A dog’s nose has an amazing sense of smell. It can pick up the most minute molecule that no human being can. A dog’s nose has over 300 million olfactory receptors, and their brain is dedicated to analyzing each molecule. A dog’s sense of smell can trigger memories, too. It can easily identify a person by their body odor.

You’ve heard of bloodhounds hunting for criminals in stories, tracking their scent, and eventually catching the perp. But how far can a dog track a scent?

How Does A Dog Smell?

The sense of smell is important to dogs. Dogs rely on their sense of smell to identify its environment and communicate as well. Find out how far can a dog track a scent with the dog’s nose’s characteristics:

  • A dog’s nose has two air passages. When a dog breathes in, the air divides into two different passages. One passage is mainly used for inhaling air, and the second passage is used for smelling.
  • Humans only have six million receptors, while dogs have almost three hundred million receptors for smell.
  • Whenever a dog breathes in, it analyzes the scent. Every time it breathes out, it makes room for new odors to go into the nose.
  • A dog’s nose works differently than a human’s. Humans smell the same scent through both nostrils, but a dog’s nostrils work independently. A dog can figure out which direction the scent came from.
  • Dogs have a second nose called the Jacobson’s Organ. It is an olfactory organ that humans do not have.
  • The Jacobson’s organ is found at the bottom of its nasal passage. Aside from scents, it also picks up pheromones.
  • Dogs take longer and deeper breaths when breathing, but they sniff when they want to smell something,
  • Did you know that whenever your dog’s nose is wet, he is still smelling? The mucus in his nose absorbs every molecule he breathes in.
  • Whenever your dog licks his nose, he also gathers scent particles that are found in his mouth and tongue.
How Far Can A Dog Track A Scent?

What can influence a dog’s sense of smell? These natural factors affect how far can a dog track a specific scent:

  • Temperature – When it’s dry and hot, dogs find it hard to track scents. Dogs track scents better during spring or fall when the ground is cooler.
  • Weather – A heavy down-pour can be difficult for dogs to track, but a light rain enhances the scent.
  • Wind Direction and Wind Speed – Wind is a helpful helper for a dog’s nose. The wind carries scents to and from the object of source.

A dog’s nose can pick up scents as far as 40 feet underground and can even pick up scents that are 80 feet below water. Their nose is so gifted in sniffing that they can smell odors over an hour old up to trails that are a week old.

Can You Escape A Dog’s Scent By Jumping In The Water?

Can a dog’s nose go through cement? So how far can a dog track a scent through concrete? A well-trained dog can smell through 15 feet of thick concrete.

But have you ever heard or have seen in the movies about criminals escaping the police and their hounds by jumping in the river?

This is a myth. A well-trained dog can smell anything in the water. If you submerge yourself in a moving river and hold your breath, a dog can still smell you from above.

What Happens When A Dog Can’t Smell?

Dogs rely on their sense of smell to understand what’s happening around them. So when you are traveling, it needs its nose to navigate and interact in the world. When a dog can’t smell, it will literally go “nose blind.”

Nose Blindness can happen to a dog when it suddenly can’t smell. When that happens, it will seem like they have gone blind. It is similar to humans suddenly losing their sense of sight. Dogs do not understand what has happened to them when they go nose-blind and will continue to rely on their nose even when they can’t smell anything.

A dog’s instinct, no matter how strong an odor is, is to smell it. Nose Blindness can be prevented by protecting your dogs from harsh chemicals such as bleach.


No matter how many times in a day you shower, to a dog – you smell. You have a unique smell identifier that your dog can recognize miles away. But don’t be offended! Your dog still loves you and has already imprinted memories around your scent. You can train your dog to be the best sniffer in the world, too. It will take patience and continuous scent training. Don’t underestimate your dog. You’ll be amazed at how far can a dog track a scent.

When you understand why smelling is important to a dog’s life, you will also begin to care for your dog’s well-being so he won’t become nose-blind. Are you excited to test out your dog’s smelling skills? We hope you enjoy reading this article. Every time your dog sniffs the air, be curious, and wonder what he smells that you can’t! Find out more about dogs.

The Best Sniffers In The World

Your best friend may be the dog’s best sniffer, but these dog breeds earn the top ranking worldwide:

  1. Bloodhounds – They are born to track!
  2. Basset Hounds – They won’t stop until they find the source of the scent.
  3. Beagles – They’re hired to sniff out illegal items in airports.
  4. German Shepherds – These dogs use their noses to track explosives.
  5. Labrador Retrievers – Labs assist hospitals when a patient has medical concerns.
  6. Belgian Malinois – They also have a talented schnozz in finding explosives and illegal items.
  7. Bluetick Coonhounds – These fellows love to hunt for raccoons.
  8. Black and Tan Coonhounds – They’re the dogs you call when the trail is cold.
  9. Golden Retrievers – They detect odors in the air rather than the ground.
  10. Dachshunds – This small breed can identify differences in the dirt!