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Do Maltese Smell More Than Other Dogs? Breed Facts & Care Tips

Kerry-Ann Kerr Profile Picture

By Kerry-Ann Kerr


All dogs are guilty of being stinky sometimes, but if you’ve had more than one breed, you probably know that some can be smellier than others. This can be due to various factors, but thankfully, Maltese dogs aren’t smelly canines.

So, what exactly makes one breed smellier than another, and when should you be worried about your dog’s odor? We’ll discuss what makes dogs smelly and why your Maltese seems more “fragrant” than usual.

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What Makes a Dog Smelly?

Some dogs emit a stronger odor than others, like Basset Hounds and Labrador Retrievers, due to the sebaceous gland, which secretes an oil called sebum and moisturizes your dog’s coat and skin.1 Some dogs have heavier secretions than others or folds in their skin that can trap these oils.

The canine’s sense of smell is incredibly important because it repels predators and attracts mates. It’s also a way for dogs to identify one another, which is why your dog recognizes its best friend at the park before you do. Secondly, some dogs have also adapted or been bred to be water resistant, which makes the oil on their hair follicles vital.

Not only are Maltese not as oily as some other breeds, but they also don’t have excessive skin folds. Additionally, they’re small dogs, so they’re easy enough to bathe.

Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

Why Is It Important to Bathe a Dog?

Bathing a dog too much can be bad for them; it can dry out their skin by stripping off the natural oils we’ve just mentioned. This can lead to a dull coat and itchy skin. But not giving your dog enough baths can lead to matting, which is painful and distressing. Dogs are also fans of rolling around in things they shouldn’t, like the feces of other animals, so sometimes a bath is a must.

Short-haired dogs are relatively low maintenance, and you won’t need to bathe them more than once every 2 to 3 months. However, a Maltese will need to be bathed more frequently, every 4 to 6 weeks, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). Maltese have long, silky coats that need more attention than other breeds. You will also have to brush a Maltese’s coat more often between baths to maintain their coat.

When bathing your pup, choose a shampoo suitable for dogs, and never use products designed for humans. Dogs have a different pH balance than humans, and they also have more sensitive skin. Human shampoo strips away the protective oils from the skin and coat, leaving them open to developing rashes, dry, flaky skin, and infections.

white maltese dog taking a bath
Image Credit: Denis Production.com, Shutterstock

Other Reasons Your Maltese Might Stink

Dogs can be smelly for many reasons, so it’s important to use the opportunity when bathing your dog to check them over. With their fur wet, you can check them for any rashes, irritated skin, or lumps and bumps. Other parts of your dog can also be stinky, like:

  • Ears: A wax buildup can result in smelly ears, which should be controlled by cleaning them. If your dog scratches its ears frequently, take it to the vet for a checkup. It may have an infection that requires medication.
  • Mouth: Strong odors can come from your dog’s mouth thanks to a buildup of tartar on the teeth. Your vet can clean their teeth and check for signs of tooth and gum disease. It’s important to brush your dog’s teeth twice a day or at least three times a week; make sure you use a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs.
  • Anal Sacs: When your dog defecates, the two sacs on either side of the rectum release a pungent oil that emits a foul odor. If your dog has long hair around its butt, it can absorb the oil and hold onto the odor. If your dog is cleaned and groomed by a professional, and the odor remains, take your pet to the vet to ensure the sacs aren’t infected.

Bathing your pet can be challenging, but the right shampoo will make it a lot easier! We have two favorite shampoos for the job, both are safe, all-natural shampoos designed with your pets in mind. Our soothing shampoos are pH balanced, made in the USA, and free of glutens, dyes, sulfates, and phthalates. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right option for your pet’s next bath!

Hepper Oatmeal pet shampoo
Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo

Hepper Waterless No Rinse Pet Shampoo
Natural cucumber & aloe scent
Natural cucumber & aloe scent:
Natural cucumber & aloe scent:
Safe for cats & dogs
Safe for cats & dogs:
Safe for cats & dogs:
Rinsing required
Rinsing required:
Rinsing required:
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients:
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients:
Lathers easily
Lathers easily:
Lathers easily:


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Maltese dogs are not a particularly smelly breed when they’re frequently groomed and bathed. If you notice a bad smell coming from your dog, don’t assume it’s a normal doggy odor. Check your dog for signs of infection or irritation in its mouth, ears, and around the anus, and make an appointment with your veterinarian. They can develop a treatment plan to address the source of the odor so that your favorite Maltese doesn’t clear the room when it enters.

Featured Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

Kerry-Ann Kerr Profile Picture

Authored by

Kerry-Ann lives in Scotland and wishes her garden was bigger so she could have her very own Highland cow but thinks her dogs probably wouldn’t like that idea very much. She has a La Chon called Harry who was poorly with a liver shunt when he was a puppy. It wasn't likely he would make it into adulthood, which was difficult to comprehend, but he beat the odds and is a healthy old man now. She also has a Pug called Maddie...Read more

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