The Dog Breed That Has The Best Sense Of Smell

Dogs: they're man's best friend. They're our loyal companions. They stand by our sides when times get tough, assuming that we keep feeding them our unfinished jerky sticks and scratching those hard-to-reach places. But how do they smell? In the case of the rhetorical dad-joke favorite: terrible.

With that humdinger out of the way, which canine possesses the most acute set of olfactory senses? The answer might surprise you. Probably not, but it might. Try a little optimism for once, why don't you?

And they're in a gang, so they're extra cool

Yes, the bloodhound is and has long been the dog breed with the most sensitive sniffer. Here's why that is.

Your sense of smell works like this: a creature's chemosensory system possesses these specialized cells called "olfactory sensory neurons." Every olfactory sensory neuron has an odor receptor, which is stimulated by microscopic particles floating around in the air and then tells the brain stuff like "this milk is bad" or "somebody's making kielbasa." According to the SIRC, your standard-model human being has between five and six million of these receptors. Spoiler warning for the next paragraph: that makes us seem like a bunch of chumps.

A bloodhound, by comparison, has around 230 million smell receptors. As PBS points out, that makes their sniffers sensitive enough to track a scent for upwards of 130 miles. It's this remarkable capability, along with the breed's seemingly inherent work ethic, that makes them such celebrated tracking hounds, utilized both in sport and the gentlemanly art of snitching on escaped criminals.

Of course, per the National Parks Service, if police departments really wanted to take a bite out of crime, they'd start hiring bears, which have a sense of smell seven times more powerful than a bloodhound's and have already distinguished themselves as determined public servants through their work educating people on fire safety.