Top 11 Best Tracking Dogs of All Time


Sniff… sniff… sniff…Have you ever wondered why dogs love smelling scents? Dogs are believed to have 40X olfactory bulbs than we do. Amazing, right? That is the main reason why hunters, policemen, and even the military choose tracking dogs as their best sidekicks.

But what is tracking?

Tracking is a method used in which dogs are being trained to locate a particular person, animal or object by using its scent for several purposes.

In nature, tracking is one of the important skills that a dog has. He uses this skill to hunt and survive in the wild. He uses his body, especially his nose to search for food.

In this article, we will understand why several people love tracking dogs, learn the different factors that can influence their tracking ability, and let’s unleash the gift of different dogs as we reveal the top 11 best tracking dogs of all-time – top 1 will surely amaze you!

Why Love Tracking Dogs?

Many people love tracking dogs because of the following reasons:

Tracking dogs, as police dogs, are used in tracking police work. Their tasks include searching for alive or dead individuals, looking for missing individuals, recovering evidence from a crime scene, looking for bombs, drugs, and used for other investigations.

Tracking dogs, as search and rescue dogs are helpful in searching and rescuing people trapped in avalanches or in a disaster zone.

Tracking dogs are also loved by hunters. They are used in searching and retrieving animals, such as deer, bears, rabbits, or raccoons while hunting.

Factors Affecting a Dog’s Tracking Ability

Different factors such as age, gender, physical characteristics, and training can affect a dog’s tracking ability. As the dog grows older, its olfactory acuity decreases, which also decreases its tracking ability.

In addition, due to the sex difference olfaction, male dogs are said to be good at tracking compared to female dogs. Trained dogs can sniff better than other dogs in the wild. They can easily search and retrieve a particular object or animal because they were told about how to do it.

On the other hand, dogs that pants due to fatigue have lower tracking ability than other dogs. Lastly, a good relationship between the dog and the trainer shows a significant effect on the dog’s tracking styles.

Lists of the Top 11 Best Tracking Dogs of All Time

#11 Daschund: The Small but Terrible Dog

Best tracking dogs daschund

Daschunds have small stature but, possess a sharp sense of smell. They were originally bred to hunt badgers and have the unique ability to hunt above and below the ground.

Their determination helps them pursue and succeed in hunting prey, even in difficult environments such as in caves.

#10 Golden Retriever: The Waterfowl Hunter

Best tracking dog golden retriever waterfowl hunter

Golden retrievers, a large strong breed with a water-repellent coat, are good at hunting waterfowl such as ducks and other birds. They are very alert dogs who excel at different types of detection work and are great in search and rescue operations.

#9 English Springer Spaniel: The Sporting Dog

Best Tracking Dog English Springer Spaniel Sporting Dog

English springer spaniel is well known for hunters who love hunting. This dog comes in two types – the field-bred, favored by hunters because of their good nose, and the show-bred.

This dog has a good sense of smell and is trained to detect explosives, narcotics, beehives, fake currency, and even human remains.

#8 Belgian Malinois: The Military Dog

Best tracking dog Belgian Malinois military dog

Belgian Malinois, originally from Belgium, is the best in military work and employed by police and military forces.

He is well known for his keen sense of smell which is a good help in detecting explosives, prostate cancer, and cheetah scat. He is also bred primarily for personal protection, police work, and search and rescue operations.

#7 Coonhound: The Raccoon Hunter

Best tracking Coonhound Raccoon Hunter

Coonhound used to hunt raccoons, hence giving its name as Coonhound. There are six different types of Coonhound breed: English, Plott, Redbone, Treeing Walker, Black and Tan, and Bluetick, and all of them possess great noses but each has its own scenting style.

Coonhounds with hot noses work best on a fresh trail; on the other hand, cold-nosed coonhounds are best at following a cold trail without blinking an eye.

#6 Labrador Retriever: The Service-scent Dog

Best Tracking Dog Labrador Retriever Service Scent Dog

Enter your text Labrador retriever, known as a service-scent dog, is the best fit in different scent-related jobs such as searching for bombs, drugs, arson, and search and rescue operations.

He can also be a therapy dog, a seizure detection dog, and an arson detection dog. He can easily be trained and his fine-tuned nose also works better in hunting different animals. His hunting ability – from marking, retrieving, and delivering animals – is a good shot for a hunter.

#5 German Shorthaired Pointer: The Silent Bird Hunter

Best Tracking Dog German Shorthaired Pointer The Silent Bird Hunter

German Shorthair pointer, unlike the others, has an intense hunting ability where it moves quickly following the trail while remaining silent.

He is also an expert in following ground scent, holding his large brown nose low to the ground. He is good at hunting different kinds of birds and can also track small mammals on land.

#4 German Shepherd: The Air-scent Buddy

Best Tracking Dog German Shepherd  Air-scent Buddy

The German Shepherd is known for his ability to air-scent. He has 225 million scent receptors in his nose, which helps him detect narcotics, and bombs, and makes him excel in law enforcement activities.

He is employed by the police, military, and other search and rescue group.

#3 Beagle: The Bunny-hunter Buddy

Best Tracking Dog Beagle Bunny Hunter Buddy

Beagles, with their supreme scenting ability, combined with their speed and agility, are the best canines for hunting bunnies.

They are trained to detect 50 distinct scents and are used in different types of nose-work such as searching luggage, detecting contraband in airports, searching for termites, and many other tasks. They are also employed by the police and military.

#2 Basset hound: The Down-to-Earth Dog

Best Tracking Dog Basset hound The Down-to-Earth Dog

Basset, from the French word bas, means “low” as its physique shows us, but this characteristic did not hinder his scenting ability, instead, it became an advantage over other taller breeds.

His long heavy ears are used to propel the scent towards his nose. His wrinkles are also used to capture and retain the scent for a long time. With his scenting ability, the Basset is known to have only the second-best sense of smell.

#1 Bloodhound: The Perfect Tracking Dog

Best Tracking Dog Bloodhound Perfect Tracking Dog

Bloodhound, our number one dog, has 300 million receptors than any other breed – which makes him stand out from the others. He is known for his man-trailing ability over great distances, even days later. He can follow a scent on both the ground and air.

The physique of the dog makes him the perfect tracking dog – the nose with large, open nostrils helps him detect the scent; his large long ears help in sweeping the ground; and the shawl, the wrinkled flesh under the lips and neck, is used to catch the stray scent.

He is often used by police and law enforcement around the globe to track escaped prisoners, missing or lost people.


Tracking has never been easy. With the help of different tracking dogs, success can be achieved. But one must always remember that different dogs have different abilities and scenting styles.

For example, A German shepherd may be good at detecting a particular scent while other breeds are not good at it. There are also other factors that would affect a dog’s tracking ability.

A large factor is how the pet owner trains his dog. With great determination and passion, one can achieve what he wants for his buddy. In my own heart, the bloodhound is the number one tracking dog.

From his ability to his physique, he is the best! You will surely have the success that you want with him.

We have finished another article today, and I hope this article can help you to find the best tracking dog.

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