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13 Dogs With The Worst Sense Of Smell (2023)

Dogs With The Worst Sense Of Smell

A dog’s nose is indeed very powerful. 

You can see pooches in airports, malls, and even crime scenes sniffing out suspicious objects. 

But let’s not generalize all doggos. 

Because there are some that aren’t as gifted in the smelling department.  

If you want to know which ones…

Keep reading to discover:

  • 13 dogs with the worst sense of smell.
  • If there’s a way to improve a Fido’s sense of smell.
  • The reason why some dogs have a bad sense of smell.
  • And much, much, more…

13 dogs with the worst sense of smell

#1: English Bulldogs

Pooches have a good sense of smell, unlike humans. 

However, not all canine noses are the same. 

A Bulldog’s nose, for example, isn’t ideal for scent work.

You see, the structure of a pup’s nose is important in determining how good their sense of smell is. 

As their noses get shorter, they have less surface area. 

And this will result in them having fewer olfactory receptors inside their noses.

Olfactory receptors are where the scents attached themselves. 

Then the brain will analyze the scent on the receptor.

That’s why long-nosed pups are widely used in forensics and security agencies. 

On the other hand, short-faced Fidos like English Bulldogs aren’t as good for these types of jobs.

#2: Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

This small dog breed also has a short snout. 

As a result, their nose isn’t as good as other pooches with longer snouts. 

But that’s alright since Shih Tzus aren’t hunting or scenting pups. 

To be precise, most of them are lapdogs or companion dogs. 

They’re more inclined to get on your lap and cuddle with you than go outside and sniff things. 

Moreover, Shih Tzus are happier charming you and your family with their beauty and grace. 

In particular, they like playing with children and giving them some affection. 

Aside from that, it can also be a challenge to train your Shih Tzus. 

Because they’re sneaky, they’d try to use their charm to get out of training. 

But training your Shih Tzus is important to adjust their behavior. 

AKC suggests enrolling them in early socialization and puppy training. 

And make sure that the training method must be based on positive reinforcement.  

In doing so, you can be more certain that your pooch will become a well-mannered Fido.

After the basic dog training, you can also enroll your Shih Tzu in special classes like scenting work. 

This can improve your doggo’s sense of smell.

Editor’s pick: Shih Tzu Hair Not Fluffy: 5 Reasons + 3 Tips

#3: Boston Terrier

Also known as the “American Gentleman”, Boston Terrier is famous among city dwellers. 

However, they’re not known for having a good sense of smell. 

The reason for this is that they’re brachycephalic.

This means that they have short heads and flat faces. 

As a result, they have shorter snouts. 

But it isn’t only the sense of smell that’s affected when your pooch is brachycephalic. 

Because Fidos with conditions like this also have difficulty in breathing. 

That’s according to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons

Furthermore, this is also the reason why flat-faced pups are more likely to snore. 

Watch this snoring Boston Terrier as proof:

Despite all these though, this doggo retains their popularity. 

Because just like Shih Tzus, their main job doesn’t involve their noses. 

Their role is being a companion or family dog. 

And Boston Terriers are very good at this job. 

Their gentle and patient nature is well suited for both the young and old family members. 

Plus, they’re also good protectors of children.

Aside from that, their playfulness and joy can help people with anxiety issues. 

#4: French Bulldog

French Bulldogs are just like the other pooches. 

They possess a shorter snout which affected their sense of smell. 

However, this hasn’t affected the reputation of the Frenchies.

Because they’re still very famous. 

In fact, many Hollywood celebrities have pet Frenchies with them. 

For example, you have Lady Gaga and her Frenchie pups, Miss Asia, Koji, and Gustavo.

Another famous Frenchie is Dali, which is the fur baby of Hugh Jackman. 

So not having a good sense of smell wasn’t really a problem for Frenchies. 

Their cuteness and personality are enough to attract many admirers.

I mean, how can you even resist those bat ears and their adorable face folds?

Read next: Is Breeding French Bulldogs Profitable? Costs + Yearly Income

#5: Boxer

This Fido’s almost the total package. 

They’re loyal, affectionate, intelligent, and most importantly, good-looking. 

But it seems that no one can really have it all. 

Even the Boxer dog breed. 

Because amidst being all that, they still have a flaw.

And that’s their poor sense of smell.

This is again brought about by their short snout.

However, if you’re not looking for a hunting dog, having a Boxer would be good.

They’re not high maintenance and they’re also very loyal watchdogs.

In fact, they’re quite famous for their patience and protectiveness towards children. 

They’re fearless and will protect you and your family from any threats they detect. 

Aside from that, they’re also very athletic. 

So if you enjoy participating in dog sports, you can have your Boxer do some agility training. 

#6: Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon is also called a “bearded dog” because of their black muzzle and whiskers.

Some would even call them “monkey face” because their facial structure can be likened to a monkey.

This can be attributed to them being one of the brachycephalic dog breeds.

And this also means that they don’t have very good noses. 

But even so, Griffs are famous for their large and human-like eyes.

They’re also charming, playful, and overall a lovely companion.

So if you’re looking for a potential furry friend, then you hit the jackpot with this breed. 

Moreover, AKC describes them as a doggo that have enough personality for 10 ordinary pups.

That’s why you’ll never get bored having a Brussels Griffon around. 

However, Griffs also possess a sensitive nature. 

That makes them unsuitable for kids that like to tease or play rough.

Furthermore, they can easily get lonely and tend to be clingy with their humans.

#7: Pekingese

Because of their thick fur that covers the entirety of their face, it’s hard to tell that this pup has a short snout.

But they do, and it costs them their sense of smell, among other things. 

That aside, Pekingese is a delightful Fido. 

They’re one of the most loyal pooches around.

However, Pekes tend to choose a favorite among the members of their fur family. 

And that lucky person will have the privilege of having a Peke’s lifetime devotion.

Now for their training, Pekes are very intelligent and adaptable. 

Evidence of that is their compatibility with any type of person. 

As a result, they have a fast pick-up and are very trainable. 

#8: Japanese Chin

If you want a pooch that acts like a cat sometimes, then this pup is for you. 

Their gracefulness, independence, and overall temperament are similar to that of a cat.

And due to their short snout, their sense of smell is also unlike regular dogs. 

Because a Japanese Chin doesn’t have good scenting skills.

In fact, they’re one of the worst.

But according to AKC, you can set up some scent training at home. 

They suggested some fun games that your pooch can enjoy. At the same time, it can awaken their scenting skills. 

Here are some of them:

Which one

Step 1: Put on a leash for your pooch and have him sit in front of you.

Step 2: Choose a treat that’s super enticing for your doggo, but not greasy or sticky.  It’s better to use something dry.

Step 2: Put both of your hands on your back and hide the treat in one fist. 

Step 3: Present both your closed fist at least 3 feet apart and near your Fido’s face. 

Step 4: Let them smell your hands and prompt them to choose which has the treat.

Step 5: Open your hand if they choose the correct one and give them the treat. Don’t forget to praise them as well.

Step 6:  Repeat this, but now change which hand has the treat.

Shell Game

Step 1: Take your pup out of the room first.

Step 2: Get 3 plastic cups. 

Step 3: Place them 4 ft. apart and hide a treat under one of the cups.

Step 4: Wear a leash on your pooch and bring them inside the room. 

Step 5: Point to the cup and say “find it” in an excited manner. You may need to tap the cup to guide your Fido in what to do.

Step 6: If they choose the right cup, give them the treat and give them praises as well. 

Step 7: You can repeat this game and gradually increase the number of cups if you see that 3 cups is too easy for your doggo. 

Note: If your Fido knocks over the cups, modify the game by using something sturdier. A plastic cereal bowl can be a great alternative. 

Aside from that, a study finds that zinc nanoparticles can triple a Fido’s sense of smell. 

According to this study, the nanoparticles enhanced the activities of the sensory receptors. 

As a result, it improved Fido’s sense of smell. 

However, initial research also showed that the improvement only lasted for 10 seconds.

#9: Chow Chow

Chow Chow

The next pooch that has a bad sense of smell is the Chow Chow. 

Yep, these fluffy and teddy bear-like pups don’t have great noses.

Their short snouts can be one of the reasons for that. 

Another factor is their thick fur which makes them warm up quickly. 

You see, when a doggo gets too hot they have a tendency to pant. 

And according to this study, panting decreases the efficiency of a Fido’s nose. 

It can even lead to canine hyposmia, a condition in which the smelling ability is reduced.

But Chow Chow compensates for these with their devotion and intelligence. 

What’s more, many like this breed’s adaptability and the fact that they’re not much of a barker. 

Aside from that, they’re also very clean. 

That’s why housebreaking a Chow is an easy task. 

And although they have a puffy coat, they rarely have that doggy smell as long as they’re brushed regularly. 

#10: Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso is a thousand-year-old dog breed that served as a guard in Tibetan monasteries. 

And they have done well in their guarding duties. 

However, it would’ve gone in the opposite direction if they were made into hunting dogs. 

Because these Fidos aren’t well-suited for hunting. 

Their short snouts had affected their sense of smell. 

But Lhasa Apsos are more than just their poor sense of smell. 

They’re a loyal and loving breed that can also become protective of their fur family. 

Furthermore, Lhasa Apsos are good with children. 

In fact, they’re patient and gentle with kids in the household. 

Aside from that, they’re also a perfect guard dog. 

Just like how they were in Tibet, the Lhasa Apso will bark an alarm as soon as they see the presence of an intruder. 

#11: Senior dogs

Aside from breed, age can also affect a Fido’s sense of smell. 

As your pooch increases in age, their senses also weaken. 

According to the Whole Pet Veterinary Center, hyposmia is common in old cats and dogs. 

Sometimes surgery is the treatment for conditions like these. 

But there are times that sensory loss can’t be prevented or treated. 

Because it’s part of the aging process. 

Furthermore, the loss or weakening of your pup’s sense of smell is harder to notice than the loss of other senses. 

However, the most common symptom of hyposmia in doggos is losing their appetite. 

It’s common for pooches to smell their food before eating. 

So it makes sense that they can lose interest in eating when their sense of smell weakens. 

Reading tip: Why Is My Old Dog Suddenly Food Obsessed? 9 Reasons

#12: Dogs with head injury or brain tumor

The nasal cavity of Fidos has a line of small nerve cells. 

And these are connected directly to their brains. 

But if that area in their brains develops some problems, it can affect your Fido’s senses.

Particularly, their sense of smell. 

What’s more, brain tumors and head injuries commonly caused these problems.

That’s why these must be immediately diagnosed and treated. 

According to PetMD, vehicular accidents are the most common reason for head injuries.

So it’s advised to always keep an eye on your doggos when they’re outside and unleashed. 

For brain tumors, VCA says that most dogs who have it are 5 years old and above. 

But there’s still a possibility that younger pups can develop brain tumors.

These are some of the signs of a brain tumor in your Fido:

  • Circling.
  • Head tilt.
  • Wobbly gait.
  • Abnormal vision.
  • Hypersensitivity to neck pain.
  • Unusual mental activity or behavior.

Brain tumors are treated by surgery or radiotherapy.

#13: Dogs with sinusitis and rhinitis

Just like humans, pooches also experience sinusitis and rhinitis.

Sinusitis is the inflammation of the linings of your doggo’s sinuses. 

While rhinitis is the inflammation in the mucous membrane of your Fido’s nose. 

Both conditions can cause your pup’s sense of smell to decline. 

In fact, viral infections can affect the sense of smell of dogs. 

To be precise, canine parainfluenza and canine distemper can cause hyposmia.

And these two viral infections can cause sinusitis and rhinitis in dogs.

So here are some of the signs that you should look out for to know if your pooch has sinusitis or rhinitis:

  • Snoring.
  • Sneezing.
  • Nasal discharge.
  • Reverse sneezing.
  • Labored breathing.
  • Open-mouthed breathing.

Merck Manual says that reverse sneezing is when your pooch inhales in order to clear their nose. 

To treat Fidos that have this condition, antiviral therapy may be prescribed by the vet. 

That’s as long as the virus is identified already. 

Also, doing treatments that can relieve the signs is advised. 

For snoring and sneezing, using a humidifier is helpful.