What skills are necessary for a dog to be successful in tracking?
A superior sense of smell with the ability to discern different odors, an eagerness to learn and a willingness to work closely with their handlers are all skills necessary for a dog to become a tracker.
Tracking is used for work, hunting or sport. Most often, Bloodhounds are used, but the German shepherd runs a very close second.
WHY THE BLOODHOUND IS A SUPERIOR TRACKING DOG
The bloodhound is sometimes referred to as a “nose with paws.” This is because of their superior scent (olfactory) skills, which come from the high number of olfactory receptors — or “scent cells” — tucked up in their wet noses, which detect odor molecules. Put in perspective: The olfactory membrane of a human contains 5 million receptors, but a Bloodhound has around 230 and German shepherds around 225 million.
Scent cells aren’t the whole story, though, and the breed has a few other attributes that helps when it comes to tracking. Their droopy ears and wrinkly skin help collect odor molecules and sweep them towards the dogs’ noses. Their muscular necks and shoulders let them keep their nose to the ground for long distances without getting fatigued. Bloodhound handlers also say that the breed is a joy to work with. The dogs interact well with people, are eager to please, and are focused in training and on the job.
German shepherds are frequently seen as police dogs. Not only do they have superior scent skills, these dogs are also extremely intelligent, courageous, and have a very strong protective instinct; they are one of the best guard dogs. They’re also fiercely loyal and, as long as they are trained in obedience at an early age, they’ll work well with their handlers. Because of their intelligence, a German shepherd needs a purpose or job in life to be truly happy. This intelligence, coupled with their courageous nature make German shepherds excellent police and search dogs.