Do Labrador Retrievers Smell? [Everything You Need To Know]


Do Labrador Retrievers smell? That’s a question many potential Lab owners might wonder, especially if they’re concerned about keeping their homes fresh and clean.

In this blog post, we’ll explore whether Labrador Retrievers are more prone to smelling than other breeds, as well as some common reasons for their odor and how to minimize it.

We’ll also provide some helpful tips for grooming your Lab to keep them smelling its best.

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Do Labradors make your house smell?” or “How often should I be bathing my Labrador?” you’re in the right place.

Fun Fact #1: Labrador Retrievers are known to be excellent swimmers, thanks to their water-resistant double coat and webbed feet!

Why Do Dogs Smell in General?

Before focusing on Labrador Retrievers specifically, let’s take a moment to understand why dogs might generally smell.

Dog odors can be attributed to natural factors and environmental influences.

Natural Odors

All dogs have a natural scent, which comes from various sources. These include oils secreted by their skin, bacteria living on their fur, and even their breath. A dog’s unique scent is often undetectable by humans, but it’s essential for communication with other dogs.

Environmental Factors

Dogs can also pick up smells from their surroundings. Rolling in grass or mud, playing in the water, or even just walking through a dusty area can all contribute to a dog’s overall odor.

Additionally, if a dog comes into contact with another animal or its droppings, it can carry that smell home with them.

Fun Fact #2: Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell, which is about 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than a human's sense of smell!

Do Labrador Retrievers Smell More Than Other Breeds?

When it comes to Labrador Retrievers, some owners may find that their furry friends have a stronger odor than other breeds. But is it true?

Let’s take a look at some breed characteristics and common reasons for a Labrador’s smell.

Breed Characteristics

Labrador Retrievers have a dense double coat, which helps them stay warm and dry in wet conditions. This water-resistant coat can trap moisture and lead to a “wet dog” smell if not properly cared for.

Furthermore, Labs are an active and playful breed, which means they’re more likely to get dirty and pick up odors from their environment.

Common Reasons for Smell

Apart from their breed characteristics, Labrador Retrievers may develop odors due to a few common issues, such as skin infections, ear infections, or anal gland problems. These issues can cause an unpleasant smell if not addressed promptly.

So, while Labrador Retrievers may not inherently smell more than other breeds, their coat, active lifestyle, and susceptibility to certain issues can contribute to a stronger odor.

To keep your Lab smelling fresh and clean, it’s essential to establish a proper grooming routine. In the next section, we’ll cover some tips for grooming your Labrador Retriever to minimize odor.

Labrador Retriever Grooming Tips to Minimize Odor

A well-groomed Labrador Retriever is less likely to develop unpleasant odors. Here are some essential grooming tips to help minimize any smells and keep your Lab looking and feeling its best:

Regular Baths

Bathing your Lab regularly can help remove dirt, excess oils, and odors from their coat. But how often should you bathe your Lab? Generally, every 4 to 6 weeks is sufficient, but you may need to adjust the frequency based on your dog’s lifestyle and activities.

Our article on how often to bathe a Labrador Retriever offers more detailed guidance.

Coat Maintenance

Brushing your Lab’s coat regularly helps remove dead hair and distribute its natural oils, keeping the coat healthy and reducing odor. Aim to brush your Lab at least once a week and more frequently during shedding season.

Ear Cleaning

Labrador Retrievers are prone to ear infections, which can cause a strong odor. Regularly inspecting and cleaning your Lab’s ears can help prevent infections and keep them smelling fresh.

You can use a gentle ear-cleaning solution and cotton balls to clean the outer ear area.

Dental Care

Bad breath can contribute to your Lab’s overall odor. Regular dental care, including teeth brushing and dental chews, can help maintain your dog’s oral health and reduce bad breath.

Dealing with Common Labrador Odor Issues

Even with regular grooming, Labrador Retrievers may still experience some odor issues. Here’s how to address the most common problems:

Skin Infections

If your Lab develops a skin infection, you may notice an unpleasant smell, redness, itching, or hair loss.

To treat a skin infection, consult your veterinarian for the appropriate medication, and follow their instructions for application.

Ear Infections

As mentioned earlier, Labs are prone to ear infections, which can cause a strong odor. If you suspect your dog has an ear infection, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

They may prescribe antibiotics, antifungal medication, or a topical solution to clear up the infection.

Anal Glands

Anal gland issues can cause a fishy smell and discomfort in your Lab. If you notice your dog scooting on the ground or licking their rear end excessively, it may need its anal glands expressed.

Consult your veterinarian or a professional groomer to handle this task, as improper technique can cause injury.

Choosing the Right Products for Odor Control

Using the right products can make a significant difference in managing your Labrador Retriever’s odor.

Here are some product categories to consider:


Select a high-quality dog shampoo specifically designed to combat odors. Look for ingredients like aloe vera, oatmeal, or tea tree oil, which can soothe and cleanse your dog’s skin and coat.

Be sure to follow the instructions on the shampoo bottle to ensure proper use.


Deodorizing sprays can be a helpful addition to your Lab’s grooming routine. These sprays help neutralize odors between baths without the need for rinsing.

Choose a spray that’s safe for use on dogs and has a pleasant scent. Remember to avoid spraying your dog’s face or sensitive areas.


Dog wipes are a convenient way to quickly clean your Lab’s coat and paws, especially after outdoor adventures.

Choose hypoallergenic, fragrance-free wipes to gently remove dirt and odors without irritating your dog’s skin.


In conclusion, Labrador Retrievers, like any other breed, can develop odors due to their natural scent, environmental factors, and certain health issues.

While they may not inherently smell more than other breeds, their water-resistant double coat and active lifestyle can contribute to a stronger odor.

By following a regular grooming routine, addressing common odor issues, and using the right products for odor control, you can keep your Labrador Retriever smelling fresh and clean.

This ensures a more pleasant home environment for you and contributes to your Lab’s overall health and well-being.

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