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 The Internet of Things: TU Graz researchers increase the dependability of smart systems
18.02.2019 | Technische Universität Graz

nachricht Stanford researchers create a wireless, battery-free, biodegradable blood flow sensor
09.01.2019 | Stanford University

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solving the efficiency of Gram-negative bacteria

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Bacteria bide their time when antibiotics attack

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets

22.03.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>