Every animal has a different way of processing information they receive from the world around them.

One of the most important senses they possess is smell, which helps them to detect surrounding predators, find food sources and generally be aware of their environment. While all animals rely on their sense of smell, some are particularly skilled in this area. Here we discuss the animal with the most exceptional sniffing skills: what animal has the best sense of smell?

What Is the Animal with the Best Sense of Smell?

When it comes to which animal has the best sense of smell, there is no clear-cut answer. Certain species have been found to have superior sniffing capabilities, but the range of smell detection varies between each animal and is highly dependent on the type of odors and scents they are trained to detect. Generally speaking, the most skilled smellers are dogs, but there are a few other creatures that come close.

The Power of the Mammalian Nose

Research shows that in general, mammals have better olfactory skills than most other animals. This is mainly due to the structure of their nose and the number of olfactory receptors they possess. Humans, for instance, have around five million olfactory receptors, while dogs have up to 300 million. This allows them to distinguish a huge variety of smells.

The Top Five Animals with the Most Exceptional Sense of Smell

  1. Dogs
    The canine species are undoubtedly the most impressive smellers around. It’s been said that some breeds have the ability to detect odors 45 times better than humans can. This skill has been put to use in numerous fields including drug discovery, conservation, search and rescue, bombs and even forensic evidence.

  2. Rats 
    Surprisingly, rats have also been found to have an excellent sense of smell. They have the ability to sniff out food from up to a mile away and even detect subtle changes in the environment. This is why they have been used for countless research studies over the years.

  3. Bears
    Bears have a powerful sense of smell that can reach up to five times further than a hunting dog’s. It is believed that they can even detect odors underwater. Bristle-clad noses are often used to detect ripe fruit and find hibernation dens.

  4. Hawks
    Despite their tiny noses, hawks can detect smells over great distances. Their sense of smell helps them to detect small prey from high in the sky and also to recognize different territories.

  5. Pigs
    Pigs can detect smells up to seven miles away and have been known to detect truffles using their exceptional sense of smell. They have even been trained to detect cancer in humans, thanks to the strength of their olfactory receptor cells.

Animals have a wide range of senses which enable them to interact with the world around them. While all creatures rely on their sense of smell to some extent, some species have more developed sniffing capabilities than others. Dogs, rats, bears, hawks and pigs are believed to possess the most impressive sniffing skills in the animal kingdom, with their noses being able to detect a huge range of odors over a variety of distances. So when it comes to olfaction, these five species are certainly the cream of the crop.