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If you own a dog, you will know its sense of smell is outstanding. But even if you don’t own one, this fact is a no-brainer. Remember watching scooby-doo sniff around for clues to crack the mystery at hand? Have you ever watched dogs sniff suitcases at the airport?

Dogs perform various tasks apart from just being pets. It is astounding to know that today dogs are also being used to detect cancer. But we will discuss more of this later.

The nose of a dog and its miraculous powers are also utilized in military forces, search hunts, finding criminals, etc. And it is just because dog noses are exceptional at identifying odors.

Of course, some dogs are better at identifying scents than others. So, we decided to make a list of the dogs with the best sense of smell so that you know who is the most talented among the lot.

But before we delve into that, let us look at some other equally exciting information about the snout of a dog and its unnatural superpowers.

What Makes The Dog Nose So Powerful?

So you might sit there and wonder, ‘I also have a nose, but what do dogs got that I don’t?’

Well, actually, they got a lot going up against their noses. Even though the anatomy of a dog’s nose is similar to a human’s nose, they have approximately 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses. Yes, you read that right. And no, we aren’t exaggerating it.

Olfactory receptors play a central role in the sense of smell. And sadly, humans have only 6 million olfactory receptors in their noses.

Moreover, the part of the brain that is dedicated to decoding and analyzing odors is 40 times greater in dogs than in humans. These facts make dog noses super sensitive. They can detect elements at concentrations of one part per trillion.

To understand more, let us dig further inside a dog’s nose. Don’t worry; we don’t mean it literally. The functionality of a dog’s nose is also different than that of a human. Humans smell and breathe from the same airways inside the nose. However, dogs have a fold of tissue inside their nose that helps separate the function of smelling and breathing.

In addition, when dogs exhale, the air sent out exits through the gaps on the sides of their noses, which also helps bring in new odors into the dog’s nose. This structure means dog noses sniff scents continuously when inhaling and exhaling.

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Thirteen Dogs With The Best Sense Of Smell

Now that we understand what a magic dog nose does, let us get to the crux of this discussion: dogs with the best sense of smell.

If you are a dog lover, there might be several kinds of dogs that you know and can identify. But do you know them according to the prowess of their noses? We guess not.

Here we list down some of the dogs with the best sense of smell:



If you want to know one dog that is pretty serious about its sniffing work, it is the bloodhound. This breed’s sniffing powers are so strong and accurate that now even the court accepts their findings. As a result, they are the most common breed used in law enforcement agencies.

Bloodhounds are by far the champions of the sense of smell. They can smell a track from more than 130 miles away. They can also identify odors that are even 300 hours old. Imagine being able to sniff on someone’s delicious perfume even after 13 days.

How fantastic is that? In addition, researchers now claim that a bloodhound’s sense of smell is 1000 times stronger than a human.

They have a whopping 300 million scent receptors in their noses, the highest in the canine world. These receptors help the bloodhound create an ‘odor image’ when they smell an object, such as an item of clothing or shoes. A variety of smells, such as the scent of skin, breath, or sweat, help create the odor image. A human nose is unable to smell these scents.

Once the odor image is there, bloodhounds look for matching tracks or clues. Even their long ears help them catch in the smell. As a result, they can catch scent trails even with the numerous other odors in the environment.

And now you know why a bloodhound’s sense of smell is unrivaled.

Bassett Hound


Talking about bloodhounds, let us not forget their adorable cousins, the Bassett Hounds.

The sense of smell of a Bassett Hound comes only next to the bloodhound. However, their smelling powers are otherwise excellent, and they are one of the dogs with the best sense of smell.

They resemble bloodhounds but are stouter in stature. In addition, their long ears and droopy faces help trap odors and play essential roles in their fantastic sense of smell. All this and more is what helps bloodhounds ace in tracking scent trails.

Bassett hounds are stubborn by nature, which means if they are onto a scent, they will make sure to track it down. They have around 220 million smell receptors. Dating as early as 1500, Bassett hounds were initially bred to hunt by the French monks. The name Bassett means low, indicative of their shirt physique.

If you have a Bassett hound as a pet, clean their eyes and ears more often. Even though it is a blessing, these long ears are highly prone to infection.



Do you know which dog breed the oh-so-famous Snoopy is? It is a Beagle.

Beagles are friendly dogs with happy personalities. But while you may take them lightly, they are powerhouses for identifying odors. For example, a beagle can be trained to identify 50 distinct smells.

Beagles have been assisting humans as early as the fifth century. They are fantastic hunting dogs and are a part of the hound family.  

This dog breed has 45 times more smell receptors than humans. A Beagle’s nose is moist and cool to the touch. It plays a fundamental part in their sense of smell by dissolving air molecules in the air and fetching them into the Beagle’s nose.

The structure of the nose is such that it helps trap scents inside the nose even when Beagles exhale air out. Also, their long and sturdy necks allow them to effortlessly put their nose to the ground and go on their sniffing spree. With 225 million smell receptors in their noses, Beagles have earned a deserving spot among dogs with the best sense of smell.

German Shepherd


You might have commonly seen a German Shepherd at an airport or maybe with a law enforcement agency such as the police. It is because German Shepherds rank top among the dogs with the best sense of smell.

Not just that, according to Kennel Club, German Shepherds are a pretty popular dog breed among dog owners. It is because they are easily trainable, intelligent, and faithful friends.

Coming back to our point, German Shepherds have approximately 225 million smell receptors. They can identify odors from a mile away. But it’s not only that. German Shepherds can also detect scents 40 feet underground and 80 feet underwater.

Search and rescue teams essentially have German Shepherds as trackers because they are too good at this job. But you can also see them in bomb and drug detection squads since their sniffing prowess is too accurate.

Belgian Malinois


When it comes to the sense of smell, the Belgian Malinois gives good competition to other dogs on the list. They also have around 225 million scent receptors and are pretty athletic.

If you are considering owning a Belgian Malinois as a family pet, think again. Even though they are committed, loyal, and great with their sniffers, they require a lot of physical and mental training. As a result, you would have to take them on hikes, jogs, or other outdoor activities. They are not ideal for indoor setups.

Belgian Malinois are perfect for becoming police dogs or a part of the bomb detection squad.

Golden Retriever


Who doesn’t love the gold-colored cheerful golden retriever? They are adorable and have all our hearts. But are they also good at picking up scents? Yes, they are.

If you own a golden retriever, you might have noticed your dog sniffing a lot. And you might wonder why they do it. So let us solve the mystery for you.

A Golden Retriever’s sense of smell is high compared to its other senses, such as touch, hearing, etc. Therefore, they take in most of the information about the environment through their noses.

Also, dogs are blessed with an additional olfactory system known as the vomeronasal organ or Jacobson’s organ. It is located right under the dog’s nasal passage. This vomeronasal organ in dogs is specially designed for chemical communication.

So the next time your dog senses you are depressed or happy, they are not picking up on your energy. Instead, your Golden Retriever is just catching on to the chemicals released in your body.

Golden Retrievers can identify specific odors from 20 kilometers away. They can also detect scents from 30 feet underwater and 15 feet under the ground. Pretty impressive, eh?

Labrador Retriever


Firstly, Labradors are a top-rated dog breed in the United States. They are great as family pets and are very affectionate towards their owners.

Labradors also have a great sense of smelling and retrieving objects. They do excellent in search teams since their intelligence and the will to please help them track accurately. They are also responsible dogs which means they are great at sensitive tasks such as tracing human bodies in a rescue operation.

Labradors have more prominent noses than other dogs, which allows them to soak in scents better. They also have bigger olfactory bulbs in their brains which help them process more odor information. And consequently, they also sit here as one of the dogs with the best sense of smell.  

Black and Tan Coonhound


We have one more from the hound family here. Hounds have a special place when it comes to dogs with the best sense of smell.

Black and Tan Coonhounds are excellent hunting animals. They were first bred in America to hunt down rabbits and squirrels. They can hunt even under challenging conditions and terrains. These cold-nosed hounds will not give up unless they track their prey.

These hounds require daily physical activity and training. Even though they are suitable as family pets, they still need extensive regular exercise to stay healthy and happy.

German Shorthaired Pointer


Apart from catching smells accurately, pointers also have this unique ability to face in the direction of their prized finding. Hence, the name.

German Shorthaired Pointers are highly athletic and are often seen in search and rescue teams, thanks to their fantastic sense of smell. They move their nose on the ground to track scent trails and have a large nose that helps in fetching odors.

English Springer Spaniel


The next on the list is the English Springer Spaniel. These dogs have an excellent sense of smell, and if appropriately trained, they have a lot of potential to excel in various tasks.

They originate as early as 1800, and the Kennel Club is known to identify them in 1902. English Springer Spaniel is one of the dogs with the best sense of smell in the canine world and is often seen in airports as sniffers. 

Recently, English Springer Spaniel can now assist men in detecting cancer and other diseases. So this powerhouse of a nose that they own is now not only to search and find, they can help doctors save lives.



Harriers are also a part of the hound family and were quite famous in the past when hunting was a thing. They have an excellent sense of sniffing, so they were a popular breed among hunters.

These dogs have a steady pace when sniffing, but they persistently reach their target.

English Foxhound


English Foxhound is one out of the four foxhound breeds. Though these dogs are not popular as family pets, they are quite a celebrity in the hunting world. Hunters bred them to hunt down foxes and these dogs are highly committed to their job.

If we date back to 1800, specialists recorded more than 240 hunting packs were in the UK. They are pretty active and need regular exercise to stay upbeat and cheerful. As a result, they are not ideal as family pets. However, active families can find a great companion in the English Foxhound.

Redbone Coonhound


Last but not least, the Redbone Coonhound. This dog breed originates from red foxhounds that came into the United States through Scottish immigrants.

The Redbone Coonhound has a warmer nose as opposed to the colder noses of their cousins, the Blood Hounds. They are fast, which helps them chase their target and makes them really good for hunting.

Since they belong to the hound family, it is a no-brainer that they also score a spot in our list of dogs with the best sense of smell.

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Dogs With The Best Sense Of Smell – Who Wins?

Now we know that dog’s sense of smell is extraordinary. But do all dogs have similar abilities when it comes to sniffing? No.

Different breeds have a varying sense of smell, with some highly sensitive to odors while others are just good at it. But generally speaking, all dogs have a better understanding of smell than us humans.

They have up to 300 million olfactory receptors, while humans have a meagerly 6 million. So no competition there, right? The insides of a dog’s nose are also slightly different than ours, which makes their noses highly sensitive to catching odors.

Wrapping it up, we have listed above some of the dogs with the best sense of smell. But if you ask us who the winner is, we will say the Blood Hound.

This is because they have the most receptive noses with the highest 300 million scent receptors among all dog breeds.

So now you know why these Blood Hounds get some glamorous jobs at the Law Enforcement agencies.