I have to agree with you, Luke. I'd normally opt for black and white. But the muted colors retain the general appeal of the B&W image while adding just a bit more. Smell is a good word for it. But maybe it's a secret sense that only we dog lovers have.
I slightly prefer the first image. I think the B&W version deals with the material on the right a little better, but the colour version works better as a portrait (if that's what one calls a picture of a dog)