I Bet You’ve Never Heard Of This Breed
What dog breed has the best sense of smell? If you said Bloodhounds, Basset Hounds, or Beagles you’re not alone. Almost every list on the Internet has those three breeds at the top. However, almost every list on the Internet is wrong. The title for Best Sniffer goes to a new Russian breed called the Sulimov, a dog bred specifically for sniffing out bombs at airports.
The reason that they aren’t on any lists yet is that there are currently less than 50 of the little guys. Sulimovs come from a careful breeding of Huskies and Golden Jackals. The huskies were chosen because of their ability to smell out food in the frozen arctic and high work drive. The jackals have a better sense of smell than any dog breed but cannot be trained.
The process started in 1975 with the imprinting of male jackal pups on a surrogate nurse dog. They were then bred to Huskies to create the first generation of half-bred Sulimovs. These dogs were very timid and too hard to train so they were bred again with Huskies to create a ¾ Husky-jackal mix. The result was a small dog with the fir and curved tail of a husky and the size and head shape of a jackal. Training begins when they are puppies and they quickly learn to find explosive compounds. Unlike many other breeds used for bomb and narcotic detection the Sulimovs search without being given a command. They seem to know their job and really enjoy doing it.
According to Klim Sulimov, the man who created the breed, the dogs can sniff out traces of explosives that machines cannot. Sulimovs have been used at Russian airports since 2002 as a last line of defense against terrorism. Although they are unlikely to announce how many terror plots have been foiled by the super sniffers, there have been no complaints about their performance from Russian officials.
The AKC does not officially recognize the breed yet and few people have even heard of a Sulimov, much less seen one. The lack of acceptance into the high-end world of dog breed organizations doesn’t faze the little dogs, they just show for work and do their job. Maybe someday they will get the respect that they deserve and take their rightful place atop all of the ill-informed top ten lists.