The Italian study backs up tests carried out by the charity Medical Detection Dogs, which is based in Buckinghamshire.
Its co-founder Dr Claire Guest said its own research had found a 93% reliability rate when detecting bladder and prostate cancer, describing the new findings as “spectacular”.
The latest research, by the Department of Urology at the Humanitas Clinical and Research Centre in Milan, involved two German shepherds sniffing the urine of 900 men – 360 with prostate cancer and 540 without.
Scientists found that dog one got it right in 98.7% of cases, while for dog two this was 97.6%.
They said the dogs are able to detect prostate cancer specific volatile organic compounds in the urine but said an important question remains of how a dog would find it in daily practice.