What Are Five Dog Breeds With the Strongest Sense of Smell?

The top five dog breeds with the best sense of smell include bloodhounds, basset hounds, beagles, German shepherds and Labrador retrievers. Of these, the bloodhound is probably the best scent dog, with a nose containing over 300 million scent receptors.

Dogs have extremely sensitive noses and the ability to pick up scents that humans could never detect. This ability has led to people to use dogs for hunting, tracking and even detecting chemicals and drugs. Of the many dog breeds in existence, some have a much better sense of smell than others.

  • Bloodhounds
  • The bloodhound has a keen nose and ability to scent people on the ground, through the air or in the water. They are one of the oldest breeds used for scent tracking. Modern courts even allow evidence found by bloodhound police dogs to be used in a court case.

  • Basset hounds
  • Low to the ground, Basset hounds have an up close and personal interaction with scent. These long-eared dogs are considered the second best trackers. This should be obvious since they are practically designed to get right down into dirt with their short legs and long noses.

  • Beagles
  • The beagle is a happy-go-lucky dog with a good attitude and excellent sense of smell. Beagles are popular for use in law enforcement and security, especially in scenting drugs and chemicals. Beagles have up to a 90 percent success rate and are capable of scenting 50 different smells.

  • German shepherds
  • The German shepherd has about 225 million scent receptors and is well-recognized in law enforcement. These dogs are great at air scenting and are used to find people, drugs and bombs.

  • Labrador retrievers
  • Last but not least is the labrador retriever, which has a friendly personality and a good nose. Labradors are used for finding people and drugs, and can even be trained to detect cancer.