Drug-sniffing dogs must be patient, enjoy their work, have a good sense of smell and follow directions well. A dog has at least 215 million more olfactory receptors than a human does, which makes just about any breed far more capable than humans at sniffing out drugs. To operate safely when working in the field, a dog must have the other characteristics of a police dog, which is why police units choose specific breeds for drug sniffing.
German shepherds are alert, intelligent, brave and obedient. They are also athletic and have keen senses of smell. Capable of learning its trade, obeying its handlers and going into dangerous situations without hesitation, a German shepherd is an ideal candidate for drug-sniffing police work.
The Belgian Malinois is similar to a German shepherd in appearance, behavior and skill, but lighter and sleeker in build. The dog's willingness to learn and work makes it suitable for drug-sniffing work.
Labrador retrievers are bred as retrieving dogs for hunters, though the breed once worked with fishermen. They are smart, kind, loyal and hard-working. These animals are gentle with humans and, bred properly, not inclined to bite. They may work for the police in various capacities, including drug detection.
Golden retrievers are loving, loyal, playful and intelligent -- the quintessential family dogs. They also serve as working dogs; the breed is among the most popular working dogs for police and guide work.
Argentine dogos are mastiffs, similar in appearance and reputation to pit bulls but larger. They are generally happy dogs that have enough energy and intelligence to work as drug sniffers when they have had the right training.
Bloodhounds, famous for their ability to track scents, are capable of any kind of police work that involves sniffing out a scent, including drug sniffing. Unlike German shepherds, bloodhounds are shy, which can make them less fierce in police work. The bloodhound's sense of smell makes up for any behavioral deficiencies.
The beagle, like the bloodhound, has a superior sense of smell. Beagles are famous for their use by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to sniff out illegal food transport. Their personalities and skills makes them appropriate for various uses by law enforcement.