Do Trained Dogs Discriminate Individual Body Odors of Women Better than Those of Men?*
Abstract: Scent identification lineups using dogs are a potentially valuable forensic tool, but have been dismissed by some critics because of cases where a false identification was shown to have occurred. It is not known, however, why dogs appear to make more false indications to the odors of some persons than of others. In this study, human genders were compared as to the degree their individual odors are distinguishable or “attractive” to dogs. Six dogs were trained to smell an individual’s hand odor sample and then find the matching hand odor sample in a lineup of five odors. Using one‐gender lineups and two‐gender lineups with different gender ratios, it was found that dogs trained for the study identified individual women’s hand odors more accurately than those of men. It is hypothesized that this is either because of differences in chemical compounds making discrimination of women’s odors easier, or because of greater “odor attractiveness” of women’s scents to dogs.
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