What Does a Wolf Smell Like?

Wolves have a similar smell to dogs, although some people say that they have a more spicy smell that also has a more wild feeling to it, and it reminds you that wolves are creatures that live in the forests.

Many people believe that wolves simply smell like dogs, but this is not entirely true. While wild wolves do have the smell of a dog that’s been in the rain for some time, some wolf owners say that home-kept wolves smell nothing like dogs.

what does a wolf smell like

According to one wolf owner on Quora, the wolf has a more spicy smell and it reminds you of the forest and the wilderness more as it would with dogs. They also have stronger smells near their tails, which is appropriate for breeding purposes, and between their shoulders, where the smell is the strongest.

Are Wolves Stinky?

Wild wolves are probably stinkier than home-kept wolves since the wolves that people keep at home are not exposed to adverse weather conditions and they are also groomed better by their owners, so they don’t keep the same smells as wild wolves do.

When wolves are out in the wild, they’re constantly out and about and undergo various weather effects – from rain, wind, snow, to mud on the ground and potentially other smells that they get from their environment.

Wolves don’t sweat, though, because they use their mouths to cool down, so they won’t develop smells because of that.

They will also develop the strongest smells when they’re breeding. This will normally be in the beginning of the year from January to March or April, when females will have a distinct smell of pheromones, which will give the males a signal to come and mate.

And we know that males are able to sniff and spot the female pheromones from several miles away, which allows them to breed easier when the female is ready to breed (go deeper on this phenomenon in our article on how wolves mark their mates).

Also, wolves have scent glands on their feet which is why they will develop stronger smells on their feet than the rest of their body. These scent glands are also located between their shoulders so that’s where the smells will also be more recognizable.

A wolf’s feet will smell similarly to what a dog’s feet. Many dog owners describe this smell as the smell of Doritos or popcorn, and wolves are believed to develop the same smells through their feet as dogs.

Read Also: Why do Wolves have Pointy Ears?

Do Wolf Males Smell Stronger than Females?

Wolf males will develop stronger smells than the females when females are not breeding. 

A male will constantly mark their territory by urinating, which means its urine will have to smell stronger than the female urine, and it will also be longer-lasting in order to warn other males to stay out of its territory.

One of the more common problems that male wolves have is that they tend to roll in the poop of other animals, especially in the wild. The purpose of this behavior is to cover them in these smells to cover themselves and blend with the environment, leaving the unsuspecting victims vulnerable and not knowing that a wolf is approaching to kill it.

These smells will stay with the wolf for a few days and will only go away if there is rain and these smells are washed away. This is a similar behavior as you would normally see with dogs, although it doesn’t play a particular purpose for dogs as it does for wolves.

Do Wet Wolves Stink?

Yes, wet wolves will develop a certain stench, which is because they have certain oils in their furs which will cause these smells to develop in the first place.

If you own a dog, you know what it feels like to smell a wet dog. It’s an unpleasant, pungent, strong smell that will not go away until the dog is dry.

And the same goes for wolves, only that these smells are probably even stronger with wild wolves, since they will also collect other smells from the environment that will only enhance the smells of the oils in their furs.

The main purpose of these oils in the fur is to protect the fur against potential damage that happens when it gets wet, but also to help the fur dry faster. This oil will be found with almost any wolf species, be it a wild or a domestic wolf.

Do Wolves Have a Distinct Scent?

Wolves also have a distinct scent that can only be recognized when they’re breeding or when they get wet.

While this scent does remind people of dogs often, it’s slightly different. It smells more foresty and spicy than a dog would smell like.

But the most distinct smell wolves have is when females breed.

That’s when they’ll start emitting pheromones and other sexual hormones, which are meant to attract the male wolves and let them know that the female is ready for breeding. These smells cannot be normally detected by an average human nose, except for if you smell the wolf from very close up.

An interesting part of the wolf’s body that has its own smell is a wolf’s ears. These will have a sweeter, almost flowery smell that is distinct from the rest of the body of the wolf. But again, you probably wouldn’t be able to smell these smells unless you would smell their ears from very close.

Final Thoughts

Many people believe that wild wolves are stinky animals that have strong smells. But that’s not entirely true.

While they do develop their own smells, they will only be stinky when they roll themselves into things that don’t smell particularly nice, such as the excretions of other animals.

But anyone who owns a wolf at home will tell you that wolves don’t smell strongly when they’re kept at home. While they do have some smells that are similar to dog smells, they will not smell unpleasantly unless they are wet or if they cover themselves with faeces of other animals.

That’s when it can get really bad, though.