Are Dogs Stealing Our Jobs?

From left: Haron Montrose / Digital Vision-Getty Images; Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images; Jonathan Roco de Guzman / Getty Images

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.

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