Do Cocker Spaniels Smell BAD? [Debunking the Myth]

Cocker Spaniels are a popular breed of dog, known for their affectionate and playful nature. With their long, floppy ears and wagging tails, they can quickly win over the hearts of dog lovers. However, some potential owners may be curious about whether or not these adorable dogs have a strong smell.

As a family dog expert I get asked ALL THE TIME by loving Cocker Spaniel owners if their dog is a particular stinker, or if it is a breed trait. There are easy fixes to most causes and you are not alone in wondering about smelly Cocker Spaniels!

It’s important to remember that all dogs have a natural odor, and Cocker Spaniels are no exception. Factors such as diet, grooming habits, and overall health can greatly influence a dog’s smell. Regular grooming and bathing can help manage odors and keep your Cocker Spaniel smelling fresh.

do Cocker Spaniels smell
Do Cocker Spaniels smell? Debunking the Myth

Additionally, paying attention to their diet and ensuring they receive regular check-ups can contribute to a healthy, less odorous dog.

While Cocker Spaniels may not have a scent as strong as some breeds, proper care and maintenance are key in keeping them smelling pleasant. Taking the time to pamper and groom your four-legged friend will not only keep odors at bay but also strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion. So, go ahead and sniff away – with the right care, your Cocker Spaniel can be as delightful to the nose as they are to the eyes and heart!

Do Cocker Spaniels Smell?

Common Reasons

Cocker Spaniels, like any other dog breed, may have an odor for various reasons. One common cause for a smell is poor hygiene. Regular grooming, including bathing and trimming, can help prevent unpleasant odors.

dirty Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniel needs a proper grooming.

Additionally, a dog’s ears can be a source of odor if not cleaned regularly, as Cocker Spaniels are prone to ear infections due to their long, floppy ears.

Another possible reason for odor in Cocker Spaniels is dental issues. Maintaining your dog’s oral health through routine brushing and check-ups with a vet can keep their breath fresh and reduce odors.

Some other factors that can contribute to a Cocker Spaniel’s smell include:

  • Wet fur
  • Skin infections
  • Anal gland issues
  • Dietary factors

Breeds’ Predisposition

While every dog is unique, Cocker Spaniels may be more predisposed to certain odors due to their breed characteristics. For instance, their long, floppy ears can trap moisture and create a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, leading to ear infections and a subsequent smell.

English Cocker Spaniels
Dog stands on a suitcase in a blue background.

Cocker Spaniels also have a dense coat that can trap dirt and moisture, causing a musty smell if not groomed regularly. By ensuring that your Cocker Spaniel is groomed and cleaned consistently, you can help keep any odors under control and maintain a pleasant-smelling, happy, and healthy pup.

The Role of Grooming

Cocker Spaniels, like any other dog breed, can have a distinctive smell. However, with proper grooming, this smell can be significantly reduced. Grooming plays a crucial role in maintaining your Cocker Spaniel’s overall hygiene and health.

Cocker Spaniels bathing outside
Cocker Spaniel giving a bath by owner.

We will focus on three key areas of grooming: Ear Care, Bathing, and Brushing.

Ear Care

Cocker Spaniels have long, floppy ears which can easily trap moisture, dirt, and bacteria, leading to infections and bad odor. To keep your dog’s ears clean and healthy, it’s essential to check them regularly and clean them using the appropriate ear cleaning solution. Doing so will minimize the chance of infection and keep your Cocker Spaniel smelling fresh.

  1. Check their ears at least once a week
  2. Use a vet-recommended ear cleaning solution
  3. Gently clean the outer part of the ear with a cotton ball


Baths play an important role in keeping your Cocker Spaniel clean and odor-free. While it is not necessary to bathe your dog too frequently, aim to give them a bath every four to six weeks using a mild dog shampoo. This will help prevent drying out their skin and maintain their coat’s natural oils.

  • Bathe your dog every four to six weeks
  • Use a mild dog shampoo
  • Be gentle while scrubbing to avoid skin irritation


Regular brushing not only helps keep a Cocker Spaniel’s coat clean and tangle-free, but it also stimulates the distribution of natural oils, promoting a healthy and glossy coat. It’s a good idea to brush your dog at least three times a week to prevent matting and excessive shedding.

  • Brush your Cocker Spaniel at least three times a week
  • Use a slicker brush or pin brush for the best results
  • Be gentle while brushing to avoid hurting your dog

In conclusion, proper grooming is essential for keeping your Cocker Spaniel clean and smelling fresh. By following these tips, you’ll contribute to your dog’s overall health and happiness. Now, your well-groomed Cocker Spaniel is ready to accompany you on new adventures!

Health Issues and Smells

Cocker Spaniels, like other dog breeds, can sometimes have health issues that cause them to emit unpleasant odors. Two common causes of unpleasant smells in these dogs are skin infections and dental problems.

English Cocker Spaniel owner
English Cocker Spaniel with his owner sitting on the couch.

Skin Infections

Cocker Spaniels are prone to skin infections, which can produce a strong, unpleasant odor. These infections can result from allergies, hormonal imbalances, or bacterial and fungal infections. A common cause of skin infections in this breed is an overgrowth of yeast, leading to a condition called Malassezia dermatitis.

This condition causes the dog’s skin to become itchy, inflamed, and smelly. To keep your Cocker Spaniel’s skin healthy and odor-free, regular grooming and veterinary check-ups are essential. Treating existing skin infections with appropriate medications and maintaining a clean living environment can also help minimize unpleasant smells.

Dental Problems

Cocker Spaniels, like all dogs, can suffer from dental problems that cause bad breath and other unpleasant smells. Tartar build-up, gingivitis, and periodontal disease can all lead to bad breath in your furry friend. To keep your Cocker Spaniel’s teeth and gums healthy, be sure to brush their teeth regularly and provide dental chew toys.

Regular check-ups at the vet can help identify and treat any dental issues before they lead to more serious health problems or strong odors.

Taking care of your Cocker Spaniel’s health is not only important for their well-being but can also contribute to a more pleasant smelling home environment. By addressing skin infections and dental problems, you can keep your pooch smelling fresh and happy.

Tips to Manage Odor

Cocker Spaniels are known for their charming appearance and energetic personalities, but their owners might find it challenging to manage their odor. Don’t worry, we have some useful tips for you!

bed cover wash
Washing dog bed covers.

First, make bathing a regular ritual. Giving your Cocker Spaniel a bath every 4 to 6 weeks using a gentle dog shampoo helps reduce the natural oils that can cause unpleasant smells. Make sure to focus on areas where dirt and debris tend to accumulate, like the ears and paws.

Don’t forget to give them a good towel or blow dry afterward, as damp fur can develop an unpleasant smell.

Proper grooming is another crucial element in odor management. Cocker Spaniels have thick coats that need regular brushing to remove dead hair, dirt, and debris. A quick daily brushing will not only keep your dog smelling fresh but also promote a healthier and shinier coat.

One more critical area to pay attention to is your dog’s dental hygiene. Poor dental health may cause your pup’s breath to smell bad. Make it a habit to brush their teeth regularly with a dog-safe toothpaste and offer dental chews or chew toys to aid in oral care.

Talking about oral care, let’s not forget the dog’s diet. Feeding your Cocker Spaniel quality food free of artificial additives will aid in maintaining their overall health, including their breath. You might want to add some fresh fruits and veggies to their diet, as they’re natural sources of nutrients and antioxidants.

Lastly, don’t ignore your dog’s living space. A clean environment can do wonders in maintaining a good smell for your furry friend. Regularly wash their bedding, toys, and feeding area, and keep their sleeping area well-ventilated.

Following these tips will undoubtedly help you keep your Cocker Spaniel smelling fresh and clean. Remember, a good-smelling pup is a happy pup!


Cocker Spaniels, being a popular breed of dogs, are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. However, concerns about their smell are not uncommon. Upon investigation, we can attribute these concerns to several factors.

Firstly, Cocker Spaniels are prone to otitis externa, a condition that causes inflammation in the outer ear. This issue can lead to scratching, head shaking, and even a foul smell emanating from the affected ears. To minimize this, regular ear cleaning and appropriate veterinary care are essential.

While the lineage of English Spaniels contributes to a Cocker Spaniel’s genetics, it does not inherently make them smellier than other dog breeds. In fact, a dog’s sense of smell varies significantly even within the same breed. It is important to remember that individual differences may exist, and generalizations should be avoided.

Maintaining a healthy grooming routine is key to keeping any dog smelling fresh, especially one with a long, wavy coat like a Cocker Spaniel. Regular brushing, bathing, and trimming can help prevent bad odors from building up.

In conclusion, Cocker Spaniels do not inherently have a stronger odor than other breeds. However, certain conditions or lack of grooming can contribute to unpleasant smells. Proper care and attention to your furry companion can greatly reduce any smell concerns, allowing both you and your four-legged friend to enjoy each other’s company without fearing the “smelly dog” label.