The Dog's Nose Knows

The Dog’s Nose Knows Odorology

Odorology, or the science of smells is a method of identifying human scents by highly trained dogs.

Odorology has been used for a long time by police departments for locating:  

  • drugs
  • explosives
  • weapons
  • bodies of missing persons
  • criminals’ identification
  • locating bodies buried under avalanches

Odorology has been used in France since 2003 in police forensic investigations to identify the odor of a suspect at a crime scene. The method is based on the fact that each person has their own scent and relies on the powerful canine sense of smell (which can be 200 to 10,000 times more sensitive than that of a human being). 1

At the end of a twenty four month training program, results show that the dogs are able to recognize the smell of an individual in 90% of cases and never mistake it for that of another!


1 Marshall and Moulton, Chem Senses,1981; Krestel et al., Neurosci Biobehav Rev, 1984.


Journal Reference:

Sophie Marchal, Olivier Bregeras, Didier Puaux, Rémi Gervais, Barbara Ferry. Rigorous Training of Dogs Leads to High Accuracy in Human Scent Matching-To-Sample Performance. PLOS ONE, 2016; 11 (2): e0146963 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146963

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