Do Border Collies Smell? Understanding Their Natural Odor and How to Manage It

Border Collies are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, known for their charismatic behavior, their loyalty and their amazing intelligence, amongst other things.

However, one question that many potential Border Collie owners, and many other people have is “Do Border Collies smell?”. Are they a smelly dog breed? Does every dog smell the same or do they individually smell different? 

The answer to the question is that, yes, like all dogs Border Collies have a natural scent. With that said, they don’t typically have a strong odor, and any individual dog can smell differently depending on various things like hygiene, bathing and grooming (or lack thereof).

In this article, we’ll be looking to answer the question of do Border Collies smell, what the different reasons are and what can be done about the smell, in case it becomes too much for you to handle. 

Let’s take a look.

Do Border Collies Smell

Do Border Collies Smell

Border Collies are known for their intelligence, agility, and loyalty above everything else.

They are also known for their thick, fluffy “trademark” black and white double coats. But do Border Collies smell?

Well, the answer is that, typically, they don’t smell that much. The Border Collie is not on the top of the list of most smelly dogs.

Of course, while Border Collies are generally a clean breed, every individual dog can develop an individual doggy odor.

This odor is not necessarily unpleasant, but it can become noticeable if not managed properly, making it become unpleasant in the long run.

There are several reasons why Border Collies may develop a smell, including:

  • Skin and coat issues: Border Collies may develop skin and coat issues that can lead to an odor. These issues can include allergies, infections, and parasites.

  • Diet: A dog’s diet can have a significant impact on their body odor. If a Border Collie is eating a low-quality diet, it can lead to an unpleasant odor.

  • Lack of grooming: Regular grooming is essential for maintaining a dog’s hygiene and preventing odor. If a Border Collie is not groomed regularly, their coat can become matted and dirty, leading to a smell.

  • Health issues: In some cases, a Border Collie’s odor may be a sign of an underlying health issue. If you notice a sudden change in your dog’s odor, it’s important to take them to the vet for a check-up.

  • Dental problems: One very common issue that can have Border Collies smelling a bit more than usual, are dental problems like broken tooths or tooth decay. This can cause bad breath and a foul odor.

  • Infections: Skin infections, ear infections, and other health problems can also contribute to an unpleasant odor. However, with proper care and attention, most of these issues can be easily resolved.

  • Heat in females: Female dogs are known to get quite smelly in heat season, when they start having vaginal discharges. 

To prevent your Border Collie from developing a smell, it’s important to establish a regular grooming routine, as well as take into consideration some of the cases mentioned above.

When it comes to grooming in particular, the routine should include brushing, bathing, nail trimming, and should try to be as inclusive as possible.

You should also feed your dog a high-quality diet and ensure they have access to plenty of clean water.

All in all, while Border Collies are generally a clean breed, they can develop a individual doggy odor because of various circumstances.

By understanding the reasons why Border Collies may develop a smell and taking steps to prevent it, you can ensure your dog stays fresh and clean.

Factors Influencing Border Collie’s Smell

Now that we’ve briefly gone over some of the factors that influence the smell of Border Collies, let’s look into some of these more in detail.

These factors can be divided into three main categories: diet, hygiene, and health conditions.


A Border Collie’s diet can greatly affect their body odor, and feeding your dog a diet that is high in fat or low-quality protein can lead to an increase in body odor.

This is because the body has to work harder to break down these types of foods, leading to an increase in waste products that are eliminated through the skin.

Dog flatulence, for example, is a case in which your dog gets very gassy, because of the type of food it’s eating. In the case of flatulence, you’ll want to try switching diets and give them something that is grain-free, or that doesn’t contain any foods that trigger gas in them

Feeding your Border Collie a high-quality, balanced diet can help to reduce body odor. Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, can help to reduce inflammation in the body, improve skin and coat health and can help with flatulence.


Proper hygiene is important for keeping your Border Collie smelling fresh.

Regular bathing can help to remove dirt and debris from the coat, reducing the likelihood of odors.

However, it’s important not to over-bathe your dog and think twice before shaving it, as the first one can strip the coat of its natural oils and lead to dry, itchy skin, and the second can mess up your dog’s natural cooling mechanism.

It’s also important to keep your dog’s ears clean and dry, as moisture in the ears can lead to bacterial or yeast infections that can cause a foul odor.

Health Conditions

Certain health conditions can also contribute to a Border Collie’s smell.

If you notice a sudden increase in your dog’s odor, it’s important to take them to the vet to rule out any underlying health issues.

Skin infections, regular infections, allergies, and dental problems can all lead to an increase in body odor.

Health problems that can potentially increase odor in your dog, are extremely common, which is why you should keep an eye out. 

Even something like canine anal sacs are also a common cause of smelly dogs. All dogs have sacs that if damaged, can cause extremely smelly secretions that can stick to fur and smell bad.

Ear infections are not only relatively common, but can cause tremendous amounts of odor too. 

Do Border Collies Smell 2

Preventing and Controlling Border Collie’s Smell

Border Collies are a breed of dogs that require proper care and attention to maintain their hygiene and prevent any unpleasant smell.

They’re not the most hard to maintain and keep smelling nice, but they’re not a walk in the park either.

Here are some ways to prevent and control Border Collie’s smell:

Regular Bathing

Bathing your Border Collie regularly is essential to keep them clean and prevent any unpleasant odor.

Don’t over-bathe them, as it can cause irritation of the skin, and always make sure to use a good shampoo, and never something that’s only for humans.

Proper Nutrition

Proper nutrition plays a massive role in maintaining your Border Collie’s overall health and hygiene, and has tremendous effects on their odor too (although it might not appear so at first).

Feeding them a balanced diet with high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals can help keep their skin and coat healthy, reducing the risk of skin infections and odor.

You can also feed them homemade food, as long as you’re keeping up with all their nutrient needs.

It’s also essential to provide them with plenty of fresh water to keep them hydrated.

Regular Vet Check-ups

Regular vet check-ups are crucial to detect any underlying health issues that may cause unpleasant odor in your Border Collie.

Your vet can provide you with proper guidance on maintaining your dog’s hygiene and recommend any necessary treatments or medications to control odor.

Not only that, but your vet might be able to help you find the actual reasons for odors, that you might have not thought about.

Many are the stories of dogs that had terrible smells, that the owners didn’t know had rotting teeth that needed to be extracted, as an example.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your Border Collie clean and healthy, reducing the risk of any unpleasant odor.

Myths and Misconceptions About Border Collie’s Smell

Border Collies are awesome dogs. They’re athletic, are intelligent and loyal. However, there are many myths and misconceptions about their smells too.

So what are some of the myths on the question do Border Collies smell? Let’s take a look. 

Myth #1: Border Collies have a strong smell

Contrary to popular belief, Border Collies do not have a strong smell.

Like all dogs, they have a natural doggy odor that can be managed with regular grooming and cleaning, and although every individual dog can smell different, they’re not naturally very smelly.

They’re a relatively clean breed and do not require frequent bathing.

Myth #2: Border Collies need to be bathed frequently

Border Collies only need to be bathed 3-4 times per year, if that.

Their natural oils do most of the cleaning and keep their coat strong, shiny, healthy, and odor-free.

Over-bathing can actually strip their coat of its natural oils, leading to dry, itchy skin and a dull coat.

Myth #3: Border Collies smell because of their diet

While a dog’s diet can affect their overall health and well-being, it’s not the sole cause of their smell.

If a Border Collie has a very intense aroma or even smells, it may be due to poor hygiene practices or an underlying health issue.

It’s important to consult with a veterinarian if your dog has a persistent odor that cannot be managed with regular grooming and cleaning.

Do Border Collies Smell? Conclusion:

So to answer the question of whether or not Border Collies smell, the answer is: No, Border Collies don’t smell. They’re generally clean and do not have a strong odor.

However, like any other dog breed, they can develop an unpleasant smell due to several reasons such as infections, injuries, menstruation, poor diet, and lack of proper hygiene practices.

To keep your Border Collie smelling fresh and clean, regular grooming is essential, as well as eating proper food and staying healthy.

When it comes to grooming: Brushing their coat to remove dead hair and dirt, trimming their nails, cleaning their ears, and brushing their teeth, are all needed and useful.

When it comes to bathing: You’d want to do this only as needed, typically every 4-6 months.

When it comes to food: You’d want to be feeding your Border Collie a healthy and balanced diet can also help reduce body odor and bad breath. Avoid feeding them low-quality or inappropriate food as it can lead to digestive issues and an unpleasant smell. 

When it comes to overall health: See that your dog has regular trips to the vet (especially if it’s starting to smell and you don’t know what the cause is). Things like infections, injuries and cuts, menstruation, and even anal gland secretion can all be smelly, and should be dealt with accordingly.

Overall, with proper care and attention, your Border Collie can smell fresh and clean all year round.

Once again, if you notice any persistent or unusual odor, that you can’t put your finger on (literally and figuratively) it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

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