Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Dog and jackal hybrids are perfect sniffer ’dogs’

08.05.2002


Nowadays society is deeply concerned with the safety issues, the flight safety in particular. Despite the technological progress, people can not do without dogs` assistance, as no device is capable of replacing the dogs` scent in search of explosive substances and drugs. Dogs are indispensable for differentiating between different individuals by specific smells. To work efficiently a dog needs excellent scent and ability to learn quickly. It is only in Russia that the unique animals -dog and jackal hybrids - have been bred for this purpose. This effort has been undertaken by Klim Sulimov, Senior Research Assistant, D.S. Likhachev Scientific Research Institute for Cultural Heritage and Environmental Protection.




However, why did the scientists come to the idea of breeding the hybrids? The matter is that wild jackals have a better sense of smell than any dog breeds. In the course of domestication animals have lost a lot of qualities needed for living at large. Along with that, it is hard to work with wild animals: they would never trust people completely and be as obedient as dogs. Besides, jackals endure cold weather pretty badly - unlike their congeners, they perspire from all the skin surface. So, hybridisation has appeared to be the only solution.

The scientists had to choose the dog breed best suited for the purpose. "We have chosen arctic dogs - reindeer herding husky, Sulimov told us. Northern dogs have better sense of smell than all other dog breeds, as huskies are used under severe conditions of arctic cold. Substances become non-volatile under low temperatures, that is why a sense of smell becomes keener." The reindeer herding huskies in the North of Russia help to graze reindeers.


By the way, the gun dogs - greyhounds, hounds and setters have got a weakened sense of smell. If a dog`s scent is too keen, the dog is able to smell not only a fresh scent of an animal, but also the scent of the previous day, the two smells confusing the dog. When the dog starts differentiating between multiple smells, it loses time and is unable to promptly perform a specific task of catching the prey. In this situation the dogs with weaker scent gain the advantage being hot on the trail. Hunters normally choose such dogs for breeding, rejecting the dogs with too keen sense of smell. As a rule, this method of selection does not apply to the shepherd dogs, people not trying to affect their sense of smell.

It is not easy to interbreed the jackal and the dog. Only the animals raised by the dog can be forced to such interbreeding. The sexual partner imprinting accompanies such interbreeding. This is particularly important for male jackals, their mating period being very short. The first jackals for unique hybrids were delivered to Moscow in 1975 from the Baku breeding nursery. "Four cubs were tightly packed in a shoe-box, says Sulimov. But they survived the travel all right - the cubs grew up and produced posterity." Their cubs were laid under a bitch of the reindeer herding husky, which raised them. Then the scientists initiated interbreeding.

It was rather easy to cross the male dogs and the female jackals. The reverse crossing turned out more difficult, but nevertheless it succeeded - for the first time in the world. The jackal and dog half-breds had extraordinary scent, but it was very hard to train them. To overcome the difficulty the researchers decided to interbreed them again with the dogs and as a result the quarter-bred hybrids were obtained (the scientists called them `quadroons`). This time the desired result was achieved: the animals had excellent scent and good learning capabilities. The researchers chose not to proceed with the interbreeding, it was necessary to further maintain the gene pool, crossing the `quadroons` with each other. The `quadroons` were employed by the forensic criminology examination department for recognition of a human being`s individual smell. The criteria of efficient smell differentiation were strict: three dogs one by one should have been able to indicate that a certain smell belonged to a certain individual.

Twenty-five jackal and dog hybrids are currently working at the Sheremetevo Airport and ten more - at the expert-criminology center. It has appeared very convenient to use these hybrids at the airport: they are small and can creep through the narrowest spots, when an aircraft is inspected before the departure. They can easily climb up the stairs and walk along narrow cornices. The German shepherd dogs are not fit for this purpose. On top of that, the hybrids help catching the airport thieves who break open the baggage and wipe off their fingerprints (but the smell remains!). "Our dogs are all different and this is an advantage - one key does not fit all locks, says Sulimov. Some tasks require smaller dogs, others - larger and quicker ones. We keep in mind that the hybrid dog can work efficiently for 20-30 minutes, and then it should be replaced by a fresh one. The dog`s tail (which is coiled up - a feature inherited from the husky) indicates that the dog`s vitality is low: if the tail is down - the dog is tired."

The unique hybrids do not make a registered breed yet, they even do not have an approved name, being simply called `Sulimov`s dogs`. It would not make any difference, but the lack of the official registration has prevented the aviation security service from adding the hybrid dogs to the balance sheet since all respective instructions are intended only for the war-dogs of the German shepherd kind. `Sulimov`s dogs` do not have an established value, although they are invaluable for work. There is no chance yet to obtain the official certificate for them. This controversial situation significantly complicates the research work carried out by Sulimov and his colleagues. The dogs are unaware of the fact that they have not been registered - they continue working to protect people`s lives.

Nadejda Markina | alphagalileo

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Bergamotene - alluring and lethal for Manduca sexta
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht How to color a lizard: From biology to mathematics
13.04.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>