Research–Proving Dog Voodoo

The bloodhounds are able to perform seemingly impossible feats that have been described as dog voodoo. However, research shows that bloodhounds can:

  • Smell a person’s scent from a fired shell casing
  • Follow car trails
  • Follow trails at least 40 miles long
  • Follow trails that have been contaminated (walked and driven across) by more than a million people

The staff at Bloodhounds, inc. in conjunction with Victor Valley College performs research on the reliability of bloodhounds in order to further their use and understanding, along with answering the question; what is human scent?

Reliability of Bloodhounds in Criminal Investigations

ABSTRACT: Anecdotal evidence and legend have suggested that bloodhounds are capable of trailing and alerting to a human by his or her individual scent. This same evidence may be presented to a court of law in order to accuse a particular suspect or suspects of a crime. There is little to no scientific evidence confirming the bloodhound’s ability to trail and discriminate the scent of different individual humans. Eight bloodhounds (3 novice and 5 veteran), trained in human scent discrimination were used to determine the reliability of evidence, garnered through the use of bloodhounds, in a court of law. These dogs were placed on trails in an environment that simulated real-life scenarios. Results indicate that a veteran bloodhound can trail and correctly identify a person under various conditions. These data suggest that the potential error rate of a veteran bloodhound-handler team is low and can be a useful tool for law enforcement personnel.

The Use of Bloodhounds in Determining the Impact of Genetics and the Environment on the Expression of Human Odortype

ABSTRACT: Bloodhounds are used to trail fleeing felons and missing persons. In order to start a trail, the dog must be presented with a person’s scent. There are many hypotheses on what a bloodhound smells while trailing. The present study attempts to identify whether human scent is genetic, and if it is influenced by one’s environment. Bloodhounds trained in human scent discrimination were used to differentiate between monozygotic twins, related and nonrelated persons, living together and apart. The first test required the dogs to run blind trails after being presented with the scent of one person in the pair, while the opposite person was hidden. The second test allowed the dogs to trail one person in the pair after both people were hidden. Results appear to demonstrate that bloodhounds rely heavily on genetic cues when differentiating between people. Environmental cues do not appear to significantly aid the bloodhound in scent discrimination. Check out Neuroscience for Kids: Bloodhounds