Can you spot the difference between these two dogs?

Here’s a clue:

  • One eats everything he can get his snout into, and spends his time alternately getting belly rubs and snacks, sleeping, and attacking inanimate objects.
  • One is trained to sniff out even the tiniest traces of gluten and keep his very gluten-sensitive owner safe from harm.

Much as I’d love to spend today talking to you about our family pooch, the ever-hungry Jake (pictured here in full regal repose), I suspect you’d rather hear about Elias (pictured above with his owner, Hollie).

Elias is a carefully-trained wonder dog, taught in Slovenia to detect even the minutest amount of gluten.

I know, right? A gluten-detection dog. Whatever will they think of next?

USAToday reports that Elias is a 100-pound, 2-year old, award-winning Beauceron. He protects Hollie Smith, a 22-year old college student who was diagnosed about 2 years ago and has particularly virulent reactions to gluten.

When it’s time for Elias to do his job, Hollie covers the food with a lid with holes and extends it to him for sniffing. If it’s safe, he turns away. If it has gluten in it, he tries to take it from her. Hollie keeps Elias sharp by testing him daily and including some known gluten-containing foods in the roster.

I’ve been doing some research trying to find out where Elias was trained, but to no avail. I’m 100% positive that our Jake would make a terrible, terrible gluten-detection dog, but the thought is certainly intriguing.

The search continues, and if I can locate the name of the training school the first place it will go is right up here. In the meantime, some questions:

  • Have you heard of any gluten-detection dogs, aside from Elias? If so, where?
  • If you had the option of getting a gluten-detection dog of your own, would you?