Do German Shepherds Smell? (Why Odor Happens & What To Do)

If you’re thinking about purchasing a german shepherd or you’ve got one and you’re worried, then you’re probably asking yourself “do german shepherds smell?”

Keep reading to find out the answer, as well as why they might smell and what to do if they do.

Do German Shepherds Smell?

All german shepherds CAN smell, but not all german shepherds DO smell. Whether your german shepherd smells or not depends on a lot of different factors.

However, thankfully, in a lot of cases, you can stop a nasty odor and replace it with a positive one! So if your german shepherd does smell, or you’re worried about getting one then don’t!

Here are all the different reasons they might smell and what you can do to stop it.

Why Do German Shepherds Smell?

It’s important to figure out what’s causing an offensive odor before trying to make it go away. After all, you may end up doing the wrong thing in the hopes that it helps get rid of a nasty smell!

It Might Be Their Natural Odor

Before you read this whole article, are you sure the smell isn’t their natural odor? All dogs have a certain smell, and if it’s just a doggy kind of smell, then it may be nothing serious to worry about.

If it’s just a doggy smell then it’s being caused by oils on their fur and skin that are going to be produced naturally.

Often, giving them a bath every once in a while will remove the smell.

They May Have Rolled In Something

This is the number one reason all my dog’s smell. If you’ve taken your dog out then they may have rolled in something.

Normally foxes poo is the biggest culprit for me, however, your dog might roll in anything nasty.

But it doesn’t just have to be that. It could be any kind of poop and dead animals are a big hit too.

And because german shepherds have a double coat it’s much more likely that the smell will stay and linger.

Teach Ring Stackers 336 x 280 - Animated

They’re Wet

We all know what the wet dog smell is. And of course, it’s going to happen when your dog is wet.

If you’ve taken your german shepherd for a swim or they haven’t been dried properly after a bath, they may end up with the wet dog smell.

If you are bathing them, make sure you use plenty of dog-friendly shampoo and it should remove the odor.

They’re Perspiring

Believe it or not, dogs sweat. Kind of. If it’s a very hot day or your german shepherds been doing a lot of exercise then they may be sweating from their paws.

When they do this, they’ll let off a very mild scent. While a lot of the time you may not notice this, on occasion it could be more powerful.

Dental Problems

A dog’s teeth are often overlooked in their overall health. If you’re trying to figure out what the bad smell is from your dog then check their mouth.

A stench coming from their mouth is actually quite normal. If it’s only every once in a while, then it’s not a problem.

However, if you find that your dog’s breath smells for days or weeks on end then you’ll need to take them to the vet.

I had a dog who chipped her tooth and didn’t even notice until I was playing with her, at this point it had gone black.

Fortunately, it wasn’t causing a smell and the vet said it was nothing to worry about.

The point is dogs can’t tell us when somethings wrong with their mouth so you’ll have to check.

A Skunk Might Have Sprayed Them

When you let your german shepherd off the lead you can’t keep an eye on them all of the time. Especially when you’re in the woodlands.

When your dog runs away smelling fresh and comes back stinking to the high heavens then there’s a good possibility they’ve been sprayed by a skunk.

Skin Problems

Fortunately, skin problems are nowhere near as common in german shepherds compared to other dogs, but they can still happen.

If your german shepherd seems to constantly smell then they may have dermatitis. As well as a bad smell you may also notice redness, dryness, and flakiness.

When your dog is suffering from any skin condition make sure you take them to a vet.

Are They Gassy?

Is the smell coming from your dog’s skin or are they gassy?

If your german shepherd has a sensitive stomach then the smell you’re smelling could be gas. If you think your german shepherd has a lot of flatulence then try giving them charcoal biscuits.

As well as charcoal biscuits you may need to change their diet to something milder.

If the gas problem is really bad then it’s worth checking them out at a vet to make sure nothing is wrong with their organs.

(If you think they have a sensitive stomach then here’s the best guide to follow as well as some of the best foods you can give them.)

A Problem With Their Anal Sac

When there’s a problem with your german shepherd’s anal sacs you’re going to know about it. As well as your dog constantly smelling like poo, there will also be some other signs.

They may constantly lick their anus in an attempt to cover the smell and clean themselves. There may be a brown or black discharge that smells foul. And lastly, you may also notice them scooting along the floor on their bums to ease the discomfort.

Ear Infection

Sometimes a problematic ear infection can make your german shepherd smell. If your dog is suffering from an ear infection you may also notice that their ear looks red, inflamed and swollen.

As well as physical symptoms you should keep an eye on your dog and check how much they’re scratching their ear too.

Swimming In Dirty Water

Sometimes when you take your dog for a walk they can end up in stagnant and dirty water. This smell will linger with them even when you take them home.

A Problem With Their Organs

Another reason your german shepherd might be smelly is if there’s a problem with their organs. Kidney failure and diabetes are a couple of reasons your dog might be smelly. Especially if they have smelly breath.

How Can You Stop Your German Shepherd Smelling

Fortunately, if your german shepherd does smell, you have lots of options. Knowing all the different reasons is only the first step. Now it’s time to fix the issue.

Here are all the different ways you can stop your german shepherd from smelling.

Give Them A Bath

This is one of the most obvious ones, but a lot of the time it’s all it takes to get the job done.

If your dog has rolled in something, been for a long run, swam in dirty water etc then giving them a bath is the best choice for you.

But what if your german shepherd doesn’t like water? Well, fortunately, there are ways you can get your german shepherd to love water.

Check out this article for ideas on how to get your german shepherd to want to get in the water during bathtime.

You shouldn’t need to bathe your german shepherd that much unless they’ve got something on their coat you need to get off.

(Find out more about bathing your german shepherd.)

Make Sure They’re Dry

If you want to get rid of that classic doggy odor then keeping them dry is normally a great way. Every time you take them for a swim or they’ve got out the bath etc, dry them off.

Towel drying them is good, using a hairdryer is better, and both are best!

Not only will towel drying help remove the smell, but it will also help reduce the chance of a yeast infection as well.

Improve Their Dental Hygiene

Normally a dog’s teeth go completely overlooked. But when you think about it, your german shepherd uses their mouth more than you. So it makes sense that you should be taking care of their mouth.

Using dental chews can help keep your german shepherd’s teeth clean, but you should also invest in a dog toothpaste and toothbrush.

Fortunately, bad breath is normally due to a lack of hygiene. However, in rare circumstances, it can be a sign of something worse such as an abscess or disease.

Keep Their Paws Clean

Unlike humans who sweat from anywhere, german shepherds can only sweat from their paws. While the sweat doesn’t smell, bacteria that feed on the sweat often do.

One way to stop your german shepherd smelling is by making sure you’re wiping their feet with dog-friendly anti-bacterial wipes.

You may need to clean their paws every day, or only every time they’ve been on a very long walk.

The best way to know if your dog’s feet are causing the smell is if they smell cheesy.

Teach Piano 336 x 280 - Animated

Make Sure There Ears Are Clean And Dry

Your german shepherd’s ears are very vulnerable to yeast infections because they’re warm, closed-off spaces that can become moist.

One way to prevent yeast infections in your dog’s ears is to always make sure they’re clean and dry.

If you’ve taken your german shepherd for a swim or they’ve gotten wet, make sure you pay attention to keeping their ears dry.

(Find out more on how to clean your german shepherds ears.)

Feed Them A Good Diet

A diet tailored to your german shepherd can also stop them from smelling. If your german shepherd is gassy or has bad breath then it could be because their diet isn’t suitable to them.

The best way to know for sure is to take them to the vets and see if there’s a problem with their digestive system.

If there is a problem then your vet will recommend a suitable dog food for you!

Take Them To The Vet

Lastly, if you’re not sure what’s causing your dog to smell but you know it’s definitely not something they’ve rolled in then you should take them to the vet.

Your vet will be able to confirm what the issue is and help you find a solution.

Interested In Training Your German Shepherd The Right Way?

If you haven’t trained your German 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 German Shepherd 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!)


A smelly german shepherd is a common problem, however, it is treatable. And remember, not all german shepherds smell. So if yours doesn’t, count yourself lucky!

Here are a few things to remember from this article:

  • German shepherds may smell because it’s their natural odor, they may have rolled in something, they’re wet, they’re perspiring, they have dental problems, skin problems, gas, an ear infection, or a problem with their organs or anal sac.
  • You can stop you german shepherd from smelling by giving them a bath, making sure they’re dry, improving their dental hygiene, keeping their paws and ears clean and taking them to the vets.

If you follow this advice you won’t have to worry about a stinky german shepherd! And if you have any more questions leave them in the comments below!

Leave a Comment