Do Australian Shepherds Smell? (Including Solutions!)

A bad odor coming from your dog can be a frustrating and inconvenient issue for every owner. You may notice it after a walk in the rain, or simply on a daily basis.

Bad odor can affect a whole range of different dogs and breeds, especially dogs that have a shaggy or long double coat.

Bad odor also goes for those dogs that were originally bred for working in the water. This includes dogs with a waterproof coat, which secrete twice the normal amount of oil glands.

Although not bred for the water, Australian Shepherds do indeed have a thick double coat.

As a result of having longer fur, do Australian Shepherds smell?

And if yes, what are the causes behind it? Please follow along to find out.


Do Australian Shepherds Smell?

No, for the most part Australian Shepherds are dogs that do not often tend to smell.

This breed is considered to be one that is not prone to having a strong dog odor.

One of the reasons behind most Australian Shepherds not smelling is because they do not secrete as much oil glands as other breeds.

Having a lot of oil glands does contribute to that specific odor smell which dogs have.

As well as that, the coat of the Australian Shepherd is usually clean. In fact, any dirt or filth trapped in the fur often falls out on its own naturally.

This prevents any smells lingering in the dog’s fur.

Nonetheless, it is important to maintain your dog’s coat to keep it in the best shape possible. Regular grooming, baths, and proper weekly brushing is key.

Another reason why Australian Shepherds don’t smell often is because they are generally healthy. These dogs were originally bred for the purpose of herding flocks of sheep.

Being working dogs, they have developed a resistance and a hardiness to be able to withstand harsh or unpredictable weather conditions.

This only strengthened their immune system, decreasing their chance of developing illness.

For that reason, nowadays a lot of Australian Shepherds are not prone to getting conditions that might lead in some way to foul smells.

Australian Shepherd Allergies

Yet, just as with every dog breed, there are some conditions that Australian Shepherds are more commonly affected by. This includes allergies, especially seasonal allergies.

What signs do I look for that may indicate my Australian Shepherd has allergies?

Usually your Aussie will begin scratching himself a lot, chewing at his skin, and rubbing against the ground or wall.

This is because allergies will cause him to itch a lot and he will scratch or bite at the itchy places to gain relief.

If your Australian Shepherd has seasonal allergies, he will most often experience itching on his paws and legs.

The repeated action of constantly chewing, rubbing, and scratching at the skin can lead to irritation and damage.

External wounds can ever occur, or tears in the skin where the teeth or claws had penetrated.

This only allows bacteria to get in, leading to problems such as bacterial infections, which will produce a discharge.

It is this discharge that smells very badly, causing your Australian Shepherd to have an immensely unpleasant odor.

Allergies and skin infection can however be treated in a few ways.

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Antibacterial or itch-relieving shampoos, [amazon link=”B01FU3H30Q” title=”topical ointments” link_icon=”amazon” /], and medication usually are prescribed to help dogs with these conditions.

Yet, your Australian Shepherd may not have allergies or skin infections, and you may still be noticing a bad smell coming from him.

You may actually find that it is your Australian Shepherd’s butt that smells. Perhaps you can smell a fishy odor if he lies on the couch or bed with his backside near your face.

Besides, you may smell it while he jumps about, or wags his tail (if it’s undocked), spreading the unpleasant scent.

What could be the reason behind it?

Why Does My Australian Shepherd’s Butt Smell?

The reason why your Australian Shepherd’s butt smells is because this particular breed is prone to often expressing their anal glands.

Anal glands (or sacs) are located on each side of the dog’s anus, or below it.

They secrete a smell which is released (expressed) when meeting new dogs, to exchange information about themselves.

Apart from during socialization or greeting, dogs will usually express their anal glands while doing their business.

However, sometimes Australian Shepherds have anal glands that they have trouble expressing or that don’t function properly.

This will result in your Aussie expressing them often without having any control over them.

Or else, he could do it when he is scared or startled.

Moreover, your Australian Shepherd’s anal glands could even become impacted or he could get an infection there.

This would cause the smell secreted to come out and the odor would be very much noticeable.

Apart from the strong, fishy smell, impacted or infected anal glands can lead to your dog to experience other symptoms.

This includes licking or chewing himself repeatedly, rubbing his butt across the floor, irritation and redness, discharge, blood, or constipation.

If you notice your Aussie often expressing his anal glands – or any of these symptoms – it is important to take him to the vet.

Too Long Fur

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Another possible reason why your Australian Shepherd’s butt may smell is because these dogs have long fur on their rear end.

This may sometimes result in dried poo clinging to the long fur around their anus, resulting in a bad odor.

If you think this is why your Australian Shepherd has a smelly butt, you could trim the long hairs around it with a [amazon link=”B07ZN238CL” title=”grooming scissor” link_icon=”amazon” /].

If you can’t do it on your own, you could take him to the groomers to trim the long coat hairs.

This will make it much more hygienic for your dog when he goes to the toilet, preventing any smells.

Other Reasons Why Australian Shepherds Smell

Not Enough Regular Baths

Do Australian Shepherds smell if not given a regular bath?

If you do not bath your Australian Shepherd enough – at least every month or two – he may indeed begin to smell.

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Not giving your dog a regular bath can also lead to a build up of dander, oils, and bacteria which will begin to emit an odor.

It could even lead to dermatitis, which produces a bad, musty smell.

Old Age

With old age, some dogs may begin to develop a bad odor to their skin and coat. Also, their bad smell could be due to not enough cleaning of themselves.

An old dog may not be as flexible or eager to clean their paws regularly, which could produce an earthy or musty smell.

Ear Infection

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Do you clean your Australian Shepherd’s ears on a regular basis?

If not, this could result in a large amount of bacteria being accumulated in the ears. This build up can lead to infection, and a bad smell being given off as a result.

If you have noticed a foul odor about your Aussie’s ears, this may indeed signify an ear infection.

It will require treatment as soon as possible to prevent any other symptoms from occurring.

Hot Spots

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Hot spots are patches of infected skin that have formed due to excess moisture.

One cause factor for this is constant licking or chewing at infected, broken skin, leading to hot spots.

The skin may have become broken or infected in the first place due scratching and chewing in response to allergies or insect bites.

When your dog’s saliva then comes in contact with the broken skin, the excess moisture can lead to a hot spot.

Rolling Around In Trash Or Waste

If your Australian Shepherd had suddenly began to smell foul, he may have rolled around in something.

This could have been trash that had been dumped on the ground, or in an animal’s carcass or waste.

A bath would be in order to combat the resulting smell.

Dirty Bed

When your dog sleeps on his pet bed, his skin cells, bacteria, and possibly bodily fluids build up on it. Over time, these will begin to smell foul.

Even if you wash your Australian Shepherd regularly, and he lies down in his dirty bed, he will still smell.

Ensure you always wash your dog’s bedding on a regular basis.

Fur Dampness

Fur dampness can be caused by improper drying after a bath or after being caught in the rain.

When there is dampness trapped in your Australian Shepherd’s double coat, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast.

Bacteria thrive in humid conditions, so when warmth combines with dampness in fur, bacteria will accumulate.

Bacteria and yeast will only lead to infections, resulting in a bad odor.

Tartar On Teeth

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Some dogs may be prone to tartar more than others. You will be able to spot hard tartar developing on your Aussie’s teeth if minerals have reacted with tooth plaque.

Tooth plaque is caused by a combination of food particles, saliva, and bacteria that are not cleaned from teeth.

The resulting tartar only ends up in problems such as bad breath.


Do Australian Shepherds smell if they have diabetes?

In the case where you have noticed that your Australian Shepherd has bad breath, the cause of it might as well be diabetes.

Bad breath caused by the condition diabetes is due to the dog’s body breaking down fat rather than glucose. It can result in a foul, fruity smelling breath.

Diabetes is also accompanied by frequent urination or drinking, lethargy, increased appetite, weight loss, weakness, bad vision, and even vomiting.

Kidney Failure Or Kidney Disease

If your Australian Shepherd has bad breath that smells like chemicals, it may also be the cause of kidney failure or kidney disease.

This is because the build up of toxins and urea which his kidneys cannot filter our may come out with breath instead.

Other symptoms include lack of energy, abrupt weight loss, not drinking or eating, infrequent urination, pale gums, and vomiting.

Poor Diet Or Allergies

Either being allergic to certain foods, or unhealthy ingredients included in your dog’s food can only lead to skin inflammation.

This causes an increase in oil gland secretion, which in turn produces a certain bad, musky smell.

If your Australian Shepherd has suddenly began to smell particularly bad, it may be time to investigate.

The reason behind it could indeed be his dog food.

How To Prevent Australian Shepherds From Smelling?


Ensure you are grooming your Australian Shepherd properly. Bath him once every month or two months and [amazon link=”B00MF15PPW” title=”brush” link_icon=”amazon” /] him properly at least once a week.

Always remember to dry his coat afterward.

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Ensure he is not left with damp fur after being in the rain, especially if it is cold outside. Always dry him as best as you can.

Clean his bedding regularly. Also clean his teeth, paws, and ears.

You may use dog wipes, powder, or dry shampoo, as well we refreshing sprays to freshen your dog up between washes.

[amazon link=”B0037Z6VJY” title=”Antibacterial shampoo” link_icon=”amazon” /] is key to use on your dog to prevent any bacteria build up in the fur or on skin. Excess bacteria, especially near cuts or grazes, can lead to infection and bad smell.

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Feed your Australian a good diet with quality ingredients.

This can include a [amazon link=”B00CNT0614″ title=”premium dog food” link_icon=”amazon” /]and sometimes giving him additional fresh meat, plain cooked rice, vegetables, oils, or an occasional egg.

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Good quality, healthy foods reduces the possibility of health conditions, food allergies, or tartar.


Do Australian Shepherds smell?

Australian Shepherds generally do not smell and they are rather clean dogs.

They are not prone to a vast majority of health conditions and their fur does not have an extremely high quantity of oil glands.

However, the butt of an Australian Shepherd may smell due to overly expressing their anal glands. This often tends to happen to this particular breed.

What else could be causing bad Australian Shepherd smell?

He may smell if he is damp, not groomed properly, or has developed a skin infection due to allergies.

A bad smell will also signify tartar, and a few other health concerns could be present as well.

It is important that you maintain your Australian Shepherd’s coat to keep it in the best shape.

Also, take him to the vet if you notice any new bad smells, as it could mean something serious.

Authored By

Madeline Wright

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