Among those in competition at the Westminster Dog Show this week is Elias, a Beauceron who spends his time off the runway sniffing out gluten in food to protect people with celiac disease. And as scientists better understand the power of a dog’s nose—100,000 times more sensitive than a human’s—canines are moving into other professions, too.
Doctors/Medical Techs: Labradors
Labs can detect colorectal and bowel cancer with 98 percent accuracy by examining stool samples, according to a recent study. The current technology is correct only 10 percent of the time.
Military Bomb Specialists: German shepherds
Despite upwards of $20 billion spent on technology to detect roadside bombs, nothing beats a dog’s nose. Accordingly, there’s a major push to equip more soldiers with pups, especially in Afghanistan.
Pest Police: Jack Russell terriers
Dogs can sniff out bedbugs with a 95 percent success rate, three times better than mere sight detection. So terriers, puggles, and other small breeds are increasingly in the employ of busy exterminators.
Deep-Sea Scientists: Rottweilers
Many breeds are used to help scientists track endangered species. One Rottweiler named Fargo worked aboard a boat looking for right whales—his broad chest gave him seaworthy balance.
Reality-TV Stars: Chihuahuas
Real Housewives meets Animal Planet: a new reality show called Doggie Moms follows five women and their pampered pooches. Can dogs out-Snooki the humans? Stay tuned.