No, this isn’t a typo, a ‘sniffari’ is an actual thing! I must admit it’s a new word to me and I’ve no idea who came up with this term. We have been on a sniffari (and I’m not thinking of our trip to South Africa!) many, many times over the years, we just didn’t know that it actually had a name. What is a sniffari? Are you intrigued? Or perhaps it’s something you’re already familiar with?

A sniffari is a dog walk which gives your dog a chance to sniff whatever he wants and to lead you where he wants to go, within reason. This allows a dog the chance to explore his environment based on what scents are around. This is a very different type of walk to one which is exercise based.

Photo by Zen Chung on

Although I’ve been aware of how much dogs enjoy sniffing, I don’t think I had totally understood the power of the canine sense of smell. There are working dogs that are employed for this very reason but more of that later. When compared to dogs, the human sense of smell is pretty rubbish.

According to my research, a dog’s sense of smell is around 10,000 – 100,000 times better than ours. The variation is according to the breed. Dogs have up to 200 million olfactory receptors in their noses. Humans have about six million. (These figures vary slightly, depending on what you read but the proportions remain the same).

Dogs have the ability to sniff out cancer cells, explosives and drugs. Back in the day, when I used to travel a fair bit via Gatwick airport, I would often see sniffer dogs, spaniels in this case, being used for detection purposes. Dogs are also used to track and find lost people or animals; mountain rescue dogs and police dogs are prime examples.

As well as dogs putting their noses to work, there are lots of fun activities that dogs can do that involve their sense of smell. Now that Zeph has completed his puppy and adolescent training, I am looking into other activities which will not only be fun for him but also engage his active (over active?) brain! Alongside agility, flyball and obedience, I have discovered that there are local scent work training classes in our area. Watch this space!

I’ll finish with some images that show how Zeph’s nose has changed colour as he has matured.

In the one below, a puppy Zeph has a very pink nose.

These are recent images and the nose is less pink now. I wonder if it will be completely black one day?

Have to finish now, we’re off on a sniffari!