OT: Dogs sense of smell

6 stinking cool facts about dog noses
Dogs can sniff out disease and analyze new odors even as they exhale. But how?

1. Dogs' sense of smell is between 10,000 and 100,000 times as potent as humans’. This power comes in part from the up to 300 million olfactory receptors dogs carry around in their noses, compared to our mere 6 million. And the part of the canine brain that is dedicated to smells is 40 times larger than ours, proportionally speaking.

But given some of the things our dogs have sniffed and rolled around in, their sense of what smells good is about 1,000,000 times worse than a humans. It is an interesting article in spite of that glaring oversight.

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their sense of what smells good is about 1,000,000 times worse than a humans.

That’s an interesting and anthropocentric way of putting it.

Who has the right to say, objectively speaking, that a pile of poop smells worse than a carnation?

Doodlebugs, dogs and houseflies, who considerably outnumber us, beg to differ.


A few days ago, my usually reliable 11 year old border collie/ German shepherd, Cliff, ran off while walking in the neighboring woods and didn’t recall. I went home with my spaniel, Jazzy, since Cliff knows better than I do how to return home on his own.

The following morning, I walked into my office and said, “OMG! What’s that horrible smell!”

In the corner, next to Cliff’s bed, was a large, light brown heap of rotted flesh with a broken bone embedded in it. Probably deer. Who knows how far away the dead animal was when Cliff’s sensitive nose detected the enticing, irresistable odor of the carcass.

That doesn’t include the time Cliff vomited a heap of elk poop onto my valuable wool rug.

Or the times that Cliff (and other dogs, including darling little Jazzy) came home with their neck coated in deer or elk poop, having just rolled in that delightful disguise of the predator’s smell.

Put it in the category of “just being a dog.”

By the way, Jazzy’s sense of smell is much more sensitive than Cliff’s.


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Recreating a dog’s olfactory nerves in electronics will achieve an enormous breakthrough in advanced technology, possibly greater than optical lenses and microphones combined.

david fb


See episode #1 of the new “off leash” podcast titled “Smell” to get one expert’s opinion on dog’s sense of smell. And some ~scientific info.