What’s with the butt sniffing of dogs?

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Dogs, butt sniffing

Have you any idea how many butt aromas are in your dog’s memory from butt sniffing over the years? Dogs of all shapes and sizes sniff each other’s butts, saying “How D’ya Do” or “Good to see you again.” Humans often turn their heads away and giggle, embarrassed with the butt sniffing behaviors of their dogs. However, that is entirely unnecessary. Dogs learn a lot from this routine sniffing, which is similar to us humans using our eyes. We observe the hair, clothing and other aspects of other humans we come across.

Dogs, meeting

Dogs’ noses can learn significantly more than we do upon meeting another person. Each dog’s odor is unique. With a single sniff, two dogs will know whether they’ve met before, regardless of how long ago. Butt sniffing is not only a greeting but also an opportunity to gather vital information.

The super butt sniffing powers of dogs

Most people do not realize that their smelling powers do not come near the super sniffing powers of dogs. Olfactory receptors are responsible for detecting odors. Human noses have about 5 million of these receptors. In comparison, dogs have between 150 million and 300 million, depending on their breed. For instance, Bloodhounds are the best sniffers, and the number of receptors in their noses are likely much higher than some other canine breeds.

Regardless of the breed, all dogs are super sniffers when compared to humans. When dogs process the scent signals, they use about one-third of their brainpower. Humans, on the other hand, use only one-twentieth of their brains for processing odors.

How do butt sniffing dogs process the scents of others?

Dogs have an organ in their snouts that include openings that form a direct connection between the roofs of their mouths and their brains. It is the vomeronasal organ, aka the Jacobson’s organ. This organ does not identify smells in the same way humans do. For example, we will identify odors like gasoline and lavender. In contrast, the Jacobson’s organ of a dog will do a chemical analysis of the scent molecules.

What do dogs “read” in the butt smell of another dog?

Based on the chemical analysis, a dog can read the  gender of another dog. It can even determine the other dog’s mood, and whether that dog is friendly or not. Also, the gender, health and mating status, and even what food the other dog has eaten recently, and a whole lot more.

Dog, sniffing crotch

But why sniff the butt?

Dogs have two anal sacs on either side of the base of their tails. They are glands that secrete a liquid, which other dog use for identification and all the additional information I mentioned.

When last has a dog given you a crotch sniff?

We have all had those awkward moments when a dog comes up to us for a crotch sniff. That is because humans also have those glands that manufacture pheromones. We have them in our armpits and our crotches. Dogs typically sniff the crotches of strange people to learn to know them.

Now that I know more about dogs’ sniffing habits, I want to find out why dogs roll in smelly things from rotten fish to poop and more.

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