Scent Work » Scent Work FAQ's

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Scent Work FAQ's

What is the difference between Scent Work and Nose Work?

Nothing. They are both the same except that different organizations use different terminology to describe what they do. Essentially (pun unintended), they have the same goal of teaching a dog to search for a Target Odour (an Essential oil).

Is there a minimum age?

Dogs must be at least 6 months of age before they are permitted to enter Qualifying Dogs NZ Scent Work Trials. However, training for these can commence before this age and certainly well beyond it.

Handlers of any age can participate but if under the age of fourteen, they must be accompanied by a non-participating adult guardian.

Does it suit all dogs?

Absolutely. Currently, throughout New Zealand, there is a large range of dog breeds participating from Dachshunds to Leonbergers and every size in-between. In the USA, the hound group has predominated but in NZ the greatest representation currently appears to be (with exceptional success), the Terrier group. 

Where do I receive Dogs NZ Scent Work training?

There are now several Dogs NZ Societies/Clubs offering Dogs NZ Scent Work classes as well as several private instructors. Most of these instructors will have at least attended an Introduction to Dogs NZ Scent Work” workshop. However, many have also participated in International (predominantly American and Australian) Scent Work training courses.

For an individual to be listed on the Dogs NZ Scent Work Web page as a recommended instructor, they have been required to make an application to the Dogs NZ Scent Work Committee along with supporting evidence of qualifications to instruct Dogs NZ Scent Work before being listed.

A list of recommended Dogs NZ Scent Work Instructors can be found at: (

What is the “Introduction to Dogs NZ Scent Work” workshop?

“Introduction to Dogs NZ Scent Work” workshops have been conducted throughout New Zealand since 2019, initially to (of course) introduce Dogs NZ members to a canine discipline that was first introduced to Dogs NZ by Central Search Dogs two years previously.

These workshops were established primarily to encourage Dogs NZ Scent Work participation and covered (as they still do), a summary of Dogs NZ’s involvement in Scent Work, Scent Imprinting, and an introduction to Novice Container Searches.

When launched, Dogs NZ “Introduction to Dogs NZ Scent Work” workshops are generally advertised through Dogs NZ Societies and Clubs of the general geographic area. They are also frequently advertised on the Dogs NZ Scent Work Web page along with a registration link: (

Who can participate in Dogs NZ Scent Work?

Entry to Qualifying Dogs NZ Scent Work Trials is open to anyone. That is, you do NOT have to be a Dogs NZ Member. Currently, 25% of those participating are not Dogs NZ Members. However, if a participant is seeking to endorse their dog with Dogs NZ recognized Scent Work Awards and Titles, then the handler must be a Dogs NZ Member and their dog registered with Dogs NZ.

Where can I get further information?

In the first instance, the best possible source of information regarding Dogs NZ Scent Work is the Dogs NZ Scent Work Web page (

Further requests for information can be obtained from either one of the many contacts indicated or from myself direct (

How do I gain a Dogs NZ Scent Work Award or Title?

Click here to read more.

Who governs Dogs NZ Scent Work?

Dogs NZ Scent Work is governed by a code autonomous Dogs NZ Scent Work Committee who are appointed by and solely responsible to the Dogs NZ Executive Council.

Conducting of and participation in Dogs NZ Scent Work Trials is regulated by the Dogs NZ Scent Work Regulations.

What are Scent Work Trials?

Scent Work Trials are opportunities for a handler and their dog to participate in a Scent Search of various Classes and Levels, depending on what is being offered by the hosting Dogs NZ Society/Club.

 Because Dogs NZ Scent Work is still very new, the variety offered is currently limited. However, while the variety may be more expansive in other arenas, the slower approach of introduction adopted by Dogs NZ is deliberate to ensure that quality and not quantity is established.

Internationally, Scent Work (within National Kennel Organizations) is still noticeably young and undergoing significant adjustment. By maintaining a moderated pace, Dogs NZ Scent Work can adopt and benefit from the changes required to be made by other International Kennel Associations.

What is Scent Work?

Who has not taken their dog for a walk and then had to stop repeatedly so that their dog can “read” the neighborhood news? Scent Work is a discipline that allows a dog to do what they do naturally every day, except that it is channeled in a more specific manner. That is, to discern and identify the location of specific Essential oils.

What is the difference between a Qualifying Dogs NZ Scent Work Trial and other Scent Work Trials?

Dogs NZ Scent Work Trials can be of either a “Qualifying” or non-qualifying type. Essentially, Qualifying Dogs NZ Scent Work Trials are occasions when a handler and their dog can acquire a qualifying certificate if they successfully complete a search within a specified time, and the Scent Work Trial is conducted in accordance with the Dogs NZ Scent Work Regulations.  

Non-qualifying Scent Work Trials are identical except that while they are still conducted in accordance with the Dogs NZ Scent Work Regulations, they are not necessarily judged by a Dogs NZ Scent Work Panel Judge. Neither are qualifying certificates issued.

Is Scent Work Internationally recognized?

Yes, it is, as an autonomous code by the American Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club (for approximately the past four years) and Australian National Kennel Council (for approximately the past two years). So, Scent Work as an independent code within the New Zealand Kennel Club is not only on a par regarding status with other international Kennel Associations but also as much a pioneer code.

Dogs NZ Scent Work Regulations is not only closely aligned with the Australian National Kennel Council Scent Work Regulations, but also has an ANKC representative on the Dogs NZ Scentwork Committee. It is believed that this will help establish possible Trans-Tasman qualifications in the future.

What Classes and Levels of Scent Work are offered at Dogs NZ Scent Work Trials?

Currently, there are four Classes and five Levels offered. These being:

Novice Container (of which there are two configurations).
Advanced Container.
Novice Interior.
Novice Exterior.
Novice Vehicle.

Dogs New Zealand Scent Work Regulations 6.3.1 refers to “five classes”, yet Regulation 7.2 lists only four classes. Is there a fifth Class?

Yes. Regulation 6.3.1 relates to the awarding of a Scent Work Novice Title, which applies when a person has met the qualifying criteria through their participation in at least three of five Novice Classes. However, only four are named in Regulation 7.2 because the fifth (missing) Class is "Burial", which is yet to be better refined before adding to the currently listed four.

Click here to read about the Bluebridge Exclusive Dogs NZ member discount.