Why Do Beagles Roll In Smelly Stuff



Beagles are known for their overly-caring and friendly demeanor and this is one of the main reasons why people consider them as potentially wonderful pets. This is all true, however, they can easily get on our nerves and if you are a Beagle owner yourself, you know very well what we’re talking about. Whether it is that selective deafness they are so known for, or their puzzling desire to roll around in smelly stuff, Beagles seem to have a mind of their own. How many times did your pup come home all covered in mud… or at least something that appeared to be mud, only to figure out that he had rolled in poop, garbage, or even an animal carcass? Here are the most plausible explanations to why your Beagle likes to roll in smelly stuff.

The Root of the Behavior

Although Beagles enjoy rolling around in funky odors, their end goal is not to annoy us. To your dog, something could smell quite wonderful, whereas to you… it’s quite the opposite. Beagles have an acute sense of smell so when they pick up a scent they’re drawn to, they won’t miss the opportunity to “wrap” themselves in it. Believe it or not, this behavior is quite common and very natural. It’s been rooted in your dog’s wild ancestors – the wolves – who would mask their scent to help them sneak up on their prey. Another theory suggests that dogs like to roll in smelly stuff as a way to bring the scent home to the rest of the pack and to allow others to track back to it. Whatever the case, Beagles don’t feel guilty about their reaction and are actually fascinated by things that we consider disgusting. It’s possible that Beagles like being associated with that stench smell, due to their breeding habits. 

Dogs that are in the hound group such as the Beagle, Foxhound, Bloodhound, Coonhound, etc. have a stronger and more distinct odor than some other breeds. This is also known as “hound odor.” As they were mainly used for hunting rabbits, Beagles depended on each pack member's ability to be extremely aware of where others were located throughout the field or forest. It is believed that the previous generations of breeding practices led to a stronger than usual level of chemical emitters in this type of dogs. Although they are known for their “distinct” scent, it is not to say that Beagles should smell bad due to their owner’s neglect. The average pet Beagle does not have any noticeable unpleasant odors, with the exception of un-spayed females during heat, or in our case… as a result of rolling around in stinky stuff.

Encouraging the Behavior

Whether he likes to roll in another dog’s poop or in cow patties on the field, that doesn’t mean that you have to live with a smelly Beagle. As punishing him is not a viable solution, there are certain steps you can take to discourage him from continuing to do so. Even if it’s not easy to prevent poop rolling, most dogs have a few obvious “tells” that they exhibit right before they get ready to roll. So if you’re able to recognize it before it happens, you’re halfway there.

Therefore, if you notice your Beagle is focusing on a patch of the ground more intensely than usual, it’s possible that he is about to roll in it. You might even notice him doing a pre-roll pose, by putting the side of his face and neck in first. The best thing you can do before it starts to happen again is to teach your pup the “leave it” command. It’s not only useful in this type of situation, but it can literally help save your dog’s life when he breaks out of the leash for example. And remember, the more you practice it, the better he’ll get at responding to it. 

Other Solutions and Considerations

When you’re out walking your Beagle, remember to always keep him on a short leash, in case he comes across some “enticing” smells that could potentially distract him. To prevent him from rolling around in smelly things, you could also try to pair an unpleasant experience with his action. In other words, you can consider squirting him with a water bottle or making a loud and sudden noise as soon as he gets ready to roll. If he begins to associate rolling around in smelly things with an unpleasant experience, he’ll be less tempted to repeat the behavior next time you take him out for a walk.


It is obvious by now that you and your dog have completely different notions of what a “nice smell” is supposed to be. While the behavior is completely natural, this doesn’t mean you should always be ready to give your Beagle a bath each time you come home. Follow our suggestions to keep him away from the smelly stuff and make sure he’s groomed properly and regularly.