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Dogs are masters at sniffing out smells. The dog’s nose is a very sensitive organ and this allows the four-legged friend to perceive things that are almost inexplicable to us humans.

Dogs can track miles away, act as drug sniffer dogs, and can recognize our emotions by smell. How does our dog’s sense of smell work? How does a dog absorb smells? What makes the dog’s nose so special?

How does the dog’s nose work?

In principle, the function of the dog’s nose is the same as that of us humans. The odor particles enter the dog’s nasal cavity via the nostrils. The nasal cavity has glands that release moisture. The air that has already been taken in is already cool and damp and is enriched with moisture even more by the glands. The moisture in turn serves to ensure that the odor molecules come into contact with the olfactory mucosa. The olfactory mucosa covers the turbinates and contains the olfactory cells, which transmit the odor particles to the brain. Dogs have to drink a lot so that the moisture they need is not lost. A tracking dog takes about 250 to 300 breaths per minute while working. As a result, the olfactory mucous membranes dry out quickly and their function decreases.

For comparison: We humans have olfactory mucous membranes with a surface area of ​​about five square centimeters. Depending on the breed, dogs are up to 200 square centimeters. It also depends on the shape of the nose. While short-nosed dogs have fewer olfactory mucous membranes, long-nosed dogs have a much better sense of smell. The size of the dog also plays a role: Dachshunds and German Shepherds both have long noses. However, the shepherd dog has twice the surface area of ​​the olfactory mucous membranes as the dachshund. Shepherd dogs are therefore often used as tracking dogs or drug sniffer dogs.

Peculiarities of the dog’s nose

Dogs have an additional olfactory organ. This is the so-called Jacobson organ. This is located on the palate behind the dog’s incisors and is used to perceive pheromones. This allows dogs to sniff out the state of mind of us humans and react especially to bitches in heat. The dogs with the best scents include:

  • German shepherd dog
  • German shorthaired pointer
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Pointer

The undisputed number one among snoopers is the Bloodhound, also known as the bloodhound or St. Hubertushund. It has over 300 million olfactory cells, while the other canine sniffers have around 225 million olfactory cells.

How far can a dog smell?

The dog’s nose makes it possible to track smells over long distances. Mantrailer dogs are trained to follow people’s tracks – be it searching for missing persons or fugitives. A DNA sample is enough for the dog to fixate on the person. It is possible for dogs to pick up a trail over a distance of up to ten kilometers and follow it unerringly. The dog’s nose can not only track smells over long distances, but also through matter. Trained search dogs are able to sniff out money hidden in vaults behind wall paneling. Dogs can also detect smells underground when searching for people. The ability to smell extends up to eight meters underground. In the case of snow cover, for example, when searching for avalanche victims, it is up to three meters.

Can dogs perceive human emotions?

The dog is man’s best friend. Not only because he is an eternally loyal companion. No, he is also able to analyze our feelings. This doesn’t just happen through eye contact, as we might always think. The typical dachshund look may say that our dog is wondering about something in us humans. Rather, it is the dog’s nose that picks up our feelings. The communication between the dog’s nose and the brain plays a major role here. Humans use about one percent of their brain capacity to detect smells. For dogs, it is ten percent. A veritable transformation process occurs between the nose and the brain, which also gives the dog the ability to smell spatially.

People emit very different scents with their feelings. Fear, anger, or sadness are always expressed differently in terms of smell. Your dog will also feel this and can therefore smell how you are feeling.

Incidentally, communication with each other in dogs is often also via the sense of smell. The released pheromones give a lot of information about the age or gender of another dog. In addition, female dogs release significantly more pheromones when they are in heat. Dogs emit a large part of the scents in their urine. Therefore, it is not surprising if your dog sniffs around every tree. For the dogs, such a tree is something like a WhatsApp group for you.

Can Dogs Smell Disease?

There is a widespread belief that dogs can sniff out diseases. Certain dog breeds are specifically trained to smell an impending epileptic seizure or sugar rush. However, it is not scientifically clear how this process occurs in dogs. What is certain, however, is that dogs can even use their sense of smell to detect cancer in many cases. Researchers have found that dogs can smell people’s blood for cancer. The hit rate for the types of cancer lung cancer, colon cancer, or breast cancer was over 90 percent.

The super nose – warning dogs for diseases

Various dog breeds can be trained as assistance dogs because of their olfactory abilities, they act as diabetic-alert dogs or as epilepsy-alert dogs and receive training that can take up to two years. They are then recognized assistance dogs. These dogs are able to warn their humans of health hazards through the perception of trained scents. They are even trained to fetch medicines from emergency kits or a mobile phone for emergency calls.

Wet nose – healthy nose?

Many dog ​​lovers believe that a healthy dog ​​must have a wet nose. That is not necessarily the case. There are enough reasons why a healthy dog ​​has a dry nose from time to time. This can happen through:

  • generally high temperatures with low humidity;
  • stress on the dog – this leads to sweating and the nose dries up for a short time;
  • dry room air in the heating period;
  • a little sunburn.

The causes of a dry nose are therefore harmless in many cases. Nevertheless, keep an eye on your dog’s olfactory organs. If a dry nose occurs more frequently, you have to watch out for symptoms such as pain, weakness, loss of appetite, or tiredness. Then there may be more behind it and you have to take your dog to the vet. In addition, there are the following symptoms that the dog’s nose shows:

  • change in nose color – this is usually black to pink
    the regular outflow of nasal secretions;
  • nosebleeds;
  • torn nasal skin;
  • crusting on the surface of the nose.

If a vet visit occurs, inform your dog’s health insurance company directly. In this way, your insurer can prepare everything and your submitted vet bill will be paid as quickly as possible.

Loss of sense of smell

When the dog’s nose doesn’t want to work properly, it can actually make the dog depressed. The sense of smell influences the psyche of the dog. They experience the world through their nose. With increasing age, the loss of the ability to smell slowly sets in.

You can counteract the loss of smell a little. Train the dog’s nose in old age. When walking your dog, give your dog enough time to follow tracks, and sniff trees or other dogs. Foraging games help to encourage your dog to sniff out its own food. They are used to having the full bowl in front of them on a regular basis. With a bit of variety, you can train your dog’s sense of smell for a long time.


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The pointing dogs are true all-rounders among the hunting dogs and therefore belong to the full-service dogs. They are mainly used for small game hunting. When duck hunting, the dogs rummage ducks out of the reeds and look for sickly shot pieces, which they reliably retrieve from the hunter. These hunting dogs do not shy away from waterwork and are very passionate. The term pointing dog comes from the characteristic of pointing possessed by each breed belonging to the pointing dog family. When pointing, the dogs remain motionless and point with bent front paws in the direction in which they have smelled a hare, pheasant, or partridge in front of them. The hunter then has the opportunity to push the game out of its cover and thus get a shot. This type of field hunting makes pointing dogs an indispensable hunting helper before the shot. They are also often used on autumn hunts to rummage around or to look for sick hoofed games. What the various pointer breeds have in common is that they hardly differ from each other in the way they work, but there are external features such as hair, color, shape, and size.

German Shorthaired Pointer

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Rummaging, pointing, retrieving – this breed is one of the most versatile hunting dogs of all. However, the multi-faceted German Shorthaired Pointer also has high demands on its home. Because as a working dog, he needs tasks for body and mind. If he is well utilized, he is also a loyal family dog.

Appearance: Graceful hunter

According to the standard, the appearance of the German Shorthaired Pointer should be “harmonious”. The muscular physique and broad chest underline the speed, strength and endurance of this pointing dog.

How big does a German Shorthaired Pointer get?

Males reach a shoulder height of up to 66 centimeters. Bitches are between 58 and 63 centimeters tall.

Long floppy ears frame the head. The long, wide muzzle enables the German Shorthaired Pointer to retrieve game.

The tail and docking

Its tapered tail, which naturally reaches to the hocks, is usually docked in half for hunting. However, according to animal protection laws, tail docking is prohibited in many countries. This is also the case in Germany, where hunting dogs are exempt – which can certainly be viewed critically.

Does a German Shorthaired Pointer have an undercoat?

The short coat has an undercoat and can be brown or black, with or without white. It has a dense, not too-soft structure.

For experienced owners only

This breed is primarily a dog made by hunters for hunters. That is why you will usually only be happy as a hunter with a German Shorthaired Pointer.

Because the most important thing about living with this breed is that you share his passion for hunting. If he has enough daily exercise in the woods and fields, he can be a lovable and well-balanced family dog.

In addition, you should already have experience with hunting dogs and their training if you want such a multifaceted pointing dog to move in with you. Because the breed is not necessarily suitable for beginners due to its stubbornness.

How much exercise does a German Shorthaired Pointer need?

If you can offer him several hours of outdoor exercise every day and do other dog sports with your German Shorthaired Pointer, you don’t necessarily have to be a professional hunter if you want to let a specimen of the breed move in.

However, you should first check very critically whether your living environment is suitable for this demanding dog if you only hunt in your free time.

Keeping in the house and garden

This four-legged friend belongs in a house in the countryside, which ideally includes a fenced garden where he can also let off steam.

Make sure the fence is secure and high so that your companion cannot go hunting on its own. He reliably guards the house and yard.

Is a German Shorthaired Pointer a family dog?

This breed is very devoted to its two-legged pack. So allow your four-legged friend to be close to the family and live with you in the house. A permanent kennel is out of the question for the sociable German Shorthaired Pointer.

If there are children living in the household, teach them to treat dogs with respect from an early age. Then nothing stands in the way of a deep friendship, because the breed is famous for its child-friendliness. However, young children should never be left unsupervised with a dog.

Living together with other animals

It goes without saying that keeping them with other pets is only very rarely possible. Because the German Shorthaired Pointer will see them as prey.

An exception can be, for example, velvet paws, which the dog already got to know as a puppy. However, it is still possible, even probable, that he will pursue a cat running through the garden.


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The home country of the Coonhound is the United States of America. The FCI has the Black and Tan Coonhound under standard no. 300 (Group 6 – Hounds, Scenthounds and Related Breeds, Section 1.1 – Large Hounds).

Nature & Temperament of the Coonhound

A special feature of the Black and Tan Coonhound character is the distinction between work and leisure. Two souls live in the pedigree dog. For one thing, he’s unwavering and persistent when following a lead. This hunting dog with its fine nose unstoppably and stubbornly follows every trail until it finds and then barks game (raccoons, opossums). The methodical and conscientious way of working is an important characteristic of this breed.

In private, the Coonhound is a friendly and well-balanced roommate. He romps around in his own garden with great joy. Preferably with the children of its owner. He doesn’t have aggressive traits and is naturally open to everything. His social streak with other dogs is very pleasant. Living with cats is also possible. It works best when both types of pets grow up together.

He is initially reserved with strangers. This distance crumbles during the visitor’s stay. The outgoing character cannot resist human advances. After a while, he can easily be “bribed”. This trait is less suitable for use as a guard dog.

This sociable dog cannot be alone for long. This fact can be improved by training. Unfortunately, this does not completely solve the problem, because many hours without his “reference person” disturb him. This weakness should be taken seriously.

Is the Coonhound right for me?

A coonhound needs a lot of exercises. The FCI has also registered him in the hound category. Short laps in the area must be the exception. The utilization is time-consuming and a sporting challenge.

This friendly dog is suitable for families with children. The dog’s joy of exercise must be factored into family planning. He must not be neglected under any circumstances and the future owner should ask himself before making a purchase whether there is enough time for this family member in everyday life.

A sporty and sprightly pensioner can keep the Coonhound busy all day long. A rural setting with opportunities for nose work would be ideal.

The Coonhound is best suited to people who live in rural areas. So he not only has enough space available but also has the opportunity to pursue his favorite pastime, nose work. Small city apartments are therefore not ideal for this dog breed.

English Springer Spaniel

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Is an English Springer Spaniel right for me?

The English Springer is quite undemanding in its keeping. Ideally, he would live in a house in the country with a garden. But it also works in the city if you take it out into nature enough. He is an extremely pleasant companion on walks and hikes through nature. You should just keep an eye on its hunting instincts and know your species’ body language and thinking well. So you can call him up in time and ideally even let him walk without a leash without any problems. The English Springer is completely unproblematic in everyday life and can be taken anywhere; preferably in a professional transport box. Like all spaniels, the English Springer Spaniel is a deeply friendly partner who is willing to learn and makes it easy for people to train and work with them. He wants and needs that guidance. He has a strong will to please. But he is not a dog that just waits for commands from his master or mistress. He has his own will. Rules should be established for this, which then have to be observed – also by the two-legged friends. The be-all and end-all of education is consistency based on a close emotional relationship of trust. By no means should you want to break his stubbornness, you should respect him and quietly enjoy it. In this way, his training is very successful and is also feasible for the committed beginner with dog understanding. A certain challenge is a hunter in the heart of the English Springer. If you want to be able to let him off the leash, you should train him from the puppy onwards so that you can call him up at any time. You should also get him used to the fact that he can be left alone for long periods of time when he is a puppy. This is difficult for him because he is very attached to his people.

Belgian Malinois

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What characteristics does a Malinois have?

The Malinois is originally a herding and herding dog. But he always had a wide range of other tasks, including heavy physical work as a draft dog. Even if you don’t see it at first glance, he is an extremely robust and strong working dog that is capable of top performance. It’s about the same size as the German shepherd, but much less bulky, making it faster, more agile, and more responsive. The balance between body weight and performance is highly effective. The Malinois can be used in many ways. He works in many areas as a service dog, for example in the rescue service, at customs, or with the police. He is a good guard and excellent protection dog. He has also established himself as a sport dog and can be found in the first places in almost all disciplines. The high level of intelligence, the enormous productivity, and the pronounced will to work make the agile dog appear a bit nervous at times. The standard requires a lively and lively temperament as well as a solid character that knows neither fear nor aggressiveness. However, the separation into working and so-called beauty breeding has not done the breed any good. The dogs from the working lines sometimes appear overly motivated, even shy and fearful. The dogs from so-called beauty breeds sometimes miss the shepherd dog. The question arises as to what kind of understanding of the human-dog partnership leads to determining the quality of a dog based on artificially devised details of its coat colour. A good dog has no color. The Malinois as a passionate working dog – highly intelligent, sensitive, and above all willing to work – needs a master or mistress to work with him. You should always keep that in mind. If these dogs are not challenged, they can dump their frustration into aggressiveness in the long run. If Mali is used professionally, whether on duty or in sport, it is a wonderful partner as well as a great family dog ​​- although not necessarily for a beginner.

Is a Malinois right for me?

The Malinois is extremely undemanding in terms of the external conditions of its keeping. However, he is extremely demanding when it comes to handling him. He needs a lot of challenges (see the Activities section). The ideal is a rural environment where you can go on daily excursions with him in addition to work or sport. The Malinois needs active people around them. Unfortunately, the Belgian shepherds, and here the Malinois in particular, have become fashionable in recent years. Many interested parties and dubious breeders ignore the fact that living with these dogs places high demands on them. They are not couch potatoes or lap dogs. Unfortunately, the animal shelters fill up with these wonderful dogs. The Malinois takes a long time to grow up. They only really mature mentally at the age of three. Since they are committed, willing to work, and highly intelligent, they place high demands on their owners right from the start. They are very easy to train, but you have to know how. At first, they should be given plenty of time to play, and at the same time to learn the basic rules of living with people. Direct training and so-called obedience training should be started in reasonably stable individuals from around the age of ten months. Unfortunately, stun guns and other violent measures are occasionally used, despite the legal ban. This destroys the dog’s self-confidence and willingness to work. The use of such means is not even necessary and only shows the incompetence of such holders. The dogs want and can learn and, on the basis of trust and dog-friendly communication, perform enormously in the service of humans. A Malinois must first be trained like any dog. There he learns the social rule, the do’s and don’ts. As a rule, a Malinois should then receive a thorough education. Only there can he develop his temper and satisfy his need for work. For training, you should definitely get in touch with experts from dog schools and clubs.

Labrador Retriever

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The appearance of the Labrador Retriever

According to the breed description, the Labrador is a medium-sized and powerfully built dog with a broad skull and a clear stop. Typical of the breed is the so-called “otter tail”, which is very thick at the base and covered with thick fur. The coat of the Labrador should be short with a good undercoat and should be fine and harsh and not wavy. A distinction is now made between a show line and a working line. Unfortunately, the show line often degenerates into a very sluggish and overfed dog, while the working line often becomes too light of the building and some appear more greyhound-like. Both extremes should not be and are not described as such in the breed standard.

Labrador retrievers: conclusion

In order to find the right type of Labrador for you, you should take a closer look at the breeder and his breeding goals in advance and critically question whether this type of dog fits into his environment – with all the advantages and disadvantages! Even an active family that does not go hunting or finds their calling in dummy sports can be super happy with a Labrador from the working line. Every Labrador wants to be busy. The trick will be to use this all-around talent appropriately, but not to overwhelm it. Even if you would like it to be: the Labrador is not a jack of all trades either. However, my personal declaration of love goes to the Labrador. In my opinion, he is one of the most versatile dogs with more advantages than disadvantages. And when he’s foolish again and has cleared the kitchen counter, you can still say: “He’s beautiful for that!”

German Shepherd Dog

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It is one of the most widespread working dog breeds in the world. But the German shepherd is also ideal for family life thanks to its willingness to learn and people-related nature.

What is in the character description

If you look at descriptions of the nature and character of the DSH, you will come across the following statements again and again (albeit differently formulated): The DSH is (highly) intelligent and willing to learn, attentive, has strong nerves (balanced), self-confident (courageous), outside a Irritation benign, while alert, he protects family, house and yard. Often one also reads that the DSH has guard, defense and protective instincts, but with continuous, consistent training despite its hardness shows itself to be docile and subordinate to its owner (often it is still called “his master”). Due to these characteristics, in addition to consistent training, exercise and activity that goes beyond pure physical activity are essential. Therefore, it is often recommended to exercise the dog through dog sports. Dogs that do not have the characteristics described above do not correspond to the breed (the breed standard), which suggests poor (rearing) breeding or mistakes in socialization and upbringing.

What that means

At first glance, that sounds like a consistently great dog with many positive qualities, and one wonders: “Why then the often bad reputation?” To understand this, it can help to take a closer look at certain statements and read between the lines. You should also be aware that every dog ​​is an individual and that the characteristics typical of the breed described can be more or less pronounced in every dog. So there is a whole range of behaviors within a breed, which are also influenced by many other factors than just race.

A (highly) intelligent dog willing to learn

The DSH is actually a very intelligent dog and he learns very quickly. In addition, he also learns very sustainably, he has the proverbial memory of an elephant. What is good for you in education, training and also in sports often makes you stumble in everyday life, because the DSH learns good things and bad things just as quickly. And he also quickly learns things that he might not be supposed to learn at all (quite a few DSH owners have to lock their doors if they don’t want their dog to accompany them). Bad experiences in particular are learned very sustainably and can lead to problems in the future under similar circumstances, with the dog reacting with fear or aggressive behavior. He is actually a very attentive dog and it is precisely this attention that can become a problem if the dog reacts to everything that draws its attention, hardly ever rests, and is under constant stress.

Strong nerves and courageous

There was a time when the DSH was downright fashionable. And as always, when a breed becomes fad, it doesn’t necessarily do the breed good. In addition to various health side effects (and HD is probably the best known, but unfortunately by no means the only disease for which there is a genetic disposition in DSH), this was also reflected in behavior. In addition, there are also dogs in the DSH breed that are bred more for the show ring and those that are bred more for performance (sports dogs, service dogs). Certainly there are still very strong and balanced DSH, but unfortunately there are also many who no longer have these qualities and tend to turn into the opposite. One should be aware that a dog that is “brave” can also be a dog that does not back down in conflict situations and reacts with aggression (this is often the case in service and sport). In addition, with a dog with a quick perception and ability to react.


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The Beagle is a breed of dog originating from Great Britain. The smart hunting dog is assigned to FCI group 6, the group of scent hounds, scent hounds, and related other breeds, and section 1.3, the small scent hounds section. It can be found in the FCI directory under the standard number 161. In addition, the Beagle is on the list of domestic dogs and is declared by the FCI as a working dog with a working test. The European dog breed is often used for pack hunting or kept as a companion and family dog.

Being & Character of the Beagle

One of the Beagle’s most characteristic traits is his stubbornness, high self-will and lively nature. He is considered a cheerful and lovable companion as well as a loyal partner on the hunt. The Beagle knows what he wants and pursues his goals energetically and ambitiously. His pronounced hunting instinct, coupled with his excellent sense of smell and his speed makes the handsome Brit a wonderful companion on the hunt. The Beagle’s hunting ambitions should not be underestimated, especially when kept as a family or companion dog.

The idiosyncratic sports cannon, however, also loves to cuddle on the couch. The Beagle feels most comfortable in a large pack. Whether in a lively family, in a pack of dogs or with other pets, the hound is enthusiastic about lively family life. For this reason, it is also very suitable as a family dog.

Basset Hound

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With its elongated body and good-natured facial expression, the Basset Hound seems rather funny at first glance. His character also matches his external appearance: Balanced, good-natured, and sometimes a bit stubborn, the Basset Hound enriches family life with his lovable nature. His leisurely nature can sometimes belie his true origins of hunting. To this day, the Basset Hound has retained both its hunting instinct and a surprising joy of movement.

Origin & History

The Basset Hound originally comes from France, where it was probably bred by monks in the Middle Ages as a hunting dog. The Basset Hound’s ancestors are the now-extinct Basset d’Artois and the Basset Artésien Normand, which arrived in England in the second half of the 19th century. A bloodhound was also crossed in 1892 to improve the breed’s sense of smell. Outside of Great Britain, the Basset Hound then spread, particularly in the USA, where it was meanwhile bred purely as a fashion dog with overemphasized breed characteristics. In the meantime, more and more value is being placed on balanced breeding.

Basset Hound Nature & Character

The basset hound is a calm and even-tempered dog in the house, which convinces as a family or companion dog with its unobtrusive behavior. He is also generally friendly to strangers. When dealing with his owner or his family, he is affectionate and gentle. The Basset Hound, which once hunted independently, has retained a certain independence to this day and therefore special emphasis must be placed on consistent training.

The Basset Hound is a strong and persistent dog that has retained its good qualities as a hunting dog to this day. Particularly noteworthy is its excellent sense of smell, which allows the Basset Hound to work reliably and persistently in the welding work. Although not a fast dog, the Basset Hound still displays a good hunting drive and excellent endurance. Especially when hunting rabbits, he is able to persistently pursue small games over a long period of time. Even a Basset Hound that is kept as a family or companion dog needs a lot of daily exercises and enjoys being allowed to roam freely. Only with the appropriate amount of exercise will he prove to be a calm and even-tempered dog indoors.


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The Bloodhound belongs to the sixth FCI group, which includes scent hounds, scent hounds and related breeds, and there in turn to selection 1, the large scent hounds. The FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) has divided the recognized dog breeds into 10 FCI groups, each containing breeds of the same type and with related characteristics, as well as the breed standards that must be met for breeding.

Nature & character of the Bloodhound

The Bloodhound is considered to be extremely intelligent, affectionate, calm, and gentle and is very oriented towards its human pack leader, who should always give it direction. Even the puppies are very devoted to their humans, but after a normal socialization phase, these dogs generally have no problems with conspecifics. Although the Bloodhound is a huge, bulky dog, it doesn’t tend to be aggressive. Due to his reserved nature, he is not bothered by other dogs on walks and does not start territorial fights, but goes his own way.

His sense of smell is extremely excellent, which is why this dog breed is said to have the world’s best nose. Track training and search games mean fun for the bloodhound and are a real elixir of life for it. This makes this dog breed an ideal companion for people who work in the emergency services or at customs. Wherever a particularly good nose is required, the bloodhound is in his profession. You can still tell that the Bloodhound was bred as a working animal because it always wants to be busy. So the Bloodhound is not a couch potato, but a persevering scent hound that needs ample exercise at least twice a day and wants to be kept busy.