Do Australian Shepherds Smell? (How To Make Them Smell Better)

The Australian shepherds are best known for their colorful medium double coat, bright, intelligent eyes, and very playful and energetic character. Generally, they are dogs that, by nature, are cleaner than other breeds of similar coat length, with dirt and other debris easily falling of fur when it becomes dry.

But under some conditions, they can develop a quite unpleasant smell. In case that doggie has an offending “aroma,” it could be for many reasons, from too little to too much hygiene, and sometimes it could be caused by health issues.

I will try to explain to you some of these potential reasons and how to deal with them.

Do Australian Shepherds Smell?

Generally speaking, Aussies are clean dogs. If they get dirty or muddy, such debris will easily fall out as it dries. But that doesn’t mean that their hygiene can be ignored. These dogs have a medium double coat that can tangle easily, and some basic but regular care is a must. Otherwise, they can become very smelly.

Why Does Your Australian Shepherd Smell So Bad?

There are many reasons why your dog can develop an unpleasant odor. As a responsible owner, you should take care of all their health and hygiene needs fairly regularly. Besides keeping up with preventative meds, this includes both brushing and bathing at appropriate times. Here are a few reasons why your doggo could still be a stinker even after a thorough wash.

Your Dog Is Dirty

The most obvious and the most common reason why your Australian shepherd smells badly is being dirty. Aussies are very active dogs, and if you are a responsible owner, they will play and run around as much as they need to burn their natural energy. This means that they will roll in the dirt, get dusty, or even soak themselves in some dirty water.

Such filth can accumulate on them, and your dog will eventually start to reek.

Wet Undercoat

As I’ve already said, Aussies have a double coat. This means that they have two types of hairs, a longer topcoat that grows slower and is coarser and a soft shorter undercoat that grows at a faster rate. Because of this undercoat, your dog’s fur may feel dry on the touch, but its skin could still be damp, which in itself can smell unpleasantly to some people.

It is also a moist and warm environment in which benign bacteria from the air can thrive and produce a bad smell.

Dry Skin

The skin of all animals naturally produces oils that protect it and its fur, if they have it, from becoming too dry. When the skin is dry for any reason, it will naturally start producing more of these oils. While in normal amounts, it doesn’t produce an unpleasant odor, the increased secretion can smell very bad.


We all know that dogs fart and that it can stink to high heavens, so much that they can clear the room in an instant. Though you can air the room in which your doggo has let loose a one, such stink still can linger on their fur. Sometimes it can linger for hours or until the next one that only perpetuates a vicious cycle of stench.

Smelly Bed

Dog’s bed, over time, acquires the distinctive fragrance of its owner, but at a much higher concentration which makes it unpleasant. After a bath, your dog may roll on it to regain their natural smell. If you bathe them with a shampoo you like for its fragrance, your pooch may not like it.

Taking Naps In Dirty Places

Your dog could be taking naps in some corner of your yard that is not smelling pleasant, such as a heap of half-decomposed leaves, or even taking your dirty clothes out of your laundry basket and sleeping on them while you are away at work. Yes, intelligent breeds such as Aussies can teach themselves to remove any traces of using your dirty clothes for bedding.

Frito Feet

Naturally, some bacteria and fungi are present on the skin of dogs. Especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors, as Aussies prefer to, but under some conditions, those bacterial and fungi can start growing at an accelerated pace and cause your doggie’s feet to acquire a fragrance similar to fried potato chips.

Dogs have sweat glands on their paws, and just like you would start smelling bad after exercising, they can easily become stinky too. If left unchecked, this could develop into a yeast infection, which is not as adorable as the name “Frito feet” makes it. 

Ear Infection

Just like the ears of all other vertebrates, your Aussie’s ears also produce ear wax. Combined with the fluffy warmness of their ears, if not cleaned regularly, they are a perfect breeding ground for various bacteria present in the environment. If left unchecked, it can progress into an ear infection which can emit a very unpleasant odor.


In short, dermatitis is a group of several types of skin irritations that can present themself as redness, swelling, drying, or cracking of the skin. By itself, it is not a serious condition, nor does it cause bad odors of your dog. But if left untreated, it will lead to more serious skin infections, which can be very smelly.

Anal Sacs

Anal sacs are two glands located near your dog’s anus, and each has a duct that leads to a point just inside the anus. They are secreting a substance that is chemically very similar to skunk’s secretion and which deodorizes dog’s poop with a fragrance that is unique for every dog. That way, they mark their territory.

Unfortunately, these ducts can be clogged by an infection, and then the secreted fluid is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria that are naturally present in your dog’s feces.


The sad reality is that pooches can get cancers too. Various cancers attack the digestive system, neck, or throat, and many other illnesses that lead to problems with kidney function can lead to foul breath. While bad breath can be caused by a dog’s diet and bad dental hygiene, particularly foul odors can be a symptom of a more serious condition.

Tumors in the nose and anus can also cause an unpleasant smell of your dog.

It’s You

For some people, especially first-time dog owners, dogs will stink no matter how much they bathe or brush them. And the problem is not in dogs. In reality, such pooches are no stinkers. The real problem is that we have all grown surrounded by the smells of various detergents and soaps. For many people, the natural smell of a clean dog is foreign and thus perceived as a bad odor.

You can easily find out whether you are just unaccustomed to such smells by dampening some cotton towel and leaving it to dry out in the sun. If it still smells odd when it has dried, the problem is in your nose because the experience of many smells is subjective.

How To Stop Your Australian Shepherd Smelling?

The best way to avoid your dog smelling bad is to prevent the causes of it. And now that you are familiar with the most likely causes of foul odors, I want to explain to you how to prevent them. Proper hygiene is the most important, so I will start with it.

Don’t Bath Your Dog Too Often

One of the most common mistakes dog owners make is bathing them too often. Especially if they are double-coated breeds such as Australian shepherds. Shampoos contain soaps, though in very low concentration, and their function is to remove grease and filth from your dog’s fur and skin.

If you bathe them too often, their skin will lose natural oils and become dry, which incidentally will lead to increased production and a bad smell. If you keep your dog fairly clean by other means, there is no real need to bathe them more often than once every 2-4 months.

Keep Their Beds Clean

This is self-explanatory; just as you wouldn’t like to sleep in a dirty bed, neither your Aussie should. A good routine is to clean their bed every time you bathe them. But probably the best is to do it more often, if not as often as you are changing your sheets.

Such routine will make cleaning much easier, as it is not as much of a chore to clean it when it is not all that dirty. Regular cleaning will also prevent their beds from becoming infested by any pest, such as fleas, they might bring in from the outside.

Blow-dry Your Aussie

As I’ve mentioned above, because of the damp undercoat, Australian shepherds can develop an unpleasant smell. After giving them a bath, it can take up to several hours for their undercoat to dry if you are living in an area with high humidity. But, your hair dryer can be of help. If you decide to use it, you must keep its heat low or medium.

The heat from it will dry your doggie’s skin, which can be a problem on its own, but just blowing air with a hairdryer set on low will speed up the evaporation of water without removing natural oils that protect the skin and fur of your pooch.

Brush Them

Brushing your dog is something you should do regularly, especially with breeds such as Aussies are. It will help remove all the dirt and dust they can collect when playing outside but also help spread the oils their skin produces all over their fur. These oils, besides protecting their skin from elements and keeping it moisturized, also make their fur soft, shiny, and overall healthy-looking.

You can brush your dog every day, of course, if you do it with a proper brush that will not scratch your pooch’s skin.

Clean Their Feet Regularly

Cleaning your Aussies’ feet with a bit of lukewarm water after every walk is a great way to prevent their feet from smelling. A mild solution of medical iodine is another way to keep bacteria and fungi they can collect from dirt in check while not drying their skin too much to cause any problems.

Clean Their Ears

Just as you would clean your ears regularly, you should do the same for your dog. Wet cotton balls are excellent for cleaning the outer parts, but you must be careful not to go in too deep. It could injure their ears, so you should be somewhat careful. If your dog has already developed an ear infection, the only proper solution is to take them to a vet.

Adjust Their Diet

Indigestion, gasses, and flatulence can plague your Australian shepherd for the same reason it can bother you too. The causes and solutions are also almost the same. If your dog has particularly offensive flatulence, you should consult with a professional veterinary about their diet and how to adjust it.

Particularly foul flatulence can be a symptom of some other issues with the digestive system, and only a vet can diagnose it and treat it.

Take Them To Regular Check-ups

Many health conditions among their symptoms have a foul odor. The best way to prevent them is to regularly take your dog to the vet for checkups but also keep up with any necessary preventative meds. Preventing your dog from becoming sick will also prolong its life.

Training Your Australian Shepherd

If you haven’t trained your Australian shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Aussie completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. 

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)

Do Australian Shepherds Smell More Than Other Dogs?

The short answer is no. Australian shepherds are widely considered as a dog breed that has a lower tendency to develop a bad smell. One of the reasons for this is that they are less prone to having health issues. Still, any dog breed can start smelling bad for different reasons. It can be both from too much and too little hygiene on your part.

As a responsible owner of an Australian shepherd, you should be aware of the reasons why your pooch may start smelling bad. Some of those reasons are benign, like damp undercoats after a bath or just a higher concentration of their natural fragrance on their fur. But sometimes foul smell could be a symptom of some health issues.

Whichever may be the case, cleanliness is half of the health. Keeping them clean reasonably and responsibly will keep them healthy and prolong the time they are your companion.