Dogs with Jobs - Detection dogs

Updated: Nov 17

Dogs With Jobs – Detection Dogs



In our next blog in our ‘dogs with jobs’ series, we are going to look at another very important role that our doggy friends can play in keeping us safe – when they work as detection dogs.


What is a detection dog?

A detection dog, also sometimes called a sniffer dog, is an animal that is specially trained to use its senses to detect and find certain substances. There are lots of different things that dogs can be trained to detect, from wildlife and missing humans to blood, illegal drugs and even explosives! Most detection dogs work in law enforcement, although a small number work to detect medical issues like Coronavirus.


The main reason that dogs make such good detectives is that they have a much better sense of smell than we do. In fact, a dog’s nose is about fifty times more sensitive than our own. However, they still need a lot of training to become detection dogs and their handler will spend a lot of time developing this skill before they can start work. Most detection dogs live with their handler permanently and this gives them time to build a strong bond as well as complete lots and lots of training practice.


Popular breeds of detection dog

Although all dogs have exceptional senses, some breeds have the best type of personality for becoming detection dogs. Some of the most popular breeds of sniffer dog include:


  • Beagles

  • Bloodhounds

  • Springer Spaniel

  • German Shepherd

  • Labrador Retriever



Where do you find detection dogs?

Detection dogs can work in lots of different places. You are most likely to see them at transport hubs, like airports, train and tube stations and coach terminals. However, police also regularly use them at large events like concerts and shows. They will also take them to a crime scene if they feel that there may be clues or evidence that only a dog’s nose can uncover. Park rangers and search and rescue teams also use dogs to help them recover people and property.


If a sniffer dog sniffs me, have I done something wrong?

Many people worry that if a detection dog sniffs them, they will be found to have done something wrong (even when they haven’t!). This isn’t true. Even the most experienced detection dogs can need to sniff you a few times to decide whether or not they think you are carrying or have been in contact with something that they are looking for.


Want to see some detection dogs in action? Check out Taipan and Udon, detection dogs working in airports in Australia. Meanwhile, in Canada, Jagger is busy sniffing out large sums of money and has discovered more than $70 million during his career! Finally, here in the UK is Oli, the four-legged crime-fighting fur ball that detects illegal drugs coming through Heathrow airport.



To read more in our dogs with jobs blog series, or to enjoy more information about our canine companions, sign up to the Zara Dog Dog Club today!


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