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What is the verb for a dog searching or sniffing for something? Is spüren fitting? After all, that is what a Spürhund does.

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Well, a Spürhund does not spüren (to feel) but aufspüren (to scent, to track down) someone or something. As Emanuel correctly pointed out in comments, aufspüren means that the dog eventually found what he was searching.

The word sniffing is translated as schnüffeln. It means to breathe in to detect a smell and to discover something. (Schnüffeln is also figuratively used, as in English, for people who are sniffing around).

Dogs also schnuppern (to smell) something, that means he puts his nose near something to identify its smell.

Or you can simply use suchen (to search). This is the most common word when you take your dog for a walk and you play with him (throwing a ball, for instance). This word is also used for Spürhunde. They're also called Suchhunde anyway.

For the sake of completeness, if the dog found a trace, you can use wittern or riechen. Or the phrase eine Fährte aufnehmen.

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  • I think I'll go with wittern. I'm trying to describe this, btw. – MadTux Jan 6 '15 at 16:16
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    @MadTux This is kind of abstract. If you're writing a detailed description, you can even use all of the words. If it's a single sentence, it really depends on your actual sentence. – Em1 Jan 6 '15 at 19:27
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    I think it's worth noting that "aufspüren" is rather perfective, meaning that it does imply finding the item. The mere attempt at finding is not "aufspüren". – Emanuel Jan 6 '15 at 19:28
  • Witterung aufnehmen – Robert Jan 6 '15 at 22:26
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Ich habe mal ein bisschen bei Wikipedia durch den Jägerjargon gescrollt. Dabei habe ich folgende Begriffe gefunden:

Nachsuche: bezeichnet den Hund, der geschossenes Wild sucht und stellt (wird in mehreren Einträgen benutzt)

winden: mit dem Geruchssinn etwas wahrnehmen, riechen; beim Wild und beim Hund gebraucht (Zitat von Wikipedia)

Dann gibt es da noch den Begriff Quersuche, der beschreibt, dass der Hund in einem großen Umkreis sucht. Und nicht zuletzt lautet auch ein gängiges Kommando für Hunde

Such!

Daher würde ich sagen, das allgemeine Wort für was der Hund macht ist schlicht und einfach:

suchen

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