The 10 Worst Smelling Dog Breeds

All dogs have a particular smell, but there are 10 breeds that are characterized by having the worst smell. This can be a symptom of a disease or just one more physiological peculiarity.
The 10 Worst Smelling Dog Breeds
Samuel Sanchez

Reviewed and approved by the biologist Samuel Sanchez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

As with humans, animals also have a distinctive odor. However, in some it isn’t very pleasant, and in this article we’ll talk about the worst smelling dog breeds of all! Of course, this is just subjective and you may have a different experience with any of these breeds.

It’s also important to keep in mind that, sometimes, a dog’s smell is just one of their characteristics, even if we don’t like it. However, in other settings, it may be a symptom of an illness that requires attention.

A dog’s bad odor may occur for different reasons. For example, it may be due to going out for a walk on a rainy day, in which case the cause is humidity, and this can cause a foul smell if you don’t dry them well. Depending on certain particularities, the smell may vary in intensity depending on the breed.

In fact, investigations that have taken bloodhounds as a sample have identified some bacterial genera related to their bad smell, among which are Psychrobacter and Pseudomonas spp, a condition that can be addressed with topical treatments. Next, we’ll describe which breeds of dogs smell the worst, along with their possible causes.

Cocker spaniels

For owners of Cocker Spaniels in their English and American variants, it’s no surprise for them to find their dog in the list of the worst smelling dog breeds. Studies have even shown that the unpleasant aroma is due to the fact that these canids have a greater predisposition to seborrheic secretion.

This condition has been identified to be due to two causes in particular. The first is known as primary or idiopathic seborrhea, that is, it appears with an unknown origin. The second is known as secondary seborrhea and can be caused by various pathologies, such as endocrine diseases, nutritional or environmental factors, and neoplasms.

Still, this is a condition that can be treated and managed with the support of an expert veterinarian.

One of the worst smelling dogs.


Newfoundland dogs are very easy to recognize by their large size, colors, and imposing attitude. However, it’s also famous for being one of the worst-smelling breeds. This is due to the fact that it has a very thick, dense layer of hair, a factor that favors the accumulation of sebum, combined with dust and sweat.

According to the International Cynological Federation (FCI), Newfoundlands have a double coat of hair, so thick that it’s resistant to water. This gives us an idea of how such a bad odor can build up.

An example of a Newfoundland dog.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is included in the list of the worst-smelling dog breeds because it has a tendency to develop seborrhea. This is because their short hair helps the skin produce more oil, which can mix with its own sweat and environmental agents, creating a particular aroma that, over time, begins to get stronger.

If you have a German Shepherd dog, you should have established hygiene protocols, and you’ll need to follow them regularly. Only then will you prevent your pet from developing this smell frequently.

One of the worst smelling dog breeds.


Shar-Pei dogs have a predisposition to develop Primary Seborrheic Syndrome (PSS), which is classified as a congenital skin disorder. Scientific journals describe how this condition causes alterations in the skin, hair and nails, as well as an excessive formation of the epidermal stratum corneum, fat, inflammation, and a bad smell.

Taking into account that, as well as this predisposition, a Shar-Pei’s skin has so many folds, an owner will need to set aside enough time to clean their dog and avoid the different conditions that could cause a proliferation of the bacteria that can cause bad odor, among other things. This dog is one of the most beautiful around, but it certainly does require special care.

A shar pei.

Basset hounds

Basset hounds are predisposed to have a bad odor due to the particular characteristics of their skin (which is quite oily), which predisposes them to commonly suffer from seborrhea. Articles suggest that this condition can be aggravated due to the presence of bacteria and yeast on the skin.

As one of the worst smelling dog breeds, it’s common for guardians to bathe these dogs often, but this practice isn’t always recommended, and it can even aggravate the situation. The best thing will always be to talk it over with the vet in order to find the best solution.

One of the worst smelling dog breeds.

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds. They’re friendly, playful, and intelligent dogs, but susceptible to developing dermatitis and bad odor. The first pathology has several symptoms (such as itching), so it’s common for the dog to scratch and open wounds that tend to become infected, thus shedding hair.

This dermatitis, when combined with bacteria and yeasts, can produce a bad smell. A common complaint from the owners of these dogs is how they always seem to smell bad. Another reason for this is that their short hair harbors a large amount of fat, enhancing their natural scent.

A labrador retriever.

Spinone Italiano

The Spinone Italiano is one of the ideal breeds for the home. They’re intelligent, affectionate, respectful dogs with their masters and other people who approach them, in addition to being defensive and obedient animals. Even so, one of the conditions that people must bear in mind when they want to have one of these dogs is its bad smell.

Yes, it’s a breed with a particular and very strong smell, which could be due to the ease of its coat to accumulate particles of dust, sweat, and grease, among other things. The area of the mouth and neck is where its smell is most felt, as this dog has long dangling hair that gets into their food and water, in addition to being constantly filled with drool.

A spinone breed dog.

Irish setter

The Irish setter has a long and rather oily coat, and most of the owners of this breed complain of the bad smell that it gives off. For this reason, we’ve included this beautiful dog in this list of the worst smelling dog breeds.

Because it’s a playful dog, it can happily lie down in mud or a puddle, which can often lead to bacteria and moisture accumulation, which, in turn, trigger odors. Even so, there are special products that you can use to try to cure this problem, but always under the supervision of your veterinarian.

One of the worst smelling dog breeds.

Braque du Bourbonnais

The Braque du Bourbonnais is an easy breed to train and it gets on very well with children and other dogs. It’s beautiful, imposing, and very clever, but its short coat is quite thick, which causes it to secrete a lot of fat, causing the familiar bad smell.

If you own one of these dogs, you should groom it regularly, although it isn’t advisable to overdo it. If you bathe it too much, it can lead to the dog losing its protective layer, giving way to much stronger odors.

Grand Griffon Vendeén

We finish our list of the worst smelling dogs with the Grand Griffon Vendeén, a small but playful canine. Although they’re highly recommended dogs for modern homes (as they tend to live quite well in small spaces), they do have a smell problem.

This is because they have a fairly rough top coat and a soft but thick undercoat. These conditions make these dogs able to withstand severe weather changes, but also make them susceptible to developing a very bad odor.

A great Vendean griffon.

Bad smell as a symptom of illness

To a certain extent, it’s normal for dogs, especially the breeds we’re talking about, to give off a bad smell. You need to calculate how long it has been since the last bath, or if it has been exposed to moisture and hasn’t dried well, in order to establish the difference between normal and pathological.

If, after evaluating these conditions, you find nothing of relevance, then observe to see if there are any other symptoms that may indicate a possible disease or illness in your dog.

You need to try to find the source of its bad smell. On many occasions, you may not perceive its cause and you think that it comes from its hair. However, it could also come from its mouth. Canine periodontitis, for example, is a pathology that can cause the dog to have a very strong odor. However, consult your veterinarian and don’t self-medicate your dog just for a simple whim.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Meason‐Smith, C., Older, C. E., Ocana, R., Dominguez, B., Lawhon, S. D., Wu, J., … & Rodrigues Hoffmann, A. (2018). Novel association of Psychrobacter and Pseudomonas with malodour in bloodhound dogs, and the effects of a topical product composed of essential oils and plant‐derived essential fatty acids in a randomized, blinded, placebo‐controlled study. Veterinary dermatology, 29(6), 465-e158.
  • Vasquez, H. N., & Ulloque, S. (2017). Síndrome seborreico seco de origen secundario en caninos. REDVET. Revista Electrónica de Veterinaria, 18(12), 1-7.
  • Rossi, V. (2018). El pastor alemán. Parkstone International.
  • Tonelli, E. A., Reynes, L., & Scarpa, M. A. Camino Diagnóstico del Síndrome Seborreico Canino.
  • De Gregorio Paolasini, M. (2021). Periodontitis Canina: Higiene bucal, la clave para la prevención (Doctoral dissertation).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.