Do Golden Retrievers Smell Bad?

Golden Retrievers are magnificent and friendly creatures. They tend to especially get along with their pet parents, children and other animals, including cats.

Of course, all things considered, you’re probably still wondering, “Do Golden Retrievers Smell Bad?”

Well, we’re going to answer your question in two parts: a short and straightforward answer and a longer, more detailed answer.

Do Golden Retrievers Smell Bad?

The unfortunate answer to your question is that, like any other breed of dog, Golden Retrievers may also smell bad.

With that sorted out, you should also know that these pungent smells can be mitigated by inspecting the source of the problem.

The most common causes for the smell include:

  1. A poor diet
  2. Natural secretions due to metabolism
  3. Yeast Infection
  4. Roughhousing over smell substances

Getting to the Source of the Problem

The most common cause for that god-awful smell tends to be skin secretions due to metabolic reactions, followed closely by the fact that your pup just needs a nice bath. Still, if the former seems to be the problem, the scent will be concentrated on areas that accumulate the most bacteria.

Simply put, check for concentrated scents in areas such as the:

  • Mouth
  • Nose
  • Ears
  • Under their tail
  • Inside skin folds

Apart from those natural secretions, there are numerous other reasons why your Golden Retrievers smell bad:

Health Problems

There are several canine health conditions that could lead to them smelling bad. For example, your pup may have bad breath because of kidney failure or diabetes. Even though the breath of a healthy dog isn’t exactly ‘minty fresh’, excessive smells are typically a sign of these health problems.

Similarly, dogs that come down with gum or teeth diseases also start emitting noticeably pungent breath. Other than this, you may even notice how they unintentionally drool into their fur, which generally heightens the smell.

Alternatively, if the bad odor seems to be coming from their ears, your Golden Retriever may have an ear infection, which can be caused when they shake their head excessively. Try to notice any of these traits in your dog as well while making sure their ears are clean and dry.

Believe it or not, dogs tend to also smell bad because of flatulence, or better yet, ‘persistent’ flatulence. The source of this particularly smelly problem may be an infection in their intestines or the adjoining gut. In addition, this could also be caused because of an infection in their anal sacs.

Note: the pungent smell from anal sacs is normal during or after pooping if the smelly secretion sticks to their fur, usually when they are excited or scared.

A Cheesy Smell

If you notice a cheese-like smell in a moist area of your Golden Retriever’s body, it may be due to yeast or bacterial infection. These conditions also cause your furry little buddy to excessively scratch at the same itch without relief.

Naturally, scratching over the infection leads to inflammation, which in turn, worsens their condition. Getting rid of those ugly smells could be as simple as treating the infection and keeping your agitated pup from scratching repeatedly.

On the other hand, if the cheese-like smell seems to be coming out of their ears, it may be due to an overgrowth of yeast, which in other words, is a yeast infection. Other telltale signs of yeast infections include:

  • Itchy and red ears
  • Noticeable debris around the ear lobes
  • Moldy cheesy odor, only concentrated around their ears
  • A foreign object trapped in their ear


Pyoderma is a type of skin infection and we’d like pet parents with Golden Retrievers to know that they are particularly susceptible to this problem. Then again, this condition can be common in any dog breed that has a double coat of fur.

This nasty skin condition is often a byproduct of other health conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Liver diseases
  • Thyroid diseases
  • Cancer
  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune disorders

Common symptoms that you should watch out for include:

  • Foul odor
  • Loss of fur
  • Itchiness
  • Scaly skin
  • Pustules

Canine Atopic Dermatitis

This health condition is yet another very common health condition among Golden Retrievers, and all you need to do is spot the signs and drive your buddy off to the vet. Common symptoms of this health condition include:

  • Varying degrees of itchiness
  • Loss of fur around the eyes and muzzles
  • Oily, dry or red skin
  • Skin lesions

The most probable reason why your Golden Retriever smells bad because of this health condition, may be because of:

  • An intolerance to certain foods
  • Flea Bites
  • Allergens

Roughhousing Over Water or Smelly Substances

Oftentimes, pet parents get too paranoid about these health conditions that they forget how naughty their Golden Retriever really is. Well, we aren’t going to advise you to ground them from playtime, but will, however, recommend giving them a cleaner environment to play. At least if you want them to smell good.

Since Golden Retrievers were originally bred to help retrieve game from land AND water, it may also be plausible that your pup has got the infamous ‘wet dog smell’. It really doesn’t matter whether they were playing in the pool or rain water. In either case, their fur will produce a very distinct and unpleasant smell.

Again, we wouldn’t want to discourage you from letting them play in water. Instead, we’d recommend that you give your dog a nice clean water bath before the contaminated water dries over their skin. Also, try to let your puppy dry out naturally before letting them step into your home.

Our Final Thoughts

Do Golden Retrievers smell bad? Like you wouldn’t believe, however, this isn’t always the case. Generally, they are very pleasant animals to cuddle with, however, if they are smelly, you need to:

  • Keep your puppy dry more often
  • Groom them more regularly
  • Consult a vet for optimal hygiene and diet
  • Consult a vet for canine medical conditions

Also, don’t start assuming the worst before giving them a nice wash. Who knows? They might just be ruff around the edges.

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