Cheese-sniffing dogs were a feature of many fine French fromagiers ever since Charles the Bald had retained a pair to help test his own cheeses for quality after narrowly avoiding illness from an improperly aged brie. Eventually, a number of cheese-sniffing dogs were bred throughout Europe, often by the same monks that made the cheeses. Roquefort was the most commonly dogged cheese, with many insisting as late as 1898 that they would only eat cheeses that bore the stamp of a master chien-fromage’s master.

When, in 1875, a French-style cheesemaker opened in Queensland, Australia, 24 Roquefort-sniffing mastiffs were imported from Europe. Due to a combination of mismanagement, unseasonable weather, and lack of experience, the cheesemaker shuttered after less than a year, turning the dogs loose. They quickly interbred with the local population of dingoes, creating a subpopulation that demonstrated the behavior of a European cheese-sniffing dog for several generations. As late as 1900, bulletins were posted for travelers warning them against bringing Roquefort cheese into the area, lest they attract the attention of the so-called “roquefort dingoes.”

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