Do German Shorthaired Pointers Smell?

I get asked all sorts of questions about owning a GSP, of which, I had rather unique questions that made me laugh at first, but after some thought, it’s a really good question, and that is, do German Shorthaired Pointers smell?

Owning a German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) comes with many ups and downs (but mainly the ups!).

German shorthaired pointers do have a distinct smell. It is natural and not unpleasant unless the dog’s coat gets dirty or it swims in stagnant water. If they do not have their anal glands cleaned, are not regularly brushed or bathed, and eat a poor diet, they can get smelly.

It is completely natural for dogs to have a particular smell to them. But many prospective German shorthaired pointer owners worry about their body odor getting onto their clothing and furniture and are put off the breed. To keep your dog smelling pleasant, one must groom them regularly.

People are often curious about them as a breed and perspective pet, so let’s explore this a bit further.

Do German Shorthaired Pointers Smell?

The short answer is, yes, GSP’s do have a smell, but not like you’re thinking, it’s not a bad smell, but rather just their natural scent.

Some activities and stressors will cause their smell to increase, but overall it’s not really noticeable. Below, I’ll share what factors increase this and how it plays into selecting a new dog breed as a pet.

All living things have a smell, but I don’t think you’re questioning that, you probably want to know if it’s a bad smell or a smell that will affect your furniture, your car, etc.

Overall, the smell of a GSP is rather mild, and not very noticeable at all, unless you are cuddling with your pointer, you may not even notice it.

Funny enough, my wife and I both agree (along with others we’ve met) that the webbed feet of our GSP smell like Fritos! Yes, the chip! I don’t know how or why this happens, but yep, GSP’s paws smell like Fritos lol.

Factors That Affect German Shorthaired Pointers’ Smell

There is a wide range of factors that influence how GSP dogs smell:

  • Diet.
  • How often they go outside and get wet and dirty.
  • Dental hygiene.
  • Ear hygiene.
  • Wounds on their body.
  • How often they have their anal gland expressed. 

Are German Shorthaired Pointers Smelly?

As a breed, GSPs are no more smelly than any other type of dog. All dogs have a distinct smell, just like all humans and other animals have their own smell. 

GSPs’ smell is not particularly strong or noticeable unless you are up close and personal with them. Some people describe the smell as being similar to popcorn or, strangely enough, Fritos corn chips.

GSPs are very active and love galavanting in the outdoors with their owners. They love to swim, run, and play in the dirt, just like most other sporting dogs. If GSPs spend a lot of time outdoors, they can develop a nasty smell if they get dirty and are not bathed or groomed.

How To Reduce the Smell of a German Shorthair Pointer

Like you, I’m not a fan of a stinky anything, especially my 70lb GSP, as you can imagine, being that large, if he stinks, that smell will make its way to everything.

Fortunately, there are some very simple steps to take to reduce this smell to a point that you won’t smell them at all (except for the Fritos feet). Here are some pointers to reduce your GSP’s odor.

Regular Baths

As obvious as it seems, we should start with this, you need to give your pup a bath regularly and as-needed. Just like you, if you’re not taking showers and baths, you start to smell much worse!

The same applies to the GSP breed. A German Shorthaired Pointer does not require weekly baths like many other breeds. Due to their natural smell and short, slick coat, smells just don’t pile up as fast on a GSP.

Healthy Diet

Again, just like you, if you eat terribly with food that’s unhealthy, you may notice you don’t feel as good or smell as good!

With a dog, it’s even more important as the food’s nutrients directly affect the GSP’s coat health and overall a bad diet leads to a stinkier doggo.

Reduce Swimming in Stagnant Lakes or Ponds

We’ve all heard the term “smells like a wet dog” and that remains true for any dog, including a GSP. Well, when it comes to stagnant water commonly found in small lakes and ponds, I have personally noticed that once my GSP, Hank has been swimming in one, he stinks a bit more.

For those of you who like water fetch or go hunting with your German Shorthair, lake and pond swimming can lead to a stinkier pup. When this happens, it’s no big deal, just get them home and give a bath!

Avoid High-Stress Situations

Once your dog gets into a situation when they are scared, they emit an odor from their anal glands. It’s not the prettiest topic, but it’s life with a dog. I notice this mainly when we pull into the vet’s parking lot and my GSP gets a whiff of the air, he knows and he gets scared.

This can be rectified by regular grooming where your groomer can express the glands during the grooming process. Kudos to you if you do it, I’m not doing it, and that’s final!

All joking aside, anal glands are a part of every dog breed and must be expressed throughout their life. The American Kennel Club has a really good write-up about these glands and the ways to take care of them, read up more here.

Wash The Dog Bedding

Another easy conclusion, but when your dog starts to stink, that smell will carry over to the bed they lay in (or your bed/couch), and it’s a good idea to keep the bedding clean.

We like to give the dog bed cover a bath every month, sometimes 2x a month if needed due to excessive hunting or playing outside.

When shopping for a dog bed, I recommend going with one that has a removable cover, something easy to take off and clean will save you some headache over time.

More Tips To Control Your GSP’s Odor

To keep your GSP smelling their best, you will have to manage the factors affecting their smell. Keeping on top of their grooming requirements, bathing them when they get dirty, and feeding them a healthy, balanced diet will help a lot!

Feed your GSP the highest quality diet you can manage. Cheaper dog foods contain much higher quantities of grain. Dogs are not evolved for eating a diet high in carbohydrates. They cannot digest them. This is the reason many people complain about their dogs’ smelly farts. 

Choose high-quality, protein-rich dog food to feed your GSP. Owners that feed their GSP a raw diet report their dogs’ coats smelling better. A good diet will also minimize their flatulence!

If your GSP loves spending time outside and often gets wet and dirty, you will need to bathe them more frequently to keep the wet dog pong at bay. Only use shampoos specifically formulated for dogs. 

Do not bathe your GSP unnecessarily if their coat is not dirty and they do not stink. Their skin and fur are covered in natural oils that keep them healthy. By bathing your dog too often, you strip away these oils and disrupt the skin pH. 

When their skin’s balance is disrupted, they begin to stink. Dogs are more susceptible to developing hot spots and other infections. Bathing your GSP every 3 to 4 weeks with a hydrating dog shampoo is healthy.

Brushing your GSP using a mitt or a stiff-bristled brush every second day will limit its shedding and keep its coat smelling good and looking clean. 

Take your GSP to the vet regularly to get their ears cleaned, teeth brushed, and their anal glands cleaned. This specialized care and maintenance will keep your GSP smelling its very best!

If your dog does not have its anal gland expressed, it will become impacted, causing a horrible, fishy stench. Brave owners teach themselves to do this, but most just ask the vet or a dog groomer to do it. 

German Shorthaired Pointer Grooming Needs

Even though they have a short coat, GSPs need regular grooming. This is especially important if you are concerned about your dog smelling clean and looking shiny. 

In terms of grooming, GSPs need the following:

  • Regular baths with a dog shampoo, especially when they get dirty or swim in stagnant water. 
  • Routine flea and tick treatment.
  • Weekly brushing will help to manage their shedding. GSPs shed a lot – do not be fooled by their short fur. 
  • Dental care to prevent bad breath. Brush their teeth regularly with a doggy toothbrush and toothpaste. Give them dental chews to remove tartar buildup on their teeth.
  • Ear cleaning to prevent infection. There are several ear washes available on the market.

How To Bathe And Groom A German Shorthaired Pointer

If you socialize your GSP to bathing from a young age, you will have no problem pampering them. If your GSP is still wary of the bathtub, give it plenty of its favorite treats during the process! 

GSP are large dogs, so you need quite a bit of space to bathe them. If your bathtub or shower is large enough, wash your dog inside. Otherwise, outside is a good option too. Dogs prefer you to use lukewarm water and low water pressure.

You will need:

  • Dog shampoo
  • Cotton balls
  • Brush
  • Towel

Start by putting a clean cotton ball in each of your dogs’ ears to prevent water from getting into their ears. GSPs are sensitive to ear infections.

Wet your dog’s coat thoroughly with lukewarm water. Add a generous amount of shampoo to the body, and massage your dog using circular motions for several minutes. 

Once you have shampooed the body, move onto the head. Avoid getting soap on their face, especially their eyes.

Next, use clean lukewarm water to rinse all the shampoo out of their fur. Dry your dog using a towel, and voila! 


GSPs naturally have a unique smell, but it is far from unpleasant. If a GSP stinks, it may be due to several reasons:

  • They need more frequent bathing. Every 3 to 4 weeks is optimal.
  • They need to be brushed every second day.
  • Their anal gland needs to be cleaned.
  • They need more frequent teeth or ear cleaning.
  • Their diet needs to be adjusted. High carbohydrate diets cause dogs to smell bad.

If you bathe your GSP when they get dirty, feed them a healthy diet, and keep up with grooming them, you should have no problems with a smelly dog in your house.

There you have it, all you wanted to know (and more) about whether or not a German Shorthaired Pointer Smells. I get it, you’re doing your due diligence to determine if a GSP is a good fit for you as a pet, and that’s a good thing!

Hopefully, this gave you some insight and got you just a bit closer to making a decision! If you are still unsure, check out our Fast Facts About GSPs!

GSP Items We Love

More info:

Carhartt Tradesman Leash: Every dog owner needs a good leash, and all leashes are NOT treated the same.

This Carhartt dog leash is very well made, and is durable enough to deal with a GSP’s strength (yes, pulling too). I’ve had cheap leashes in the past, they aren’t worth it, grab this instead.

Furhaven orthopedic and Memory Foam Bed: If you have a GSP, you know, they LOVE to lay around, cuddle and sleep (when they aren’t running circles around the living room and yard.

This dog bed is so great because GSP’s love to rest their head on “pillows” just like humans and this dog bed has a built-in “pillow” perimeter that my dog uses every day as a pillow. Hank loves this bed.

SportDOG Brand 425X Remote Trainer: You know what sucks more than having your GSP run around the neighborhood or after a rabbit at your local park? Not having the ability to stop your GSP and recall them in an instant.

With the Sport Dog 425x, you have complete control for up to 500 yards (yes, 5 football fields end-to-end). Its battery lasts a LONG time, it’s sleek, lightweight and your pup won’t ever be out of your control with it on.

WEST PAW Zogoflex Qwizl Dog Puzzle Treat Toy: Our GSP’s love to play, even when we may not have the energy to entertain them ourselves. Maybe it’s work, maybe it’s the end of a long day, who knows.

But, all you need to do is give this Kong to your GSP and they will entertain themselves for quite a while, while you finally get some rest. Hank has had this for years now and it’s still kickin!

GSP German Shorthaired Pointer Hat: Represent your GSP pride with this great trucker, snapback style German Shorthaired Pointer ball cap. It’s got a modern look but also shows others your favorite dog breed.

The best part? The glances and smiles from those who also have a GSP, it’s always a conversation starter!

Kurgo Baxter Backpack for Dogs, Saddlebag Back Pack Harness: I don’t know about you, but my GSP loves to adventure with us out here in Colorado. That means hiking, mountain biking, and camping all year.

Our GSP sees this saddle bag break out and he can’t stop wiggling his butt knowing where are headed outdoors.

Toss in the car keys, a snack bar and some kibble, you are on your way to outdoor fun with your pup!

URPOWER Dog Seat Cover Car Seat Cover: Ok, this is last but it is the MOST beneficial item you will get. Don’t, believe me, Take a road trip with your GSP in the back seat. Once you arrive, you will have GSP shedding hair all over your back sweat.

This slick hammock-style seat cover creates a waterproof barrier between your lovely truck’s interior and your GSP’s shedding hair.

Hunting and having a wet GSP? No Problem! Did your GSP decide to chase a goose into the lake? No big deal! This seat cover is a lifesaver.


An Owner and a huge fan of GSP's! I have owned my GSP for 7 years now and learned so many things along the way to share with you all about German Shorthaired Pointers!

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