Dogs Are Better At Telling Human Twins Apart Than A DNA Test

Written by: Tori Holmes

March 15, 2016

If you’re anything like me, you probably have at least one set of identical twins in your life that you have trouble telling apart. Next time you’re struggling to figure out which twin you’re talking to, you might be able to save yourself some embarrassment and ask your dog to help you out.


A recent study has found that dogs are able to tell twins apart by their scent. Variations of this study have been done in the past, but with mixed results, but what this study has determined is that a dog’s ability to tell twins apart could be influenced by their level of training.


For this test, the scientists chose to use police dogs with the highest level of training. This was a logical choice, as we know that police dogs are trained to identify individuals based on their scent.


To test their theory, the team of researchers took swabs from the bellies of two sets of identical twin children and two sets of fraternal twin children and presented them to 10 German shepherds. The dogs went through a series of 12 tests, each of which tested their ability to sniff the swab and find the matching scent from several possible samples.


Unlike the previous tests, these dogs were able to pick out the correct sample every time, even though each twin lived in the same house and ate the same food as their sibling.

What makes these dog’s abilities so impressive is that DNA tests could not even tell the identical twins apart. A dog’s nose was able to beat sophisticated scientific technology. How crazy is that?


This study is only the beginning, though. While the results show that there are distinguishable differences between twins, we still don’t know what exactly those differences are. For these researchers, the next question is whether the scents of identical twins start to differentiate with age.


So next time you find yourself struggling to tell twins apart, just ask your dog. As long as they have the same extensive training as police dogs, that is!

H/t Live Science.

Written by: Tori Holmes

March 15, 2016

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A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.