Hunting for Mushrooms: Truffles?

Planning to truffle hunt with your dogs this season?

Truffle hunting: Could become a great sport for the pack and you don’t need a Lagotto Romagnolo 

The breed known for truffle hunting is the: Lagotto Romagnolo – a breed from Italy, known to hunt for truffles. This breed looks nothing like my doxies!

When I was at Pet Expo about a week ago I spoke with a woman from the “Canine Scent Institute” organization and she’s on point for Northwest Truffle hunting. We do so much Nosework so it seems a perfect fit for my pack of hounds. I asked her if she’d come out for a seminar with our Doxie club since all my doxie friends would certainly benefit from knowing about this sport right in our backyards. this image credit: NW Truffle Dogs this image credit: NW Truffle Dogs

There is a history behind truffle hunting – many local foodies cook with truffles – and I’ve had some delicious pasta prepared with truffle oil. CNN did a story and apparently black truffles are the most sought after and can go for as much as “$1,000 a pound or cost a diner upward of $75 extra for a simple shaving on a dish”. The writer also mentioned they grow underground near oak and hazelnut trees. Soil conditions required for this fungus to flourish is basically a lot of rain – so that’s why chefs look to the Pacific Northwest for their precious truffles. The season runs for three months: December to February.

While I probably won’t become a Truffle Dog trainer – I’m certainly interested in checking it out. It looks like there is fall enrollment open on their site. The workshop looks fairly straight forward and your dog doesn’t need any previous truffle training.

The benefits I see immediately are:

  • Truffles can be sold for money – they’re pricey so why shouldn’t my dogs work for their meals J
  • Enhance their hunting ability – why not – they love to hunt so this can only help them when they’re in the field.
  • Find a foodie friend and share Truffles with her – I have a friend with a new restaurant so perhaps her chef would want truffles? It’s worth a try.
  • It’s a perfect outdoor, Northwest activity for the fall and winter season

The cons:

  • My dogs search for odor, bunnies and currently rats under our deck so I worry hunting for a truffle won’t be their priority when out in the forest….
  • Shermie is reactive on leash – how will this impact his ability to search on leash?
  • Another sport… we are sticking to Field Trials, Nosework (we’re wait listed for the upcoming Elements trial) and possibly Earth Dog. Do I want to add another sport to the list?

So it appears the benefits far outweigh the cons. Happy truffle hunting – if this is something you’re planning to do, post a comment and give me some feedback on your experience!




There are 11 Comments

  1. Wow, I never thought of training a dog to hunt truffles, but that’s a great idea! I wonder how hard it is to teach? That’d be a pretty sweet side hustle!

  2. We’ve been thinking of doing the Truffle hunting, too! I have the same problem with my dogs with the looking for critters so I feel the same way as you. I’m worried they’d be hunting for critters instead of truffles. LOL We ran into the Truffle people at Pet Expo and it seems like a fun thing to do!

    • All my dogs want to do is look for critters so I have the exact same concerns! We’re doing Earth Dog this weekend with my doxie club. Have you ever tried Barn Hunt? Thanks for your comments!

  3. Carol says:

    What a great way to use all that NoseWork training! Aren’t dogs’ noses amazing!!

  4. Emma says:

    We do tracking and nose work, just got my NW2 title on the weekend and I have my vehicle and container level 1 element titles. People are always telling my mom we should be sniffing out truffles to make some money. When we lived in Europe it was a “thing” some dogs did, didn’t know they even existed here. I don’t see the woods being a distraction. We are avid hunters, but when we are “working” in tracking or nose work, we focus on the scent we are supposed to find. It would be quite interesting to try. We would only do it for the sport and possible money as my mom wouldn’t ever eat one. She is a picky eater.

    • Congrats on your nosework titles! We’re wait listed for an Element trial and there hasn’t been a NW1 trial here in months! I’m curious too- all the training on odor…. will it translate?

  5. Beth says:

    Truffle hunting seems like a fun and potentially profitable way to spend an afternoon with your dog!