And speaking of Beagles…..
There’s a reason these dogs are recruited to sniff out “unusual” suspects: They have such great scenting capability that they’ve been described as “a massive nose on four little legs.”
When the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association set guidelines for bedbug detection, the first breed that the Bedbug Detection Team certified under those guidelines were Beagles. One business owner, Mike Masterson, of Isotech Pest Management, paid $20,000 for two dogs, and an additional $90,000 annually on their training, housing, food and other expenses. Exterminators and business owners rely on the dogs’ incredible noses to find where bed bugs and eggs are hiding so humans could exterminate them.
Much less common, but no less important, is a job like “Elvis” has. Elvis is a “Polar bear pregnancy detector” who was trained to determine whether a polar bear is pregnant by smelling her excrement. Truth. This is a highly valuable aid to zookeepers who can’t tell whether their polar bears are actually pregnant or exhibiting a false pregnancy. Elvis can identity samples from pregnant females with 97 percent accuracy.
Beagles have been used to sniff out fish, birds, and snakes, and in 2010, “Shelby,” CBP Beagle, sniffed the presence of live snails sealed in plastic containers hidden inside a bag arriving on a flight from London into Chicago’s O’Hare airport. American researchers have found that Beagles can detect tumors in samples of human blood with nearly 97 per cent accuracy, not that much of a surprise if you learn that Beagles have already been shown to pick up the scent of Parkinson’s disease, and can tell when a diabetic is suffering from dangerous blood sugar levels.
But wait, there’s more!
In 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it would be adding 60 Beagle teams at key U.S. commercial ports, seaports and airports to expand arrival screenings and check cargo for illegal pork products that can carry the African swine fever, a disease that can kill a hog in just two days.
Dogs in general are known to have some 300 million smell receptors – this compared to humans who have only 5 million, but Beagles have even more of an advantage. “Beagles have an even more of a refined set of brain lobe and olfactory sensors than other breeds,” says Joel Welin from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Beagles also have an advanced Jacobson’s Organ, a bundle of nerve receptors in the roof of a dog’s mouth to store and recall aromatic memories.
Knowing this, breeder, trainer and researcher, Heather Junqueira, trained her litter of Beagle pups to pick up on minute changes in human biomarkers including hormones, proteins and other organic compounds. While the results are still considered experimental, the dogs currently test at above 95% accuracy in identifying the scent of cancerous cells.
If it sounds like we’re smitten with Beagles, you’d be right! Starting with “Bullet,” the Beagle who lived across the street from our childhood home, to Beagles we’ve gotten to know over the years, we’ve never failed to marvel at this good natured dog. Consider this a call to Beagle people: Share your pictures!
Image found on Pinterest and happily credited upon receipt of information