Dog lovers are obsessed with various dog body parts, namely the tail, paws, and nose. Boy do they rave about that nose; no dog book is complete without bowing down at the altar of the canine nose. A dog’s sense of smell is anywhere from 50 to 100,000 times more acute than ours, depending on which expert is consulted. I say, “So what?”
Moths and sharks have a better sense of smell than do dogs; in fact, most of a shark’s brain is devoted to the olfactory center. Sharks are efficient hunters, but not very bright. If a lot of brain space is devoted to sniffing, this doesn’t leave much room for thinking. A dog brain weighs about 3 1/2 ounces, a goodly portion of which is taken over by the olfactory center.
Left to their own devices, what do dogs do with their “better than human” sense of smell? They sniff out urine, poop, garbage, and butts. Only when mankind intervenes is the nose put to useful purposes. These purposes, drug detection, cadaver searches, etc. are mythologized by dog lovers, as if the dog is a super hero with special powers. In reality, the dogs can’t fathom why in the world they are sniffing around airports or rubble piles; to them it’s all just mindless sniffing for the handler’s reward of a treat or chew toy. Nor is the dog nose infallible; cadaver dogs mistake rotting tree stumps for decaying bodies. Certain sniffer dog evidence has been thrown out of court because the claims made about its abilities were just too outlandish.
A dog nose is cold, wet, and bear-like; pretty gross in my opinion. Yet dog fans think it’s cute. They will pay for a 24k gold impression of their dog’s nose print to wear it as jewelry!
A dog’s nose is basically overrated. The vast majority of dog noses aren’t out there looking for missing people or bombs, but rather sticking it in someone’s crotch.