A person perceives the world primarily through visual images, while the dog’s universe consists of many smells. The sense of smell in dogs is much better developed than all other senses, because their brain is initially configured to process odor, and not visual information.
Features of the sense of smell of dogs
In terms of the acuity of smell, absolutely any dog surpasses the representative of the human race many times. A fine canine scent is capable of capturing tens of thousands of different odors, while clearly distinguishing them even at the smallest concentrations.
The animal actively collects odor information using the special structure of the olfactory organs. The moveable dog’s nose has side cutouts that allow information to be collected from the air not only from the front and side, but also from the back. The nostrils are folded in a special way, and the animal does not even need to turn its head. The maximum coverage sector is about 130-150 °.
On average, a dog’s brain is 10 times smaller than a human’s, but the area responsible for the sense of smell is 40 times larger than the olfactory lobe of the human brain. The ability to identify odors is almost 10 thousand times higher. The ability to sniff, expressed in several cycles of respiratory movements from 3–7 intense inhalation of air, makes it possible to obtain more data for analysis.
The mucus that covers the nasal cavities from the inside serves mainly to capture the odor molecules from the air and move them to the receptor cells, and not only to cool the nose. The epithelium with special receptor cells lining the mucous membranes of the nose is only 0.006 mm thick in humans, while in canines it reaches 0.1 mm.
The total weight of the olfactory bulbs is 4 times that of humans, and they themselves are much larger. The total area of catching odor receptors in dogs is about 390 cm2 (everything is determined by the length and size of the dog’s muzzle), while their owners have no more than 7 cm2. The number of olfactory cells in dogs of different breeds varies from 125 to 300 million, in homo sapiens there are no more than 5 million.
Nature has endowed dogs with a very unusual vomeronasal organ located in the mouth (on the palate). It is assumed that this small tubercle captures pheromones, which are practically not identified by the human nose. Although the true purpose of the vomer-nasal organ, as it is also called, is still not exactly known.
Video: how dogs see the world with their nose
Which breed of dog has the best scent?
The ability to smell is very different from one dog to another. Consider a few of the world’s most recognized dog sniffers.
Calm and slightly phlegmatic.
The Bloodhounds are champions of dogs in terms of smell. With the help of its large and wide nose, which has a powerful scent, a dog can take a trail left by a person after 10-12 days, sometimes despite various weather phenomena (rain, snow, wind, etc.) and other people who have visited this place … Thanks to this exclusive quality, the breed is used not only for hunting, it is in demand in the police service and in the Ministry of Emergencies in search and search operations, as well as as rescue dogs during natural disasters.
As true hunters, Bloodhounds are capable of persistently and tirelessly pursuing prey. But this breed is devoid of zoo-aggression and is not subject to attacks of irrepressible rage, characteristic of most hunting dogs and prompting them to vomit their prey. The pursuit of prey in the understanding of this intelligent animal seems to be an interesting logical task, not murder or violence.
The name of the breed Bloodhound literally means “blood hound”. But this does not mean the ability to pursue a wounded animal on the left blood trail, but the purebred and nobleness of the breed.
Small mischievous beagles are hounds.
Their excellent scent is legendary, and the passion for the study of smells is considered the most important quality characterizing this hunting breed. Going out into the street, the dog buries its nose in the ground and learns the world through the smells left behind.
The passion of representatives of this breed for olfactory searches often leads them far from their owners, which is fraught with the loss of a pet, and also leads to the selection of various dangerous objects and food debris. Used for practical purposes, beagles with the utmost precision search for illegal drugs (drugs, explosives, etc.), harmful insects and contraband food.
Possessing the finest sense of smell, dogs are indispensable when searching for people after an earthquake or avalanche, in minor detective work and in the police.
German Shepherd Dog
A versatile and multifunctional, large and serious service dog, whose amazing olfactory system has been used by humans for good purposes for more than a decade.
The maximally heightened possibilities of smelling allow the use of shepherd dogs in various services:
Quite often, German shepherd dogs participate in the odorological examination, when the smell of the determined samples is compared with the smells already known to the dog. The animal sequentially sniffs all samples, and then sits down (lies down) near the recognized sample.
Small, cheerful and agile.
Spaniels, always sticking their curious nose everywhere and easily crawling into the most inaccessible places, have an extremely delicate flair. The hunting dog distinguishes and classifies many smells, this ability has been honed by many generations of dogs looking for birds and other animals. In addition to hunting, spaniels specialize in the search and detection of explosives and drugs.
Goldens, as golden retrievers are often called, according to some sources, surpass the fineness of German shepherd dogs (by 25%). They have a unique scent that allows them to spot shot game in the most impassable places and even densely overgrown swamps. The ability to clearly recognize and distinguish smells makes retrievers in demand at customs, in the police, at border checkpoints to search for weapons, drugs and various prohibited items. A keen sense of smell has made this friendly and docile dog an indispensable assistant to rescuers, as he helps to look for people under the rubble.
Russian scientists have bred a unique breed of dog specifically for the fight against terrorism. This mongrel-like dog is actually the result of long-term selection, the latest biological weapon to fight terrorism.
Dogs – descendants of the wild jackal and northern husky – smell even the smallest particles of explosives. Some call them jackal-laiks or simply shalikas. This breed does not yet have an official name. Breeder Klim Sulimov spent 25 years on the creation of this breed. Selected animals with the sharpest sense of smell.
As a result, he managed to cross “ice” and “flame”: a subtropical jackal from the North Caucasus and a husky from the Arctic. According to Sulimov, these animals have exploratory qualities that have already been lost in domestic animals. The scent of jackal-huskies is 50 times thinner than that of other dogs.
Dogs perceive the world in a completely different way than humans. The canine universe consists of many different smells. Some of the canines in terms of smell are gifted by nature a little more, others a little less, but in any case, a person has a very rough idea about this amazing smelling sea.