Dobermans are a very popular breed due to their elegance, intelligence, loyalty, and versatility. They are highly favored by dog enthusiasts around the world, especially those in law enforcement, for their remarkable sense of smell.

However, the breed is often marred by the longstanding and deeply entrenched belief that Dobermans lose their sense of smell as they age.

This idea has been around for a long time and has caused many Doberman owners to worry about their dogs’ ability to sniff out scents. So, are these people right to worry?

Do Dobermans Lose Their Sense Of Smell?

No, Dobermans do not naturally lose their sense of smell as they age. The idea that Dobermans’ sense of smell deteriorates over the years is simply a myth, an urban legend with no scientific data to back it up.

Dobermans have an excellent sense of smell, even amongst other breeds known for their ability to detect scents that are far beyond human ability to perceive.

However, like all dogs, Dobermans can experience a decline in their sense of smell as a result of certain medical complications. This could be the reason why so many people believe the myth that Dobermans lose their olfactory ability.

So let’s dig a little deeper into the potential reasons why your Doberman could experience a deterioration in its sense of smell. This will help you identify potential issues with your Doberman, and provide a framework for finding a solution.

Reasons Why Your Doberman Could Lose Their Sense Of Smell

Common Reasons Why Your Doberman Could Lose Their Sense Of Smell

There are several reasons why a Doberman may lose its sense of smell. Some of the most common reasons include:

Respiratory Infections

One of the primary symptoms of a respiratory infection is inflammation of the nasal passages, sinuses, and adjacent airways, all of which can severely impair a Doberman’s sense of smell.

The multitude of highly sensitive olfactory receptors that help a dog detect even the faintest of scents are located along these passages, and any blockage caused by swelling can drastically reduce their ability to detect odors.

Additionally, another common side effect of a respiratory infection is an increased production of mucus, which accumulates inside the animal’s airways, further damaging the sense of smell.


Allergies can have a markedly negative impact on a Doberman’s sense of smell because they can damage the olfactory nerves responsible for detecting and processing different odors, making them less sensitive and less able to detect environmental smells.

On top of that, allergies also cause inflammation of the respiratory tract and increased mucus production, thus exacerbating the problem.

Nasal Polyps or Tumors

Growths such as non-cancerous polyps and cancerous tumors that develop within the nasal cavity will easily obstruct airflow and hinder a Doberman’s sense of smell by reducing its ability to detect scents.

Cancerous tumors are especially harmful because, in addition to obstructing airflow, they can damage or destroy the olfactory nerves and receptors that are essential for a heightened sense of smell. Schedule a regular checkup with your vet.

Medications and Toxins

Certain medications, such as antibiotics and antifungals can severely interfere with a dog’s sense of smell by damaging the olfactory epithelium, which is the thin layer of tissue that lines the nasal passages and contains the receptors responsible for detecting scents.

Toxins can cause a similar effect. These include household chemicals, pesticides, etc.

It’s important to recognize that it’s not normal or natural for a Doberman to lose its sense of smell, and if you notice signs of it happening, you should take action.

What To Do If Your Doberman Loses Their Sense Of Smell

What To Do If Your Doberman Loses Their Sense Of Smell

If you suspect that your Doberman has lost or is losing its sense of smell, the first step is to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian who can perform a thorough evaluation to determine the underlying cause.

Since different factors can affect your dog’s sense of smell in a negative way, there are several different treatment options. These include medications, surgery, or other types of interventions.

Keep in mind that all dogs, including Dobermans, are highly dependent on their sense of smell. This means a deteriorating sense of smell can diminish your dog’s quality of life and emotional well-being, and even impair their ability to perform basic tasks. As such, it is extremely important that you create a safe and supportive environment until they can return to normalcy.

Thankfully, with quick diagnosis and proper treatment, it’s possible to help your Doberman regain its sense of smell and restore its overall quality of life.