Do Bichons Smell?

Bichon Frises are quite well known for being hypoallergenic, and they are certainly renowned for being very cute. However, are Bichon Frises smelly dogs? Thankfully,  Bichon Frises are generally well-known to be relatively free from smells.

Do Bichons Smell?

Bichon Frises are very clean dogs that typically have almost no smell at all unless they get into something, they are poorly groomed, or they are suffering from some kind of health concern.

Here’s what you need to know about how to maintain your Bichon Frise to avoid any unpleasant odor and what may be responsible for a stinky Bichon Frise.

Do Bichons Smell?

Some dogs seem to have a distinctive odor even when they’ve been freshly bathed, but this does not describe the Bichon. If you don’t want to deal with a stinky pup, the Bichon Frise may be a good option for you.

These dogs have practically no natural odor at all. Unless they are poorly groomed or allowed to get very dirty, you should not expect to have issues with your Bichon Frise smelling.

Why Do Dogs Smell?

Sometimes dogs smell because of the obvious: they’ve gotten into something nasty. Other times, dogs smell even when they haven’t gotten into anything or even right after a bath.

Most of the time when you notice a distinctive odor that is always or nearly always present around a dog, it is because of oils secreted by glands in the skin. All dogs produce some oil, but some breeds produce more than others.

Dogs that have a water-resistant coat, like Labrador Retrievers, and dogs that have coats that tend to repel dirt, like hound dogs, are often more prone to a distinctive smell due to extra oil than other breeds. It doesn’t matter if you just wash the dog because they’ll begin producing oil as soon as the bath is over.

Bichon Frises don’t have nearly as much of this oil as some other breeds, so they are unlikely to have a strong odor. You will probably recognize a distinct odor that surrounds your Bichon Frise if you sniff for it, but it is unlikely to be strong or unpleasant.

Reasons Your Bichon Frise May Smell

If your Bichon Frise does have a strong odor, there are a few things that may be at fault. Here are some things to consider:


Bichon Frises that are not well-groomed may begin to develop an odor. If they are not groomed around where they go to the bathroom, the area can catch urine and feces, leading to very strong odors. 

Mats that are allowed to develop anywhere on your Bichon Frise’s body can hold moisture and lead to mildew and bacteria forming.

When moisture is trapped against the skin, yeast infections and other sorts of infections can develop there. As a rule, a poorly groomed Bichon Frise is likely to be a stinky and a very unhappy and unhealthy little dog.

Anal Glands

Some small breed dogs like the Bichon Frise can have trouble excreting their anal glands on their own. If the glands become impacted and full, they can develop a strong odor.

If you can feel bulges around your dog’s anus where the glands are or you smell a strong odor coming from the area even though your dog is well-groomed, it is important to bring your dog to the vet. Impacted anal glands can be a serious health problem for your Bichon Frise.

Ear Infections

Dogs with droopy ears and dogs that grow hair in the ear canal can both be more prone to ear infections than other breeds. Since the Bichon Frise has both droopy ears and hair that tends to grow in the ear canal, they may be more susceptible to ear infections than some other breeds.

If your Bichon Frise does begin to develop an ear infection, you may not notice right away since the ears are typically covered in fur. The infection will create debris which can have a very strong odor.

If your Bichon Frise has an ear infection, they are likely to show signs of pain like crying or yelping when their ear is touched. They will likely scratch at their ears, often while crying.

Many dog show the somewhat conflicting signals of seeming to encourage you to rub their ears and then crying or even snapping at you when you do so. If you see any of these signs, it is very important to bring your dog to the veterinarian immediately. Ear infections are very painful for your dog and can lead to secondary issues, including deafness.

Dental Problems

Small breed dogs like the Bichon Frise are often prone to problems with their teeth. These little dogs often have teeth that may not line up just right, even if they are well-bred. This can lead to areas where tartar can build up and cause problems for your Bichon Frise.

As plaque and tartar build-up, they will begin to smell. If they are allowed to build up to the point that tooth decay begins, the smell can suddenly become very bad, almost as though something were dead inside of your Bichon Frise’s mouth.

It is important to brush your dog’s teeth throughout their life and make sure that you bring them to the veterinarian for regular dental care. If you notice a strong odor coming from the mouth, be sure to bring them in to the veterinarian immediately. Tooth decay can lead to decay of the jaw, which can caouse not only severe pain but deformities overtime.


Bichon Frises are not typically very prone to allergies, but any dog can develop allergies. Whether your dog develops an allergy to something in the environment or something that they are eating, they may respond by over-producing oils in the skin.

Although Bichon Frises do not typically produce very much oil in their skin, an allergic response can cause them to overproduce oils, leading to them smelling in the same way that a dog with fur instead of hair may typically smell.

If you notice your Bichon Frise suddenly begin to start smelling across their body without any other clear reason, especially the smell is accompanied with itchiness or other indications of allergies, it is fairly likely that allergies are the culprit.

How to Keep Your Bichon Frise from Smelling

Bichon Frises are typically very clean little dogs with minimal natural odor. However, good grooming is essential to keep your Bichon healthy and looking and smelling their best. Here are some of the essentials to ensuring that your Bichon Frise smells great.

Frequent Brushing

Bichon Frises have dense, cottony coats that can be prone to matting, so it is important to brush them every few days at a minimum and ideally every day.

The more often you brush your Bichon Frise, the less likely small mats will be to develop, which can otherwise cause your dog pain while you are grooming and make them less likely to enjoy the grooming process.

Do Bichons Smell?

It is essential to brush all the way down to the skin. Far too many people brush the coat lightly over the top and think the job is done, while all along mats are forming underneath.

To avoid this problem happening with your Bichon Frise, use a slicker brush and divide the hair as you go so that you can see down to the skin and ensure that you are brushing out any potential tangles.

Good Dental Care

Since Bichon Frises are prone to some issues with their teeth, good dental care is essential. It is important to regularly brush your dog’s teeth.

To supplement toothbrushing and make up for periods of time when you may not be as dedicated to brushing as you ought to be, it is important to provide your Bichon Frise with plenty of chew toys and encourage them to use them.

Food distributing toys are an ideal way to encourage your dog to chew on a number of different textures with various parts of their mouth as they try to get out the food. Choose as many different food distributing toys that have as many shapes and sizes as you can afford and are appropriate for your dog.

Bathing and Deodorizing

Bichon Frises should generally be bathed every month to every six weeks. Brushing your dog too often will result in a dry and broken coat, but bathing too infrequently will allow your dog to get stinky in between baths and may make it more likely that they will develop mats.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to bathe every month or so and use a deodorizer spray between baths. Choose a deodorizing spray that has a gentle oil detangler such shea butter so that it will help you work out any tangles when you regularly brush your dog as well as deodorizing the coat.

Enjoy Your Bichon

If you want a dog that doesn’t have much natural odor, you will likely be very pleased with your choice of the Bichon Frise. Although, like any dog, they can smell, for the most part this is a breed that is not very prone to stinkiness.

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