12 Smelly Dog Breeds: What Causes It and What Can Be Done About It

Almost everyone will agree that dogs are cute, lovable and amazing companions. But they do have a few downsides.

If you’re thinking about getting a dog, you need to know about all the potential problems you might face. One of those problems can be the smell of your dog.

Not all dogs were created equal, and some breeds are actually quite smelly. In some cases, the problem can be fixed. In other cases, you have to live with it.

That’s because some dogs start to smell because of health-related problems. These problems include things like tooth decay and infections.

But some dogs are just naturally smelly and they don’t have any health problems. These dogs may just slobber a lot or they might have an oily coat.

Let’s take a look at a list of the most smelly dog breeds and see if there’s anything we can do about their smell!

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard dog laying on grass

These large but affectionate dogs are famous for being a bit smelly. Originally from the Western Alps in Italy and Switzerland, these dogs can now be found all over the world.

They are great protectors and family dogs. But they also slobber a lot and this is the reason that they often smell. To make things worse, they have a thick double coat.

When their drool gets into that coat and stays there, it starts to stink. You can’t do much about their drooling since it’s in their nature to drool a lot.

But you can minimize the smell by cleaning its drool off its mouth and neck using towels. It’s also best to regularly wash them with a good dog shampoo.

This will help with the smell and keep its double coat clean. One other problem you should consider is gas.

These dogs sometimes experience excessive gas and their farts are usually quite smelly.

Basset Hound

Lazy Basset Hound resting on a dog bed

Another adorable dog that’s usually considered one of the smelliest dogs in the world. Even though they have cute eyes and long ears that a lot of people love, they can be very smelly dogs.

First of all, their coat is water-resistant. This makes them oily and can contribute to their smell. Second of all, they have lots of skin folds where bacteria can build up.

This can result in an infection that causes a bad smell. The most common infections in Basset hounds are lip-fold pyoderma (near the skin of the lower jaw) and ear infections. 

Most dogs with long ears or lots of skin folds are prone to these types of infections.

Thirdly, their long ears and their droopy jowls (the skin near their jaw) can get covered in food, drool or dirt, which can start to stink after a while.

On top of all this, they can also have excessive gas.

If you want to make sure your Basset Hound doesn’t smell too much, you need to give it regular baths, ensure it has a healthy diet, and clean its ears and jowls of any food or drool that’s stuck in them.

You should also inspect its ears for any signs of bacteria build-up (like a foul smell, for example).


Beagle sniffing the floor

A small, friendly and fun-loving breed that’s great with both adults and children, but can be a bit smelly.

They are actually hunting dogs with a great sense of smell and many people use them for this purpose. But they are also great dogs to keep in the house – if you can deal with their smell.

The smell that beagles have isn’t related to any health problems. It’s actually because this breed was made for hunting in groups with other beagles.

They developed a body odor to help other members of their group find them more easily. This means that they have a specific smell that doesn’t go away even if you wash them.

They also have long ears (like Basset hounds), that can get infected and start to smell.

Finally, they have oily coats that can make them smelly and increase the likelihood of skin infections.

The best way to deal with these problems is to wash and brush your beagle regularly and clean its ears every 2-3 weeks.

You can clean its ears using a clean cotton ball or gauze pad, and some ear cleaning solution. Just make sure the ear cleaning fluid is for dogs!

You can buy this fluid from most pet shops, on Amazon or even from your vet. All you have to do is lift its ear flap and gently squeeze a bit of ear cleaning fluid into your dog’s ear canal.

Your beagle will most likely shake their head during or after this. That is a normal reaction and there’s no need to worry.

By shaking their heads, they are actually helping to spread the fluid throughout their ear canal. This fluid helps get rid of wax and other debris that’s in your dog’s ear.

You should do this for both ears then massage the bases of their ears to help spread the fluid.

After that, all you have to do is wipe all the visible parts of their ear canals using a dry cotton ball/gauze pad.

Do not squirt the ear cleaning fluid forcibly into their ears. This can hurt your Beagle. Try to clean their ears when they are tired and not when they are active, to make the process easier.

Finally, if you lift the ear canal and see any signs of infection, do not clean your beagle’s ears. Take him to a vet as soon as possible.

The most common signs of infection are, a bad smell coming from its ears or discharge coming out of its ears.

The discharge might be black, brown, or yellow-green. Other signs include too much ear scratching and a lot of wax in its ears.

Cocker Spaniel

Two Cocker Spaniels posing for a picture

These beautiful dogs are smart, gentle, and energetic. They also make amazing companions. But they have almost the same problems as Basset Hounds and Beagles.

Their long, floppy ears are likely to get infected, and they have an oily coat, which can make them smelly. They also often have food allergies that can result in skin conditions and gas.

This problem is common for almost all Cocker spaniels, because people overbred them for a long time.

They can also have a smelly mouth that needs to be brushed regularly, if you want to keep the smell to a minimum.

Other than that, you should wash your Spaniel frequently, and clean its ears (from the outside) with a damp cotton ball every week.

You should also clean its ear canals every 2-3 weeks, the same way you would clean a Beagle’s ear canals.


Three Pugs waiting for treats

Many people find the wrinkly faces of these dogs very cute, but it’s also the reason they often smell quite bad.

Bacteria, food, and dirt can build up in these deep skin folds and cause a bad smell. The best way to deal with this is to clean in between these folds using facial wipes made for dogs.

You should also clean the areas around their mouth and chin after every meal, because they like to stick their faces into their food when eating.

The second problem that Pugs have is excessive gas. They have short, pushed-in snouts, and eat their food very quickly.

As a result, they swallow a lot of air and develop gas. This means they fart quite often, and this is the other reason that pugs are considered a smelly dog breed.

To solve this problem, you should buy a special food bowl that makes them eat slower. These bowls are designed to slow down your dog’s eating and reduce the amount of air they swallow.

By combining this solution with a correct diet and exercise, you can make your pug less stinky.

One final problem you need to pay attention to is their anal glands.

If you notice a strong smell coming from near his butt, or if he starts to drag his butt across the floor – take him to a vet as soon as possible.

Pugs often have problems with their anal glands and this results in a bad odor.


Continental Bulldog laying on a deck

These courageous, yet kind dogs are a very popular breed across the world for several reasons. They’re friendly, lovable, and loyal companions that can easily live in apartments.

They also love to play, but don’t require too much exercise. Unfortunately, they often smell bad as well.

Like Pugs, they have wrinkled faces – which means bacteria and food can get in between those wrinkles. When that happens, your dog starts to smell.

They can also get lip-fold pyoderma (like Basset hounds). This is an infection that your dog gets when his drool gets in between its skin folds and stays there for a while.

To solve this problem, you need to regularly clean in between those skin folds. You can use facial wipes made for dogs to do this. You should also keep the areas in between those folds dry.

Bulldogs also often have problems with their teeth. The shape of a bulldog’s face is the reason they have teeth-related problems and there’s not much you can do about that.

These dental problems include plaque and tooth decay, which can cause your dog’s mouth to stink.

To avoid this, you should brush your bulldog’s teeth and take him to a vet for regular check-ups.

Finally, bulldogs can sometimes have something called a “tail pocket”. Dogs with short or stubby tails usually have tail pockets, but some bulldogs might not have one.

A tail pocket is a small indentation or hollow part right under the tail. You can check if your dog has one by gently sticking one finger underneath its tail.

If your finger goes in a bit – then you’ve found a tail pocket. It’s like the area in between its skin folds. The problem with tail pockets is that a lot of dirt can get into that pocket.

When that happens, the tail pocket can become infected and start to stink. The best way to avoid this is by frequently cleaning the tail pocket with antiseptic wipes, or with a clean paper towel.

After cleaning it, make sure you dry the pocket using a dry cloth. If it stays wet, it might get infected.

Remember – this is an extremely sensitive part for dogs, so be extra gentle when cleaning it.

Shar Pei

Shar Pei playing on the beach

These intelligent and loyal watchdogs from China are famous for their extremely wrinkled skin. As you probably guessed, those wrinkles are the main reason that this is a smelly dog breed.

Bacteria between those skin folds can lead to infection, which results in a bad odor. But even if there is no bacteria build-up, they can still smell bad.

That’s because their natural oils, along with food and dirt, gets stuck in those wrinkles.

To avoid these problems, you should wash your Shar Pei once a month and keep the areas between those skin folds dry.

You should check in between his folds a couple of times a day and make sure that there is no moisture.

Usually, moisture builds up in the skin folds near their face. This is because food and water get into those areas when they’re eating. Use a towel to keep those areas clean and dry.


Hanoverian Bloodhound sleeping

Bred for hunting and tracking, these dogs have the best sense of smell compared to any other breed. They’re gentle and patient, but also independent and a bit stubborn.

If you train them correctly, you’ll have a loyal, life-long friend that’s always by your side. But with their long, floppy ears, oily coat and loose skin, they are one of the smelliest dogs you can find.

Similar to Basset Hounds, their water-resistant and oily coat gives them a very specific smell.

Their loose skin only makes it worse, because those oils get stuck between the folds and after a while they start to stink.

Their long ears are also a problem – just like with Basset hounds and beagles – because they can get infected.

Once infected, they’ll start to smell very bad until you get your dog to a vet and cure the infection.

Finally, they also drool quite a lot, just like Saint Bernards. This is not something you can do much about.

The only thing you can do is clean its drool off its face and chest during the day, and give him regular baths.

Yorkshire Terrier

Two Yorkies laying on a dog bed

These toy-sized dogs have a big personality and are loved across the world. They might be small, but they’re also brave, loyal and protective.

On top of that, they’re suitable for apartments and don’t shed much. But with so many advantages, they also have a few downsides – like more likely to smell bad.

The reason they don’t shed that much is because their coat is similar to human hair. But that hair can grow long if you don’t trim it - and this is the first reason they can smell.

Dirt and food often get stuck in that hair and create a bad odor. They also have oily skin (which is already enough to make your dog smell), which can lead to different skin problems and infection.

As you already know, infections like these are one of the most common causes of dog odor.

Like the rest of the smelly dog breeds on this list, Yorkshire terriers need regular showers if you want to avoid coat-related odors.

Trimming his hair and keeping it as short as possible is also recommended if you want to keep your dog clean and odor-free.

You should also regularly clean the areas around his mouth, because the hair in those parts is long and catches a lot of food.

Finally, you need to pay attention to their hairy ears, which can get infected, just like some of the other dogs listed in this article.

Yorkshire terriers often have dental problems as well. These problems are related to the size of the dog’s jaw (it’s quite small) and has nothing to do with how well you care for him.

The most common problem is tooth decay, which almost always creates a bad odor.

You should brush his teeth and take him to a vet for regular check-ups (especially if his breath starts to smell really bad). 


Cute Boxer laying next to its owner's feet

They’re playful, intelligent and dedicated to their owners - which might be the reason that they’re one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States.

But they’re also famous for having a lot of gas. Like Pugs, they have pushed-in faces with short snouts. This means that they eat quickly and swallow a lot of air when they’re eating.

When dogs swallow air with their food, they start to fart. To stop this from happening, you have to buy a slow feeder dog bowl, which is a special food bowl that forces your dog to eat slower.

When they eat slower, they swallow less air. This means that they have less gas and don’t stink.

Another problem that boxers have is food allergies. These allergies can cause skin problems, diarrhea, or just more gas.

All of these will make your dog stinky, and the best way to avoid food allergies is by keeping your dog on a correct diet.

You should talk to your vet if you want to know what foods to avoid, but the most common allergy-causing foods are beef, chicken, eggs, dairy, and wheat.

Labrador Retriever

Black Labrador posing for a portrait

These sweet, lovable dogs are the most popular dog breed in the U.S. They’re active, friendly and considered one of the best family dogs because they get along with everyone. 

But as you have probably guessed by now – they’re also smelly. The smell mostly comes from its oily double-coat, which is water-resistant.

The reason it has this coat is because the Labrador Retriever is a water dog. It loves to swim and was bred to retrieve ducks, geese, and other animals in the water.

Its oily coat helps to keep him as dry as possible when he jumps into the water, but also causes him to smell. The smell is always worse after they go swimming or get wet.

The best thing you can do is towel-dry him after he gets wet – but the smell won’t completely go away.

Showers with a dog shampoo are a good way of minimizing the smell, but you shouldn’t wash your dog too often.

They need the oils in their skin for a healthy coat. If you give him too many showers, he might get dry, itchy skin. This can lead to many other problems like skin infections.


Bordeaux Mastiff running

These massive, courageous guard dogs belong to one of the oldest dog breeds on Earth. They’re extremely strong and heavy, but also gentle and loving when they need to be.

Unfortunately, they have oily coats, which is one of the main reasons that many dogs smell. They also slobber quite a lot, and have many skin folds on their face.

All of these can cause your dog to smell bad. It’s sort of like dealing with a Saint Bernard and a Bulldog at the same time.

You need to clean and dry the areas in between its skin folds to stop bacteria build-up, give him regular showers, and clean its drool when it gets on his face and chest.

Similar to Mastiffs, Bullmastiffs have pretty much the exact same problems and need the same care.

Smelly Dog Breeds: Main Causes of Their Odor and What Can Be Done About It

There are many reasons why a dog can smell, some of which we have just discussed.

If your dog is a smelly breed, it might be caused by one or more things in the following comprehensive list.

An Oily Double-coat

A lot of dogs have this type of coat and this gives them a typical “dog” smell. It’s not a health problem and you can’t do much about it either.

Regular showers using a dog shampoo are the only solution to this problem.

But remember – if you give your dog too many showers, they’ll lose the oils in their coat and develop skin problems.

You should also towel-dry them after they get wet because they often smell worse after getting wet.

Skin Folds

Many dogs have this as well and it’s part of their anatomy. Food and dirt get stuck in between those folds and bacteria builds up, causing a bad smell or even an infection.

Cleaning in between those folds using facial wipes and keeping those areas dry is the best way to avoid problems related to skin folds.


Drooling is a common thing that dogs often do. Cleaning the drool off its face and chest regularly is the only solution to preventing the bad smell.

Long, Floppy Ears

These can cause ear infections, which often make your dog smelly. To avoid these infections, you should clean their ears from the outside with a damp cotton ball every week.

You will also need to clean their ear canals every 2-3 weeks with ear cleaning fluid, and then dry the canal with a clean cotton ball or gauze pad (explained in the Beagle section above).


Another common problem for many dogs. This can be dealt with by fixing your dog’s diet and buying a slow feeder bowl for dogs that eat too quickly.

Dental Problems

Dogs with small mouths often experience tooth decay, which can give them very bad breath. Regular brushing and check-ups at your vet will help stop this.

Tail Pockets

Cute dog with a raised tail

Some dogs have a small, hollow space underneath their tail. This area can get filled with dirt and get infected, causing a bad smell.

Regular cleanings of this area (if your dog has one) will help with this problem.

Most dogs only have 2 or 3 of these problems and you can easily minimize their smell by using the tips mentioned above.

Most health-related problems can be avoided right from the start, if you care for your dog correctly.

The rest of the factors that can cause a dog to smell (like an oily coat) are completely natural and unavoidable.

So be prepared to deal with a bit of dog odor if you choose one of the breeds in this list.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it – those are the 12 most smelly dog breeds! They can be smelly for different reasons and you can’t always get rid of the smell.

In fact, you should keep in mind that all dogs smell, at least a little bit. Almost every animal has a specific smell and the same goes for dogs.

Some smell more than others, but there is no odorless dog. Even if you get a dog that’s not on this list – it might still smell.

This is an important thing to know before you get a dog. But the good news is that you can always take a few steps to keep the smell to a minimum.

Most owners also get used to the smell of their dog, so you don’t have to worry about it bothering you forever.

But this probably doesn’t apply to guests that come over to your house.

They may find the smell unpleasant even if you don’t notice it, so it’s best to do everything in your power to minimize the smell.