Can Bloodhound Dogs Smell Cocaine?

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Introduction

If you were to give the title “King of Scent' chances are you would be looking at a regal Bloodhound dog, whose desire to track is legendary. This old soul of canine breeds is the Sherlock of the hound world with, as some so eloquently state, a nose with a dog attached. 

Bloodhounds are scent stars and would have no issue picking up the smell of drugs whether they were hidden in a container or buried under the earth. The canny criminal is no match for this serious sniffer who’ll have the drug courier in handcuffs before they can let out a customary howl.

Signs a Bloodhound can Detect Cocaine

The Bloodhound dog is an aristocratic pooch and still the dog of choice for connoisseurs of the breed and its exceptional tracking abilities. Once they get the scent, their drive is unstoppable, and with nose to the ground, they’ll scramble over all kinds of terrain in pursuit of their target.

The world is buzzing with drug-sniffer dogs in airports, borders, highways, and schools. These masters of the scent go on high alert when their handler preps them for a day on the job. If they are at an airport, you’ll see a woofer moving quickly through a crowd of people from a plane that’s just landed - their tail wagging and head bobbing from side to side. They may gently jump up to smell the captain’s personal luggage and then move on if nothing is detected. A Bloodhound’s ears would be flapping like mad as they pant and pace through the cargo area, looking for the scent of cocaine.

If they start digging or scratching at a parcel, their handler is confident their hound has found a stash. Their reward can be a ball, toy, or a rolled up, white towel. The dog has no interest in the drugs as they play-bow, waiting for their prize to be tossed.

It’s unanimous that Bloodhounds lead the field as sniffing super-stars, but they have been replaced by many police departments with German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois. These versatile breeds may not match their hound comrade in the sniffing stakes, but they excel in other areas like protecting their handler and bringing the bad guy to the ground. Our Bloodhound heroes don’t have much of a bite, but they are supreme at the art of tracking.

In Broward County, Florida, the Sheriff's department knows the beauty of this breed and employs them to track lost kids and the elderly. These friendly finders are born to track and can hunt for days. According to Sun-Sentinel, all they need is a piece of clothing and they're on a sniffing course to success.

These champion trackers have around 300 million scent receptors on hand. The part of their brain that categorizes scent is 40 times larger than in humans. Their ears also pick up smells and send odor particles toward their top-sniffing nose. 

Body Language

Signs a Bloodhound dog can pick up a scent include:
  • Digging
  • Scratching
  • Wag tail
  • Sniffing
  • Dropped Ears
  • Head bobbing
  • Play bowing

Other Signs

Signs that a Bloodhound has found the scent of cocaine are:
  • Exhibiting trained behaviors
  • Sitting beside their find
  • Excited behavior

The History of Bloodhounds

You can’t help but love the look of a Bloodhound, with their droopy eyes, ears, and wrinkly skin. It’s thought this high-lister hound originated from dogs kept at the Abbey Saint-Hubert in Belgium.

According to Bloodhound Trackers, the first spotting of this breed could be an ancient Babylon plaque that dates back to 1000-2000 BC and artwork found in the Nineveh Palace in Mesopotamia. This makes our scent-sensing friend one of the oldest dogs known to man. This is hardly surprising, as there is an air of grace about the Bloodhound line that gives a feeling you're in the presence of greatness.

Referred to as Saint Hubert Hounds, these tenacious trackers were taken by William the Conquer to England around the 9th century and their talents for hunting outlaws were recognized from the 16th century on. The Kings of France were fans of riding with the hounds, so for 700 years, three Bloodhounds were sent every year from the St. Hubert Abbey to the reigning French monarch of the time. Some were gifted on to English royals.

Bred for hunting wild deer and boar, the Bloodhound dog was a test case for the tracking of the 19th-century serial killer, Jack the Ripper, and in Scotland, they were referred to a slough (sleuth) dogs. In modern times, the prowess of this gentile canine is applauded for their help in finding missing kids and putting criminals behind bars where they belong.

This is no ordinary dog, standing at an average height of 26” and weighing between 80 and 100 lbs. Characterized by their loose skin and super-floppy ears, this endearing hound has a kindly temperament and wisdom, from standing centuries on the earth.

The Science of Bloodhound Dogs

Trained Bloodhound sniffer-dogs could detect cocaine relatively easily, as they can pick up a scent even if it’s concealed. The particles emitted from the drug waft their way and get transported through their nostrils, lighting up a You-Tube video effect in their brain. Once the odor is detected, it’s all over for the folks trying to courier drugs.

Bloodhounds can hold a scent like data storage and recall it at any given time. They can also distinguish the appropriate scent from a million and one other odors bouncing around an airport. As the dog looks for cocaine, they’ll get perfume, after-shave, leather luggage, and clothing. This hound on the hunt is there to find drugs, so when the bell rings in their brain; it's another win for the sniffer-dog police.

Even though the Bloodhound is considered the canine champ of tracking, over time, this illustrious breed has been replaced in many police departments by other breeds. Our bolshie Bloodhound is intelligent but also has a stubborn streak. German Shepherds can be trained to hold a suspect and bite if they have too, but our favorite, movie-star Bloodhound doesn't have much bite in him.

Bloodhounds are old-world woofers with a brand new market for their fabulous tracker talents. The Telegram tells us that Bloodhounds were a feature in state police until it was seen as cost-effective to train dog breeds that could fulfill more than one skill-set.

Around 2013, Bloodhounds were on the vulnerable list as only 51 dogs were registered. Bloodhounds were first registered with the American Kennel Club in 1885 but have been on the trail for thousands of years. Their desire to track is unfounded and it was reported one of these hard-working hounds followed a scent for 20 miles until a girl was found in the trunk of a car.

Training Bloodhounds

How do you train an ancient pooch to sniff for modern-day drugs or find a person? If we’re talking about a Bloodhound - the golden pooch of scent, you’re looking at centuries of tracking instinct. With all prodigies comes a standout talent and personality that may not enjoy being told what to do.

Bloodhounds can be headstrong, but they are sensitive souls who respond to positive reinforcement. It would be disrespectful to treat this historic hound with harsh disciplinary techniques, as they are gifted and likely to rebel. They can be dominant, so early training is recommended.

Bonding with your Bloodhound makes them like people and want to find them. While out on a search, you’ll want them to come when called, so basic obedience is a necessity

To get them started on a journey that goes back to the 3rd century, show your hound a piece of cloth with a scent. You’ll need an accomplice or object the dog has to find. Have your pooch on an extended leash, then use words like “find” or “search.”

If your Sherlock pooch loses the scent, take them back to the point of origin and let them sniff the cloth. Bloodhounds have been known to walk into a tree as they sniff a trail, that’s how serious they are about finding the end to the scent! Through this exercise, praise this tracking great and use treats to reward. As the heart of this breed takes hold, you’ll see a happy hound doing what they were bred for.

When mankind started breeding dogs from their ancestral wolf, there was generally a purpose involved. All hounds were inspired to track using their nose, so their genes are busting with the need to seek and find.

 Lost Pet Detection has faith in their Bloodhounds to find people’s lost dogs and cats. An award-winning Bloodhound handler knew the power of these hound dogs to search and locate and has brought home countless family pets. These magical hounds could sniff life on another planet - cocaine would be a walk in the park!

How to React if Your Bloodhound Finds Drugs or Something Else:

  • Praise them!
  • If they find drugs, contact the police.
  • Don't let them sniff the actual drug or eat it.
  • Train your Bloodhound to find things or track people.
  • Share your story.