTHOUGH ALL DOGS have fine scent recognition abilities, their talents can be improved through selective breeding. The Beagle, Basset Hound, and Bloodhound are good examples showing that sensitivity to odors is, at least partly, genetically determined. These dogs have been bred as specialists, with not only a special ability to detect and discriminate scents, but also a passion to follow, track, and explore odors.
The bony ridge inside the dog’s nose that contains the smell-detecting cells varies in size, depending on the overall size of the dog’s nose. Dogs with longer and wider noses have more of this surface available; dogs with smaller noses or flat faces and short noses, like Pugs and Pekingese, have a smaller surface area in this portion of the nose and therefore simply don’t have the room for as many scent-detecting cells. For example, Dachshunds have about 125 million smell receptor cells, while Fox Terriers have 147 million and the German Shepherd Dog has about 225 million.
Some dogs, in particular the dogs that we call “scent hounds,” have noses that are designed to be very wide and deep in order to pack the largest number of odor-analyzing cells into the available space—even if the dog itself is not very large. Thus, the very scent-oriented Beagle, which normally weighs in at only about 30 pounds and stands only 13 inches at the shoulder, has the same 225 million scent receptors as the German Shepherd Dog, which is twice the size of the Beagle, at 75 pounds and a height of 24 inches. The grand champion of scenting is the Bloodhound. These big-nosed dogs check in at about 300 million scent receptors in their noses.
How do the numbers of scent-detecting cells in dogs compare with those in humans? Human beings are not very smell oriented, in part because we have noses that contain a paltry 5 million smell-analyzing cells. In other words, the average human being has a nose that contains only 2 percent of the number of odor-analyzing cells that can be found in the nose of the little Beagle.
The dog’s scent-detecting ability has one additional quirk: for reasons that are not completely clear, male dogs seem to have better scent discrimination than female dogs. Some behavioral scientists have suggested that this is not because the male dog’s nose is more sensitive than the female’s, but rather because he is simply more interested in and focused on smells, such as the scent of a female dog who is in heat or may be sexually receptive.

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