Why Do Bichon Frises Smell?



You bought Ginger from a well-known Bichon Frise breeder because you loved her size and furry look. Although you love her so, you are noticing that she is reeking up your house. You are spending more money on candles, incense, and air fresheners than you ever thought possible because your cute little pooch emits such foul odors. You are not entirely sure why Ginger does not live up to her sweet smelling name. You want to find a way to remedy the situation quickly, so you can enjoy your dinner without Ginger’s doggy odor wafting in your direction. Keep reading for more information.

The Root of the Behavior

Bichon Frises are prone to smelling more because of some key characteristics. Ginger exemplifies fluffy, and she has a double coat! Her two layers comprise a textured inner layer and an outer curly, smooth layer. That’s right, imagine bundling up in two North Face jackets even in the summer; this might cause your smell to be a bit pungent too. You realize that this might have something to do with the fact that Miss Ginger tends to sweat more in the summer when you forgo her buzz cuts. She becomes a hot mess under all that poof. Some new Bichon Frise owners do not realize that the breed requires a lot of grooming. Ginger needs to be clipped and brushed periodically, or her hair will grow mangled and cause her to appear as a dirty furball. And, she will probably smell.

Additionally, Ginger’s breed is known for being difficult to housebreak. This is due to her independent and stubborn nature as well as her smaller size. Refusing to potty train also contributes to a smelly Ginger for she can easily hide and poop behind the couch. Unfortunately, Bichon Frises also tend to have a lot of allergies to fleas, grass, shampoos - you name it. This sometimes causes them to chew on their cute little bodies, which again, can cause a rugged fragrance. And don’t forget that velcro-like fur that can attract burdocks, dirt, and make your beautiful Ginger look like a matted mess with an odor you want to ignore. This breed is also notorious for chewing. When Ginger chews at your table or shoes, this might cause her to have stinky breath or result in some gnarly dental problems. And as much as you love your pooch, she tends to have some reactions to certain foods as well. This is why many Bichon Frise owners bust out their wallets to buy the all-natural organic stuff.

Encouraging the Behavior

Good news! Not every Bichon Frise smells terrible. In fact, you can take some active steps to help prevent a stinky Ginger. With the right amount of grooming, many owners say their Bichon Frise actually smells good. Put in the effort to clip and brush Ginger all of the time, and you should see some sweet smelling results. A recent survey supports that some owners feel their Bichon Frise doesn't smell at all, or, not that much. In fact, Iheartdogs.com polled 43 Bichon Frise owners, and the results were as follows: 0% said their Bichon Frise was very stinky, 33% said occasionally stinky, and 67% said not stinky at all. Could they be biased? Maybe, or perhaps most of these owners followed the proper guidelines for grooming. 

Interestingly, it is recommended that you take your Bichon Frise to a professional groomer every six to eight weeks, which although a hefty price tag, could save you money and Lysol at home. As stated above, Bichon Frises also are more prone to dental problems and chewing, both of which can cause bad breath. Make sure you brush Ginger’s canine teeth regularly and take her to the vet for her checkups. Also, if you catch her nibbling on hard items or your leather sandals, take them away and offer her a dental bone instead. It’s evident that you don’t want Ginger stinking up your house, so these small changes may alleviate Ginger's stink.

Other Solutions and Considerations

There are some reasons why Ginger could smell that are beyond your control. Bichon Frises sometimes have some health issues like kidney and liver failure. These issues can cause your Bichon Frise to smell because they make it difficult to break down and process food. Symptoms of kidney and liver failure include vomiting, diarrhea, and frequent urination. Seek veterinarian help immediately if your dog displays any of these symptoms. Bichon Frises are a breed also associated with allergies. This may cause Ginger to lick herself more after eating your garlic fries. You can help Ginger with this problem by feeding her a quality diet. She also may negatively react to your lavender doggy shampoo. Try an oatmeal or antibacterial shampoo instead. To help alleviate Ginger’s other skin issues, some Bichon Frise owners swear by unscented baby wipes and Dawn dish detergent. Find what is comfortable for your smelly Ginger, and go with it.


You take a step back and realize that you need to be more vigilant with Ginger’s grooming, so you find a professional groomer and book appointments for the next six months. You also buy a doggy brush that you plan to start using daily, and you rethink her diet that consists of your daily leftovers and corn-based food. You also ditch the fruity shampoo that irritates Ginger’s skin and replace it with an oatmeal variety. Then you buy a doggy toothbrush and begin brushing her teeth every day after you’ve brushed your own. These changes have made Ginger go from a mangled mess that smells like a dumpster to a fluffy, oatmeal smelling pooch. Now when you sit down to eat dinner with her by your side, it’s not nearly as ruff.