Researchers Have Just Discovered That Belgian Malinois Dogs Can Sniff Out Cancer

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Senior Editor of Branded Content at Wild Sky Media. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Woman's World. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law & Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

There’s no doubt in my mind that dogs are wonderful, intelligent animals. Knowing that I can go home to see my puppy at the end of every day makes working and commuting so much easier.

We all know that dogs are great at doing a variety of different things — they can be trained to jump through hoops, do incredible dances, take care of their humans, and so much more.

Dogs all over the world are trained for police and military purposes, making sure people are safe and secure in their daily lives. There are lots of dogs, often German Shepherds, who work for police forces, airport security, and more.

They’re trained to sniff drugs, illegal animals, and non-authorized imports.

But did you know that there are dogs who can actually sniff out cancer?

That’s right — researchers in France worked with two Belgian Malinois dogs to train them to sniff out breast cancer. Within six months, the dogs were 100 percent accurate.

Read on below to learn more.

[H/T Daily Mail]

UPDATE: A previous version of this article stated that the researchers used German Shepherds, but they actually used Belgian Malinois. The article has been updated to reflect this information.

german shepherd nose

Researchers in France realized that one of the biggest challenges in the fight against breast cancer is that many women don’t have access to diagnostic testing.

Isabelle Fromantin, who leads the KDOG Cancer Detect Group, explained to Daily Mail that there are many countries that have oncologists and surgeons, but people in rural areas can’t necessarily get mammograms.

dog nose

For people who can’t regularly get mammograms, this new cancer detection method could revolutionize breast cancer tests.

Researchers at KDOG assumed that sensitive dog noses would be able to pick up the distinguishing smell of breast cancer cells.

german shepherd sniffing

Researchers collected breast cancer cell samples from 31 patients by having them hold bandage pieces against their affected breast.

Then the team worked with a dog specialist to train two Belgian Malinois dogs, Nykios and Thor, to recognize the difference between the cancerous rags and noncancerous ones.

dog cone nose

Although they taught the dogs by using reward games, these dogs could be a very serious solution to breast cancer detection.

Six months after the dogs started training, researchers tested them with 31 new bandages that the dogs had never had access to before.

dog sniffing cancer

The researchers used 31 cancerous rags and three noncancerous rags. Each time the dogs were tested, researchers placed a bandage in a box with a large cone.

The dogs would sniff each box to determine whether or not there were cancerous cells on the rag inside.

On their first try, the dogs had a 90 percent success rate, but on the second try, they sniffed out 100 percent of the cancerous rags successfully.

german shepherd smelling

With such great success, the team is going to continue with more patients and more dogs.

The KDOG researchers believe that although there is technology that can do this as well, these dogs could one day replace the machines because they provide a noninvasive, cheap alternative.

smiling german shepherd

Although dogs do some pretty incredible things, this might be the most stunning of all!

If you love brilliant dogs, please SHARE this article with your friends!