How Far Can A Dog Smell – All About Your Dog’s Nose!

How Far Can A Dog Smell- Everything To Know About Your Dog's Nose!

Irrespective of the breed, dogs have an incredible sense of smell. As per various research studies, it has been found that dogs can smell and hear up to 100 times more than human beings. Also, you will be surprised by the fact that dogs have 300 million olfactory receptors. On the other hand, we have only 4 million of them. Well, this figure was more than enough to indicate how far can a dog smell compared to humans. However, let us still learn specific details about the smelling sense of dogs in general.

A Brief and General Discussion On How Far Can A Dog Smell!

Talking about dogs in general, it is believed that they can smell a scent from up to 12 miles away. This means that every dog has the capability to catch a smell that falls within the diameter of 19 kilometers around them. However, this is just an average figure based on various studies. Additionally, there are breeds with an exceptional sense of smell, way higher than both; human beings and other dog breeds as well. Let us discuss some of the best ones.

Five dog breeds with the best sense of smell!

Listed below are five dog breeds that possess extreme smelling power. 

Dog Breed Name Smelling Power (in Miles) Smelling Power (in Kilometers)
Blood Hound 130 Miles 209 Kilometers 
German Shepheard 20 Miles 33 Kilometers 
Pitbull  19 Miles 30 Kilometers 
Beagles   15 Miles 24 Kilometers 
Golden Retrievers  14 Miles 22 Kilometers 

1. Bloodhound- a dog breed with the most potent sense of smell. 


Bloodhound is the only breed with an exceptional sense of smell. No other dog breed can compete with Bloodhound when it comes to catching a scent from the air. The reason we are saying this is because a bloodhound can smell from up to 130 miles. This means if you own this breed, your bloodhound baby will catch your smell even if you are 209 kilometers away. Additionally, as per the research, it was noted that a bloodhound can sense a particular scent smell even 13 days after they came across it.

2. German Shepard

German shepherd- how far can a dog smell

The German Shepherd is one of the best sniffing dogs, with an incredible sense of smell. German Shepherds are believed to catch a scent from up to 20 miles away in favourable conditions. Additionally, they are capable of smelling up to 40 feet underground. Also, German Shepherds significantly contribute to the overall average figure of how far can a dog smell. This is because they can smell up to 80 feet in the water. Well, this is the reason why German Shepherds are preferred as police dogs and in the narcotics area.

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3. Pitbulls

Casper- The Pitbull

The Pitbull is another exceptionally strong breed on our list with a fantastic sense of smell. They have a strong smelling sense due to which they can smell from up to 19 miles away. However, it is believed that Pitbulls have very sensitive ears. Hence, all the factors affecting their smelling sense should be in an appropriate condition. This will facilitate the Pitbull dog catching a scent from his capable distance.

4. Golden Retrievers 

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers do not only make excellent family dogs. Instead, they are one of those dog breeds with the best sense of smell. As per research, it was found that Golden Retrievers can sense a scent from up to 23 kilometers away. This means their smelling sense works up to 14 miles away. Irrespective of an object, person, thing, or dead body, a Golden Retriever will sense everything that is present in the desired smelling range. 

5. Beagles 

5. Beagles 

Did you know those tiny, cute-looking creatures with extra large ears are one of the best sniffers? They have the ability to sense a smell from 15 miles away. Contradicting with their size, they are one of the best dog breeds with a strong sense of smell. However, there are some conditions applicable to the smelling sense of Beagles. It is noted that they hate the smell of citrus. Hence, we cannot expect the desired results from a Beagle if the air contains a sour, citrus smell. So, Beagle owners, remember to include this point when answering on the smelling power of your Beagle dog.

Factors Affecting How Far Can A Dog Smell

Factors Affecting How Far Can A Dog Smell

We previously discussed the smelling power of different breeds. Did you notice that we frequently mention that the smelling capability only holds in favourable conditions? Hence, you might wonder what these conditions are. Well, there are certain factors which significantly contribute to how far can a dog smell. 

A dog’s smelling capacity/power might change depending on the situation. In various unfavourable circumstances, dogs might experience a considerable decrease in their olfactory receptors. This directly leads to a reduction in their scent-smelling power. 

Let’s discuss some factors significantly affecting a dog’s sense of smell. 

1. The dog’s health

The dog's health- How Far Can A Dog Smell

Irrespective of its breed, your dog’s health is the first major factor contributing to its smelling capability. Various specific and general health conditions might lead to a decrease in your fur baby’s smelling power. Your furry friend might be undergoing some general health issues. These might include conditions like common cold and runny nose due to weather changes. On the other hand, some major health issues, like infections, nasal mites, nasal tumours, injuries, etc., could also be a reason your baby dog can’t smell properly. 

2. The direction and speed of wind 

2. The direction and speed of wind

The wind’s speed and direction are significant factors that help decide how far can a dog smell. Let us discuss and understand both these points individually.

The direction of wind as a factor affecting dog’s smelling power

The direction of wind as a factor affecting dog's smelling power

To understand this point, let us formulate an example. Imagine a person standing on one side of the road and a dog on the other side. In this case, when the wind travels in an opposite direction to the person, it will be a favourble condition for dog to catch his or her scent. This is because the wind is moving towards the dog. Clearly, the scent particles in the air are coming closer to the dog, making it easy for the canine to detect them. 

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However, if the situation is reversed, it will be considered an unfavourable condition. This will indicate that the wind is moving from right to left, in the opposite direction from the dog and towards the person or thing. In this case, the dog will not be able to sense the required item’s scent due to the wind’s direction. 

The speed of wind as a factor affecting dog’s smelling power

The speed of wind as a factor affecting dog's smelling power- how far can a dog smell

Explaining in brief, a gentle flowing breeze will increase the capacity of how far can a dog smell. On the other hand, a fast-moving, windy breeze will negatively influence a dog’s sense of smell, leading to a decrease in it. This is because scent particles properly spread out in the air when the wind speed is low. In this case, the dog’s moist and soft nose perfectly catches the scents present in the air. 

3. Increased temperature

3. Increased temperature- how far can a dog smell

A temperature change is another factor that leads to a change in the smelling capacity of a dog. A very low temperature is a villain over here. This is because dogs get dehydrated during the cold season. This additionally leads to them panting. Hence, as a result, dogs stop sniffing and smelling around. Their dry nose can’t catch the scents in the air. Also, a low temperature leads to specific health conditions, including common colds, coughs, runny noses, fevers, etc., further decreasing dogs’ olfactory senses.

Considering this in another way, the scent particles do not freely travel in freezing temperatures. Frozen air and moisture decrease the ability of scents to travel from one place to another. Hence, due to less availability of scent particles in the air, dogs are not able to catch them. 

4. Increased rain and humidity in the environment

4. Increased rain and humidity in the environment- how far can a dog smell

Humidity and rain are two factors which contradictorly affect how far can a dog smell. Increased humidity, that is, the increased moisture content in the air and surroundings, can favourably affect a dog’s sense of smell. This is because, moist air is capable of holding more scent particles in comparison to dry air. Hence, a dog will quickly detect and catch any odour or fragrance in a humid environment. 

On the other hand, excessive rain will directly reduce a dog’s olfactory sense. When the rain falls on the ground, it also carries the scent particles as well. Hence, there are no scents left in the environment. As a result, a dog won’t be able to sense any smell. 

Winding Up

All dog parents should thank God for blessing our furry babies with such an incredible power: their strong sense of smell. Our dogs can smell more than 100 times compared to us. Well, this is another addition to their qualities, making them even more special. However, there are certain factors which affect how far can a dog smell and their overall senses. Hence, regularly maintain their health and consider all the external factors to ensure your canine baby possesses a healthy olfactory sense. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How far can a dog smell in general?

As per research, 12 miles (19 kilometers) is the average distance up to which a dog can utilize its sense of smell and catch a scent. However, there are certain factors along with the breed of the dog that affect the smelling sense of a dog. 

What are the factors affecting a dog’s capability to sense a fragrance or odour? 

Various internal and external factors contribute to increasing and decreasing a dog’s olfactory senses. Some internal factors include health conditions like colds, runny nose, nasal mites, infections, injuries, etc. On the other hand, temperature, direction and the speed of the wind, rain, etc., are some external factors that decide how far can a dog smell. 

Which dog breeds have the most potent sense of smell?

Dog breeds, including the Bloodhound, Basset Hound, German Shepherd, and Golden Retriever, are believed to possess the best olfactory sense.

How far can a Bloodhound smell?

The Bloodhound is the father of all dog breeds when it comes to comparing olfactory sense. A Bloodhound is believed to smell from up to 130 miles (209 kilometers) away. Hence, there is no way you can get off unnoticed while being in the smelling capacity range of a Bloodhound.


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Nupur Goyal is a passionate content writer with a total experience of 3 years in the same field. She has written content on diverse niches for many popular websites. She is currently working as a full-time content writer in a reputed digital marketing agency in Delhi. She is really fond of animals, especially dogs. She has a Pitbull named Casper. The only thing she loves besides content writing is playing with dogs, may it be her pet or the strays. Oh, how could we miss including that junk food point. She is a vegetarian and enjoys eating junk food. Chilly Potato with hot sauce and cold drink are her all time favorites.