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Do Bulldogs Smell? [Causes & How To Keep Them Smelling Fresh]

One of the first things you will likely research when looking at new dog breeds is how much each breed smells. What about bulldogs? Do they smell particularly bad? Maybe you recently bought a bulldog puppy home and want to know what you can expect. Either way, we would like to share some important information, considerations, and practical takeaways to keep the odor in this dog breed under control.

So, do bulldogs smell? Bulldogs do not smell any worse than any other dog breed. If your bulldog is healthy, well-groomed, and looked after, they should not have any bad odors. However, due to the anatomy of bulldogs, they can smell quite bad. Facial Folds, Tail Pocket, and Ears are particular body areas to be aware of and routinely clean.

It is important to note that every dog breed does have its own natural aroma and this is something you will need to get used to.

Let’s now discuss the topic in more detail below.

You’ll learn of the main causes of odor in bulldogs, how often they require and you should wash them, and, some practical tips to keep them smelling fresh.

Do Bulldogs Stink Naturally?

All dogs have a dog smell; some have it more than others. Generally speaking, bulldogs are no smellier than other breeds, but if you notice that your bully smells worse than usual, the reasons usually are related to grooming and your hygiene maintenance schedule.

As a bulldog owner, you must keep a consistent cleaning routine regularly throughout the week.

For bulldogs, their skin folds are a common area that collects moisture and bacteria, which can cause infections (including yeast) and leave a foul odor.

Infections make life very hard and uncomfortable for many bulldogs as they have no way to overcome these ailments on their own. As such, it is your responsibility to:

  • Prevent infections and bacteria from collecting and proliferating in the first place,
  • Treat an infection with a reputable and recommended course of antibiotics and/or potent anti-fungal medication.

If medication is required, you should always seek out the support and expertise of a vet; preferably one with experience in handling bulldogs.

Normally, they will be able to prescribe the medication themselves or will be able to point you in the right direction to source it safely.

Of course, the potency and quality of the medication are pivotal.

That being said, infections and odors are not likely nor should occur with proper care.

While they are beautiful dogs, it does cost a lot of money to routinely take them to a vet. Therefore, you will want to minimize such visits as far as you can.

Let’s look at areas, that if neglected can make your bulldog smell terribly:

Facial Folds

As already mentioned, the folds around the face and the wrinkles on the nose are usually the worst offenders.

These folds and wrinkles can become very smelly in a short space of time, especially in the summer months.

After ongoing neglect, the folds can become red and swollen and even bleed. This leads to dermatitis, which can be very painful for your bulldog.

Moisture in those folds creates an environment where smelly fungal infections, such as yeast infections, develop.

The Tail Pocket

A common ailment with bulldogs is when their tail grows too close to the skin in the tail pocket.

You must inspect the tail and tail pocket regularly to get an idea of how much cleaning it requires.

This area is often neglected and can get very smelly; you must keep up its maintenance and cleaning.

The Ears

Ear infections are common amongst many bulldogs.

The ears can get very smelly indeed, but this doesn’t mean that your dog has an ear infection. It does, however, mean that one is imminent.

Ear infections are not only very smelly but a severe medical issue that needs swift medical attention.

Bulldog Smell

How Often Should I Wash My Bulldog

Bulldogs, including both English and French breeds, have short hair. For this reason, they do not require daily or even weekly baths. Once a month should suffice.

However, if you routinely let your bulldog play outside, if you walk them in the rain, or they ever become wet with water from a puddle/stream; you should look to wash them.

If your bulldog gets seriously wet, never let them dry naturally as you will often find that they smell damp afterward.

Additionally, the sudden drop in temperature can bring risk your dog from suffering from hypothermia.

Moreover, some critical areas like the face and the ears will require daily washing/ for bulldogs, dirt can easily gather here in these folds.

Plain water and cotton swabs can be used; however, this can be difficult if your bulldog does not want to sit still.

It can also be quite worrying and difficult knowing how far to probe the bud, and it can even cause stress in your dog.

Therefore, opting for specially formulated and dog-safe wipes is ideal for cleaning around the face and the ears.

You can also purchase a purposeful ear solution that is designed specifically for cleaning a dog’s ears.

We like to get ours from Amazon; there are a lot of excellent products on offer with great reviews. Here are my two personal favorites in each category that we routinely use:

When you’ve washed your dog’s face, it’s also a good idea to massage good petroleum jelly into the folds of the skin.

This should keep the skin soft and prevent cracking of the skin.

When you do bathe your bulldog, use a PH level appropriate and dog-friendly shampoo (like this brilliant one on Amazon).

Block your dog’s ears with cotton balls, lather the soap all over your dog and get into those hard-to-reach places like between the toes, in the tail pocket, and the genitals.

You should brush your bulldog’s coat at least three times a week, especially around the spring and summer months, when most dogs shed a lot.

Brushing must be a gentle procedure. Start by brushing against the grain of the hair, and then with the grain of the hair.

It makes such a difference to your bully’s coat and makes it look very polished.

The FURminator makes the process so much more effective and easier!

FURminator Long Hair deShedding Tool for Dogs, Giant
  • Stainless steel deShedding edge reaches through topcoat to safely and easily remove loose hair and undercoat
  • FURejector button releases hair with ease
  • Ergonomic handle for comfort and easy use
  • Remove loose hair without damaging the coat or cutting the skin when used as directed
  • deShedding tool for giant dogs with long hair

How Can I Make My Bulldog Smell Better?

Diet has a lot to do with your dog being healthy and inevitably smelling better. Other than that regular grooming and bathing can eradicate any smells that occur through exercise, being outside, or anything they lay in and that collects on the coat.


Many bulldog owners do not realize how important diet is to their pet’s health, and the only reason they might notice when something is wrong is when their bulldog develops rashes, ear infections, itchy/dry skin, and flatulence.

Good quality dog food plays a pivotal role in many facets of your dog’s health.

There are so many different dog brands on the market, and it makes it hard to decide which brand is the right one for your dog.

You might think that the more expensive dog food is the way to go, but you may be surprised to learn that this is not necessarily so.

Many of these brands contain harmful ingredients that can make your dog sick; these harmful ingredients include corn, wheat, soy flour, soybean meal, and synthetic preservatives, avoid these foods.

Did you know that around 20% of bulldogs suffer from allergies, this causes excessive licking, scratching of the paws, belly, face, and legs. These symptoms can appear on food allergies as well as seasonal allergies.

Either way, they are always accompanied by more frequent, softer bowel movements and yeast infections on the skin, particularly the ears.

Purchase a premium brand of dry dog food; these foods contain fewer and more natural ingredients than the more popular brands.

Your dog will have a better functioning digestive system and be all the healthier for it. They also, will not be quite as smelly.

Be vigilant with what you feed your dog and be careful with any scraps that contain spices and herbs like garlic.

Onions are also another one to eliminate. Just like humans, dogs will also sweat out the compounds through their skin and this will make them smell.

You should also refrain from giving difficult-to-digest foods to your dog, like Broccoli (and other high sulfur-containing vegetables).

These are notable foods to exclude. Otherwise, you will likely notice more frequent and more potent flatulence!

Grooming/Bathing Routine

Aside from a proper diet, your bulldog needs a well-established grooming/ bathing routine. But more is not always better.

Excessive bathing can upset your dog’s natural skin PH and make them very smelly.

Limit your dog’s baths to once a month, or as required. As previously mentioned, use a gentle specifically designed shampoo for dogs.

Be thorough yet careful on the face and the ears and be sure to clean these days as these areas can get very smelly fast.

Daily Mouth Cleaning

It is extremely important that your dog has its mouth’s cleaned every day.

Bacteria in the mouth can lead to many health issues, including dental cavities, which will be extremely painful and can lead to other issues.

Moreover, it can also make your dog’s breath smell terribly.

It comes often recommended by vets that you brush your dog’s teeth every day.

However, from personal experience manual brushing can prove quite a challenge. This is why using a dental stick and/or a dental toy is a much easier and more time-effective way to go.

If your bulldog is experiencing a lot of flatulence, you can try offering them yogurt with live cultures.

This helps speed up the digestion process and overall reduce the frequency of flatulence.


If you’re planning on getting a bulldog then it is not just the smell that you need to take into consideration.

While there is little cuter than a bulldog, especially a bulldog puppy, they are quite a costly breed.

Bulldog puppies will set you back anywhere between $3000-$7000 depending on the breeder.

The reason why they are so expensive is bulldogs cannot breed together, it must be done through artificial insemination by a vet.

Females can only give birth by c-section, which is also costly.

Beyond just the upfront cost, they do have quite an expensive ongoing maintenance.

Bulldogs are known to suffer from chronic skin infections – they have allergic skin types, not to mention all the folds on their skin.

This requires a lot of care, ongoing maintenance, and the purchasing of tools, products, and sometimes vet treatment.

With all this being said, this should not stop you from getting a bulldog. It is, however, something to be aware of and consider if you have a smaller budget.

All in all, bulldogs are great pets. They are worth the expense because they are so adorable, good company and have such a lovely nature.

In Summary

Bulldogs carry their own natural smell; just like every other dog breed out there.

For the most part, they will not smell more than any other breed. However, they have the potential to smell and smell quite bad due to ineffective care and hygiene maintenance.

Be sure to routinely clean their faces, ears, skin folds, and teeth.

Keep them on a proper diet and bathe them from time to time. But be sure to use safe and specially formulated products to do so.

If you are doing all you can to ensure that your bulldog is kept clean, and they are still smelly – it’s maybe time to take them to the vet.

It could be something more serious and you do not want any potential health issue, or infection, escalating and causing pain.

Wondering what other breeds may smell? My other guides may be of help: