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Forensic Sci Int. 1994 Dec 1;69(2):111-8.

The ability of dogs to recognize and cross-match human odours.

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University of Leiden, Department of Criminalistics, The Netherlands.


The Dutch police use specially trained dogs, Canis familiaris, to identify criminals from scented objects left at the scene of the crime. As part of a study of the reliability of these identifications, experiments were performed to evaluate whether these dogs could match scents collected from different parts of the body. Dutch police dogs are capable of matching hand scent to scent collected in the crook of the elbow and vice versa, and of matching trouser pocket scent to hand scent. It appears that training and familiarity with the person whose scents have to be matched enhance the performance of the dogs. The reliability for judicial purposes entails further research since our knowledge of the sense of smell is limited.

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