Aylesbury Vale's amazing Medical Detection Dogs break Guinness World Record for sniffing out diseases

‘We’re really proud of what we achieved, it’s a fantastic record’
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Residents in the north of Aylesbury Vale have long known that Medical Detection Dogs are special, but now it’s now official – the super-sniffer dogs are record breakers according to the global authority Guinness World Records.

Great Horwood-based charity Medical Detection Dogs does pioneering work training dogs to sniff out the chemical compounds in various diseases.

In February 2022, the charity broke its first record for the ‘most medical conditions detected by dogs (organisation)’, with a total of 28 diseases since the charity was founded in 2008, earning it a spot in the Guinness World Records 2023 book. 

The portfolio of medical conditions that Medical Detection Dogs have been trained to detect during the charity’s history includes severe allergies, postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS), Type 1 diabetes, malaria and Addison’s disease.In November 2022, the charity attempted to set a second Bio Detection record – the most consecutive medical samples identified by dogs.

During the simulation, the task was for five dogs to pinpoint the presence of different medical conditions, sniffing out their designated diseases from several samples, such as urine, saliva or breath.

The five diseases were Parkinson’s disease, prostate cancer, Pseudomonas infection, (PoTS) and Covid-19.

And five record-breaking dogs, Bumper, Jodie, Jude, Florin and Lexi along with two trainers, Mark Somerville and Olivia James, triumphed – setting the record by correctly identifying 24 samples in a row.

Two of the record-breaking Medical Detection DogsTwo of the record-breaking Medical Detection Dogs
Two of the record-breaking Medical Detection Dogs

This was an incredible feat, not least because they were working quite differently from how they normally would and each of the dogs had to pass by four other diseases before indicating that they’d found their own.

Sophie Aziz, head of research at Medical Detection Dogs, said: “We’re really proud of what we achieved, it’s a fantastic record.

"We already know our dogs are superstars and that they can find these diseases – and usually amongst very complicated samples that will smell very similar to the positive samples we lay out for them.”

Co-founder and chief scientific officer Claire Guest said: “Medical Detection Dogs is so proud to have achieved this. Not only does it show the ability of our dogs – that we always knew – but it also shows how reliably they can detect these diseases, even in such an unusual situation.

Charity co-founder and chief scientific officer Claire GuestCharity co-founder and chief scientific officer Claire Guest
Charity co-founder and chief scientific officer Claire Guest

"I think the thing the dogs were most pleased about is that they got their biscuits and other rewards!”

Adam Millward, managing editor of Guinness World Records, said: “Having grown up with dogs who always managed to track down what seemed to be very well-secreted snacks, I’ve long been aware of their superlative sense of smell.

"But after spending the day at Medical Detection Dogs and seeing their incredible Bio Detection dogs in action, I’ve got a whole new respect for canine olfaction.

"I was blown away, not just by their accuracy and the huge potential this research could have for the future of disease diagnosis, but also by how much fun they were clearly having with their trainers while carrying out this potentially lifesaving work.

"Huge congratulations to the super-hounds and the MDD team – I suspect this may not be the last record they sniff out!”