Sniffer dog

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Search dog of the Bavarian police
At a Russian-Finnish border crossing (1997)

A sniffer dog is a dog that has been trained to specifically detect and track odors for specific tasks.


Detection dogs have been used in hunting for centuries. There are a number of different specialized hunting dogs , one of which is the bloodhound .

Service dogs

Detection dogs are used as service dogs by the police and customs, among others. Possible specializations of service dogs are for example

  • Explosives detection dogs for searching for explosives
  • Addiction detection dogs for searching for addictive substances
  • People tracking dogs for searching people. There are specializations in mantrailing and tracking dogs and service dogs, which are neither specialized in one nor the other of these two forms.
  • Corpse search dogs, also known as corpse detection dogs, for searching for dead people.
  • Detection dogs for tracking down larvae and beetles of the Asian longhorn beetle , a dangerous wood pest and neozoon
  • Cash sniffers who specialize in large amounts of paper money.
  • Data carrier detection dogs for searching for USB sticks, CDs, hard drives, SIM cards etc.

Dogs in disaster control and rescue services

Mantrailers are used in the rescue service to search for people. Rescue dogs are also used to search for people in rubble, snow or water ( water rescue ). Corpse detection dogs are also used in disaster operations.

Sniffer dogs in medical use

Because of their well-developed sense of smell, dogs are able to smell changes in humans that are medically important. Dogs are used as companion and warning dogs. This includes dogs that have been specially trained as epilepsy dogs or diabetic warning dogs . Dogs are also able to smell various changes that are associated with cancer and thus, if trained appropriately, indicate these changes .

Detection dogs in building hygiene use

To find hidden mold damage specially trained mold sniffing dogs are used in buildings. So-called bed bug detection dogs are used to track down flat bugs not only in buildings, but also in airplanes as part of ground controls.


For the search for truffles dogs (in addition to pigs) are trained and used, which are known as truffle dogs. One breed that is used here is the Lagotto Romagnolo .


Specially trained corpse search dogs are also used in archeology .

Individual evidence

  1. Photo: RIA Novosti archive, image # 20245 / Sergey Kompanichenko / CC-BY-SA 3.0
  2. ^ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung : Cash detection dog at the airport ( online ), accessed on January 18, 2013.
  3. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung : How does a USB stick smell? ( online ), accessed December 7, 2019.
  4. M. McCulloch: Diagnostic Accuracy of Canine Scent Detection in Early- and Late-Stage Lung and Breast Cancers. In: Integrative Cancer Therapies . 5, 2006, pp. 30-39, doi: 10.1177 / 1534735405285096 .
  5. Canines' Cancer-Sniffing Snouts Showing 90% -Plus Accuracy. on on May 19, 2014
  6. Jasmin Wallner, Christian Hanus, Gerhard Führer: The "Schimmelspürhund" measuring instrument. In: Hazardous substances - cleanliness. Air . 72, No. 3, 2012, ISSN  0949-8036 , pp. 94-98.
  7. Bed bug detection dogs | The Bed Bug Foundation. In: Retrieved October 31, 2016 .
  8. Angelika Franz: Unearthed - News from Archeology: Detection dogs explore the Indian Valley of the Dead. Der Spiegel , July 21, 2012, accessed December 4, 2013 .
  9. Wera Engelhardt: Flintstone sniffed out human bones. Mittelbayerische , November 26, 2018, accessed November 27, 2018 .