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A Rottweiler’s Sense of Smell: How Good is it?

When it comes to smell, dogs definitely have us humans beat by a long shot!

We as humans experience the world through vision, whereas dogs experience the world through their noses.

Canines in general have millions of olfactory receptors that help them navigate the world around them – but how many do Rottweilers have?

With approximately 200 million olfactory receptors, Rottweilers have an excellent sense of smell. Rottweilers can detect unique odors from 1.2 miles away. Due to their incredible sense of smell, Rottweilers are often used for tracking.

Comparing 200 million olfactory receptors Rottweilers have to humans’ 5 million olfactory receptors makes it easy to understand why dogs can sometimes become overwhelmed when we take them outside.

Do Rottweilers Have a Good Sense of Smell?

It’s no secret that a dog’s sense of smell is by far more powerful than a human’s sense of smell.

How far away dogs can smell depend on the number of scent receptors that they have.

Bloodhounds are right at the top of the list, with 300 million scent receptors. Rottweilers have 200 million receptors in comparison to humans, who only have 5 million scent receptors.

A general rule of thumb – the smaller the surface area of your dog’s nose, the fewer scent receptors it has.

Like most dogs, Rottweilers have different methods of breathing as we do.

Each nostril operates independently and contains separate openings for breathing in and out, meaning that dogs can pick up on a wide range of smells from different directions.

Rottweilers can detect the hormone that bring about a range of emotions from sadness to fear. In addition, they can pick up on the scent of adrenaline (the fight or flight hormone).

How Far Can Rottweilers Smell?

Rottweilers have been able to detect unique scents from a distance of 1.2 miles away.

Scenting at a great distance takes training as well; not every dog can pinpoint a smell at those lengths.

Can You Use a Rottweiler for Tracking?

The Rottweiler has a powerful sense of smell, making it ideal for tracking work. Due to their willingness to follow the human scent, Rottweilers are often used as tracking dogs.

Rottweilers have always been used as working dogs, but they require mental and physical stimulation; tracking gives Rottweilers the chance to think and be physically stimulated.

A Rottweiler will happily follow a scent for hours.

If you want your Rottweiler to become a tracking dog, it’s best to start them off at a young age.

  • Start them off by giving them a favorite toy and then hide it in an obvious place where they can see it.
  • Give you Rottweiler the command to “Find” the toy.
  • The Rottweiler should run straight to the toy and pick it up.
  • Praise your Rottweiler and repeat the process a few more times.
  • Once this concept has been established, hide their toy further away.

This is basically all it takes to teach your Rottweiler to find something based on its scent.

Remember to always allow your Rottweiler to smell whatever it is they are looking for before you hide it.

Why Does My Rottweiler Sniff Everything?

Below are several reasons why your Rottweiler might sniff everything.

Rottweilers Sniff Other Dogs

They are discovering important details about the other dog; they are able to determine what the dog last ate and even estimate how old the dog is.

Rottweilers Smell Things to Get Information

For example, other dogs’ urine tells the Rottweiler where the other dog has been, its health conditions, and what it has been eating.

It’s actually like picking up on the community gossip.

Sniffing applies to humans, too-a Rottweiler might embarrassingly put his nose directly to your groin area. This is because apocrine sweat glands produce pheromones conveying important social information, such as a woman ovulating.

Rottweilers Use Their Sense of Smell to Know What Other Animals Have Been Around

This helps them figure out if prey or predators are nearby.


A Rottweiler might sniff you to figure out where you have been.


A Rottweiler might start sniffing foods that are possibly edible if it hasn’t eaten in a while.

Rottweilers’ Eyesight Is Not as Good as Ours

Rottweilers cannot focus on objects that are too close to them, and they are partially color blind.

However, their large muzzles and sniffing make up for the areas where they lack vision.

How to Stop Your Rottweiler From Sniffing on a Walk

If your Rottweiler is too preoccupied with sniffing everything on your walk, use positive reinforcement to train them to stop.

This means that you would reward your dog when she walks with you the way you want it to and stop rewarding your dog when she does not.

What Type of Odors Upset Rottweilers?

#1. Hot Peppers: Rottweilers are very sensitive to capsaicin. The tingling or burning sensation that you experience in your nose when smelling something hot is amplified over 40 times for dogs.

Because of this, your Rottweiler may experience sneezing and, in more severe cases, respiratory issues.

#2. Ground Spices: The reaction Rottweilers have to ground spices is similar to that of hot peppers. Ground spices may cause burning and irritation to your Rottweiler if the particles get into his nose.

#3. Citrus Fruits: Dogs despise the smell of citrus. Citrus smells can be found in a wide range of home products. Citrus oils can irritate your Rottweilers’ respiratory tract.

#4. Fresh Herbs: Rottweilers cannot stand the smell of fresh herbs like rosemary; however, they do not mind the smell of mint.

#5. Vinegar: Vinegar is acidic and has a strong, pungent strong. The smell will repel your Rottweiler.

#6. Naphthalene (Mothballs): Mothballs have a very intense and unpleasant odor to dogs and humans. Due to their chemical composition, mothballs also are very dangerous to both dogs and humans.

#7. Rubbing Alcohol: Rubbing alcohol has a distinct and intense smell that is an off putting smell for dogs. Rottweilers also hate the smell of alcoholic beverages and antibacterial agents.

#8. Household Cleaning Products: If there is a smell that dogs hate with their whole heart, it’s the smell of cleaning products.

The high concentrations of bleach, ammonia, and chlorine are potent and can even be toxic to your Rottweiler.

#9. Perfume and Beauty Products: Rottweilers recognize their owners through their natural body odor. If perfume is applied, they become confused and irritable.

Perfume and cologne also contain several ingredients that dogs will avoid, such as chemical compounds, essential oils, and alcohol.

Beauty products are also jam-packed with chemical products that are too strong for your pup.

#10. Essential oils: The scent of eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, citronella oil, and cinnamon oil is too strong for your Rottweiler’s sensitive nose.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Rottweilers have an excellent sense of smell, with approximately 200 million olfactory receptors, and can smell odors from 1.2 miles away.

Because of this, Rottweilers are great for tracking if trained at a young enough age.

In addition, because of their sensitive and sharp noses, it is essential not to expose your Rottweiler to harsh odors like certain essential oils, households cleaning products, and rubbing alcohol.