Let me begin by saying that I love the way dogs smell. I love it at every stage of their lives, and I love it no matter what’s going on with them. I love that warm, milky puppy smell, and I even love the stench that old dogs can emit, because it means that they’re alive and still with me. I don’t even really mind wet dog smell, because it means that they’ve been out doing fun things, having a blast, and then coming inside to rub that wet dog smell all over me with their exuberant displays of affection. I don’t even sweat it when they roll in smelly things, because they’re just being dogs, and again, having a good time. Besides, that’s what they make doggie shampoo for.
I know that I’m probably in the minority as far as this goes, and some of you might think that I sound pretty crazy right now. Let me reassure you – my mental health is no more in doubt right now than it’s ever been. Take that however you want it!
With that out of the way, let’s talk about odorless dog breeds. Is there really such a thing?
The Short Answer
No, there is no such thing as odorless dog breeds. If you actually think that I’m going to tell you that there are dog breeds that somehow magically shed the odor of any nasty substance they might come into contact with, then you are going to be very disappointed. Any dog is going to smell bad from time to time. Floppy-eared dogs, for instance, can develop yeast infections that smell pretty horrible. The same is true of dogs with a lot of skin. Any infection will produce an odor.
Diet can also play a part in dog odor. This manifests as bad breath. Most of the time, though, if you feed your dog a good dry diet and brush his teeth from time to time, you won’t have to worry much about mouth odor.
There are, however, dog breeds that are less prone to odors than others, so let’s talk about some dogs that can almost, but not quite, be termed odorless dog breeds. If you have a really sensitive nose, the following are some of the breeds that you’ll probably do well with. I’m presenting them in no particular order, and I’ll also offer some of the other advantages and disadvantages to the breed.
Keep in mind that when I say “odorless dog breeds” during the rest of this post, what I really mean is “sort of odorless.” As I’ve already pointed out, there are no truly odorless dog breeds. So, here we go.
1. MalteseThese little cuties really don’t stink all that much, and they’re one of the best odorless dog breeds. They don’t have a lot of skin folds, so there’s not much danger of “smelly stuff” building up under the coat. They do require daily grooming, though, if you let the coat grow long.
Maltese dogs are friendly and affectionate, and accepting of other animals, including cats. They do, however, have a tendency to be “barky,” and aren’t all that good with children. Jenny Drastura author of “Maltese (Animal Planet Dogs 101)” covers the Maltese in depth in her new book. It’s an essential guide for caring for these sweet, affectionate dogs.
2. Bichon FriseThe cuddly Bichon is probably as close to an odorless dog breed as you’ll ever get. They have naturally clean skin, and even though they don’t shed, they’re not prone to sebaceous (waxy) buildup on their skin. Obviously, if your Bichon rolls in something horrible, you’ll need to give him a bath, but these little dogs actually enjoy being clean, so it’s not all that likely to happen.
The only real problem with a Bichon is that they have a lot of hair growth in their ears, which means there could be a risk of infection. You’ll want to make sure that the ear area is well clipped. Bichons are friendly and affectionate, but because of their small size, might not be suitable for households with very small children. Charlotte Spencer author of “Bichon Frisé: Comprehensive Care from Puppy to Senior” does a wonderful job covering everything you need to know regarding the Bichon Frise.
3. BasenjiThe Basenji is a very clean, short-coated dog. They typically have no skin or ear issues, so you won’t usually have to worry about smelly yeast infections.
If you choose a Basenji, you will have to be willing to commit to regular exercise, though. If a Basenji isn’t walked regularly, and left around the house with nothing to amuse him, he could become bored and destructive. If you want to learn more about this wonderful breed “Basenji (Comprehensive Owner’s Guide) by author Juliette Cunliff” is an excellent read.
4. WhippetHere’s another short-haired dog that could be considered one of the most odorless dog breeds. Whippets aren’t known to want to “get into” much that could cause an offensive smell, and in fact, can be pretty lazy; the typical Whippet would rather snuggle up with you than go out and roll in horrible stuff.
Whippets are friendly, companionable, and don’t bark a whole lot. Really, the only downside to owning a Whippet is that you won’t have much of a guard dog. To learn more about the Whippet you can read Jeff Fielding latest book “Whippet: The Complete Owners Guide”
5. Siberian HuskySiberian Huskies are very clean dogs, although they do shed quite a bit. They’re active and will tend to enjoy running through mud and water, so you’ll probably have to offer the occasional bath. Siberians have none of the skin folds or floppy ears that other breeds have, though, that could cause waxy buildup or allow bacteria to take hold.
Siberian Huskies are intelligent and loyal but not always good with other animals or with children. They also need a lot more exercise than most breeds. To learn more about the Siberian Husky you can read Diane Morgan latest book “Siberian Husky For Dummies”.
6. Alaskan MalamuteThe Alaskan Malamute is very similar to the Siberian Husky when it comes to odorless dog breeds. They have a thick coat, and they shed a lot, but they don’t stink.
Malamutes also need a lot of exercise, and are not very good with kids and other pets. To learn more about the Alaskan Malamute you can read Catherine Thompson book “Alaskan Malamute 101: How to Raise and Train Your Alaskan Malamute”
“What?” you ask. I know! Until I started researching this post, I hadn’t heard of the Kuvasz, either. But I have to say, the breed intrigues me. These are big dogs, often weighing more than 100 pounds. Like the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute, the Kuvasz has a thick coat and sheds quite a bit, but he doesn’t smell bad.
This is a dog that was bred to guard livestock, and can be aggressive. He’s not suitable for novice owners, and not recommended for households with children and other pets. For adult owners who are experienced with determined dogs, though, the Kuvasz can be a wonderful friend and guardian.
Have you found a breed on this list that appeals to you? These are the dogs that are most likely to fit the category of “odorless dog breeds.” If you’re not seeing something that you like here, though, you can still find a dog that is at least reasonably “un-smelly.” Just look for breeds that don’t have long ears or a lot of skin folds.
If these seven breeds do not appeal to you, there are several others to choose from. If you are trying to avoid a smelly dog, stay away from breeds with excessive folds and floppy ears. Also, don’t buy from a pet shop. You never know what you’re getting – your puppy could be an entirely different breed or breed mix from what’s being represented, and also, you will probably be buying a puppy mill dog (see Five Reasons Why Puppy Mills Must Be Stopped).
Many, many pet shops buy from puppy mills. And it’s not just that you could end up with, say, a dog that has a lot more skin than you anticipated, or whose ears are longer and floppier than you thought they would be. You could also end up with a dog who is so badly socialized (having virtually no time with his mother and the rest of the litter) that he is going to, quite bluntly, crap all over the place. If you’re worried about odor, this is the last thing you need. So find a good breeder, and get a good dog.
The Final Word
Some people are sensitive to certain smells. Speaking for myself, a mere whiff of moldy bread is enough to send me rushing to the toilet, raising the lid, and (to use a phrase that was common back in my college days) “talk to Ralph on the Great White Telephone.” That’s just me. Dog smell, though, doesn’t bother me at all. I actually welcome it. If you’re like me, you won’t even need this list, but if you’re not like me, I hope it’s been helpful.