Top 10 Scenthound Breeds

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If you think your little guy has an exceptionally keen sense of smell just because he sniffed out the empty potato chip bag you hid in your coat pocket, think again! Scenthound breeds are a type of hound dog used for hunting — they can track the days-old scent of another animal while running through fields, brush or even running water. They are physically built for the hunt, possessing an extraordinary tenacity and the endurance needed to pursue quarry with relentless determination.

And when it comes to knowing something about noses, these scenthound breeds won’t stop until they’ve tracked down the source of the smell.

Basset Hound

Scenthound Breeds: Basset HoundOriginally bred in France for hunting hare, their name literally translates into bas (low) with suffix et (rather low). This speedy yet vertically challenged pooch has an incredible ability to ground-scent and their naturally strong instinct for the hunt makes them a favorite with hunters. (Photo credit: Pap Kutasi Szilvia/Shutterstock.com)

German Shorthaired Pointer

Scenthound Breeds: German Shorthaired PointerNo surprise this energetic boy with the tremendous sense of smell was bred in Germany back in the 1600s specifically for hunting. He does well tracking scents on both land and water which makes him a versatile companion for any hunter. (Photo credit: Ricantimages/Shutterstock.com)


Scenthound Breeds: DachshundThe Dachshund is one tough cookie when it comes to hunting. His name literally translates into “badger dog,” from the German Dachs (“badger”) and Hund (“hound”) and he is the only breed certified to hunt both above and below ground. A keen sense of smell means this weeny scenthound can track wounded animals for miles. (Photo credit:  dogboxstudio/Shutterstock.com)

English Springer Spaniel

Scenthound Breeds: English Springer SpanielThis feisty little Brit is a great companion for hunters because of his uncanny ability to pick up an animal’s scent in wet or dry conditions. A great gundog, he is known to use the wind to pick up the smell and zigzag back and forth… as the wind blows. (Photo credit: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock.com)


Scenthound Breeds: BeagleThis busy little pooch with a penchant for baying is considered the best scenthound for hunting rabbit. They have one of the best noses in the doggy world of hunting and their smaller size, speed and agility makes them one formidable tracker. (Photo credit: Elena Efimova/Shutterstock.com)

Black and Tan Coonhound

Scenthound Breeds: Black and Tan CoonhoundOne look and you just know this U.S. bred pooch has Bloodhound in him. This scenthound is considered capable of tracking everything from bear to cougars, but as his name implies is typically used for tracking raccoons. Long strides, a keen nose and a big bay make him a hunting favorite. (Photo credit: WilleeCole Photography/Shutterstock.com)


Scenthound Breeds: BloodhoundThis mournful looking scenthound is the granddaddy of all tracking dogs. He dates back to Belgium around 1000 AD where he was bred for hunting deer and wild boar. It’s said he has such a strong tracking instinct that once he picks up a smell, he can become almost impossible to get back under control. (Photo credit: Degtyaryov Andrey/Shutterstock.com)

Bluetick Coonhound

Scenthound Breeds: Bluetick CoonhoundThis distinctive looking scenthound has roots in the Deep South where he was bred to track raccoons and squirrels, cornering them in trees and baying to alert the hunter. His tenacity and ability to track even faint scents make him a natural hunting companion. His name comes from his distinctive blue-tinged coat with a mottled or ticking pattern. (Photo credit: Lindsay Helms/Shutterstock.com)


Scenthound Breeds: HarrierThis English-bred scenthound has the large nose, open nostrils and loose lips needed to quickly pick up the scent of any animal they are tracking. They were specifically bred with shorter legs that allow the hunter to follow them on horse or on foot and are known for their prowess hunting rabbit and other small prey. (Photo credit: EhayDy/Shutterstock.com)

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Scenthound Breeds: Petit Basset Griffon VendeenFinishing off our list of scenthound breeds, this pint-sized pooch originated around France and Belgium in the 700s where he was ideal for tracking rabbits and small prey through heavy underbrush and brambles due to his short, wiry coat. Short in stature but big on tenacity his ability to pick up scents in the harshest conditions made him a popular hunting companion. (Photo credit: Capture Light/Shutterstock.com)