Across North America and Europe Truffle dogs like Dante, a Lagotto Romagnolo, are used to sniff out an expensive delicacy called Truffles. Truffles are a kind of mushroom that grows underneath the roots of different trees, which are mainly used in Italian and French cuisine. Rare truffle varieties can cost $2000 per pound because they’re very difficult to find. The best truffles are found through their scent and Dogs like Dante can smell exactly where they are.
Charles Lefevre, Dante’s owner, is a mycologist (a mushroom expert) who specializes in truffles. Charles thinks that dogs can smell which truffles are ready when properly trained. The dogs are a big help for them for it is very important that truffles be picked when ripe because otherwise, it becomes less flavorful and less in value.
Not all dogs though can be a truffle hunter, only those known for their noses are chosen for the job. Some of the popular truffle-hunting breeds are Lagotto Romagnolo, Springer Spaniel, Beagles, and other hounds, Labrador retriever, Standard poodle, and Belgian Malinois. In Italy, though Lagotto Romagnolos, like Dante, is the official truffle-hunting dog.
According to though to Elizabeth Kalik, a dog trainer, with proper training, any dog with a strong nose might just make the cut. The company she works for, NW Truffle Dogs, has trained Pomeranian, a pit bull and a lot of mixed-breed and rescue dogs.
Truffle-hunting is a good hobby for dogs as well. It is fun, enriching and is a good bonding with them. Just like Molly the Beagle and her owner Leslie who went through a scent training but are only hunting truffles for fun. Leslie once said in an interview, “If the dog isn’t having fun, [we] stop”. They once joined a truffle dog competition in 2016 where Molly wasn’t able to find any truffle, but they did have loads of fun.
Surely truffle hunting is fun and invigorating. So why not try scent training and your dog might just be a truffle hunter.
Credits to Instagram @f_isforfoodie