Every season we get asked “don’t pigs usually find truffles”? Well yes, that was how it was done many many years ago and I imagine how people worked out that you could eat this delicacy that has a rather unusual shape and look.
In 2021 we introduced our mini pig “Truffle”, however with Covid lockdowns she didn’t get the training she required. Due to biosecurity issues we don’t encourage people to handle Truffle, however she will follow us to the Truffiere in the hope there may be a treat after we’ve finished. She has learnt to sit, although can be a bit stubborn at times.
Our farm dog, Barry is a Kelpie and is 4 years of age, Barry was sent away to be trained when he was 3 when he had reached the maturity to concentrate on the task at hand.
Barry loves to work and please and is ball obsessed, during the hunt Barry is treated with cheese and gets lots of ball play after work. Unfortunately, he also loves lots of pats so we need to let him finish work before he is spoilt.
You may not realise that all breed of dogs have the same ability to smell, which is hundreds of times better than us humans, due to the fact that their noses contain approx. 300 million olfactory receptors.
A dog’s brain that is devoted to analysing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than a human and their nose functions quite differently to ours, splitting the air they inhale into separate directions therefore allowing them to find an odour as far away as 1800 kms. Fortunately, our truffles aren’t that far away and being such a strong and unique odour, dogs are the best animal for sniffing out these delicacies during the hunt.
I hear you ask, Why not a Pig? I know some of you would know that European tradition and history shows these animals being used, however that was many many years ago. Some truffieres might use them for the novelty effect, however, most truffle hunters aren’t brave enough to put their hand between a hungry pig and a truffle, the risk of losing a finger or two is a serious concern. Nor are most strong enough to hold off a ravaging pig on a mission for a truffle feast. Therefore, today we use dogs and they are a welcome addition to the family. Of all odours, truffle, is one of the easiest to train them on, enjoy a quick video of Barry 2 weeks into his truffle training.