Do Border Collies Smell?

By John Martin - August 11, 2022

Dirty Border Collie at the beach

All dogs can generally be pretty smelly creatures. However, Border Collies are much less smelly, cleaner, and more hygienic than several other breeds.

In some situations, however, they might end up smelling quite a bit, so you will need to take some time to figure out where the smell is coming from and how you can deal with it. You can go through some reasons and how you can manage them below.

Potential Reasons for the Smell

Border Collies might smell due to internal or external reasons. Let’s take a look at what these are.

Bathing Frequency

Interestingly, Border Collies only require bathing around four times a year. This is because their skin and coats tend to produce natural oils that can help maintain their hygiene and smell.

Bathing these dogs too often can end up getting rid of these natural oils, as a result of which the body responds by trying to overcompensate for these lost oils. This can lead to unpleasant smells from the coat.

Not bathing your dog at all or too infrequently can result in such foul smells too.

Dental Issues

Dental issues like gum disease, poor hygiene or bad eating habits can often result in bad breath. Plaque or tartar can develop inside the mouth, giving access to the growth of harmful bacteria.

Bleeding or loss of teeth in the mouth can also result in a smell. Teething in your puppy might also help explain this.

Yeast Infection

Yeast infections are common in the paws and ears, as well as other parts of the skin. Many might grow inside the body too.

If your dog comes into contact with dirt and debris on the ground or simply sweats too much, the yeast might become active and start growing and spreading the infection, especially in damp regions.

If you feed your dog certain kinds of starchy foods, the yeast might grow inside their bodies too, leading to bad breath and smellier-than-usual excreta.

Also Read: Are Border Collies Smart?

Skin Infection

Due to external pollutants, your Border Collie might become exposed to bacteria and fungi, leading to several skin infections. These can irritate your dog’s skin, inflame it and also emit bad odors.

Some conditions like ringworms and folliculitis are quite common too.

If your dog’s skin becomes excessively dry with many dead cells, this can lead to poor smells too.

Dirty Coat

There are many reasons for dirty coats. Your Border Collie might have rolled around in dirt or mud or might end up coming into contact with excreta or simply some debris lying around.

This can end up getting caught in the coat, with smaller debris sticking close to the skin, thus leading to a bad odor.

If you go out with your dog and do not end up cleaning the coat up later on, the smell can persist while also causing other health issues.

Anal Gland Issues

Anal glands are sacs on either side of the anus that release fluids and odors to mark their territory and communicate with other animals. This is a normal occurrence, although a strong and persistent smell from these glands might indicate an infection.

If your anal glands end up retaining the fluid, the glands might inflame, leading to infections and bleeding. This can then lead to a foul smell from your Border Collie.

Make it a point to look out for discomfort or pain in your dog. Blood in the excreta or urine, frequent licking of the anal region, lethargy and dehydration can indicate this issue.

Ear Infection

Ear infections can sometimes arise in your Border Collie if you do not clean them up on a regular basis. These can result from several reasons such as bacteria, fungi, mites, allergies, bugs, dampness, excessive cleaning, too much hair as well as other diseases that might end up harming the ear.

These ear infections are often responsible for some of the foulest of smells in dogs, so make sure you inspect the ears properly to see if something there is bothering your Border Collie.

Frequent scratching of the ears might point towards this as well.

How to Prevent Bad Smell

There are several ways in which you can deal with or prevent a bad smell from your Border Collie. Let’s go through some of them below.

Bathing Routine

Bathe your dog only four times a year using soap and shampoo. You should also opt for suitable products that can keep the natural oils protected while also rejuvenating and nourishing the skin and fur of your Border Collie.

Make sure you also wash your dog’s fur frequently (but not with soap and shampoo) so that you can get rid of the dust and particles.


Grooming is key to maintaining a good smell. After you wash or bathe your Border Collie, you must make it a point to dry them up thoroughly.

You should also use a suitable brush to groom their coats. If you feel comfortable, trim their nails as well while also cleaning their ears up.

You can also book a grooming appointment every month or so.

Also Read: Do Border Collies Shed?

Regular Monitoring

It can be easy to miss out on certain actions and activities that your Border Collie undertakes, especially if they escape your notice or are under someone else’s care. For this reason, you must make it a point to monitor their behavior once in a while to ensure that they are not feeling uncomfortable or acting out of the ordinary.

You should also take some time to examine the coat thoroughly.

Cleaning Paws

The paws can be a major source of smells since they are most frequently in contact with the ground. If they are damp and dirty, you should clean the paws thoroughly.

You should also do this each time you take your dog out since the paws contain sweat glands that can emit foul odors. Make sure you dry them up thoroughly once you finish washing them.

Brushing Teeth

Brush your Border Collie’s teeth regularly so that you can get rid of all the accumulated debris and plaque. This can also help clear up their bad breath, thus helping you control the smell.

Make sure you do this gently and opt for the appropriate toothbrush and paste.

Maintaining Suitable Diet

Choose food that is made from natural and organic material instead of containing too many preservatives, added flavors or chemicals in them as these can lead to foul smell, reactions in the body and discomfort.

Do not feed processed food or food that is high in carbohydrates to your Border Collie too often.

Also Read: Are Border Collies Picky Eaters?

Applying Oil

While Border Collies produce natural oils on their own, you might need to apply oil externally at some times, such as when your dog has an allergy or is feeling itchy. If, for some reason, your dog isn’t producing enough oil, this can be a good solution.

Visiting the Vet

If you can’t seem to figure out where the smell is coming from or can’t manage to get rid of it, you should visit the vet so that they can diagnose the issues, test out some factors and suggest further treatment.

Final Remarks

Border Collies do not smell too much if they are clean and healthy, but certain infections, diseases, accumulated dirt and excessive bathing can make them smell foul. Make sure you clean them up regularly, maintain good hygiene, feed them well and keep track of their smells and health.