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Why Does My Dog Sniff My Crotch?

Written by Anna Hollisey


close up of dog nose

WARNING: Bad smells ahead! If you’re of a sensitive disposition, you might not really want to know the truth about why dogs sniff crotches. If you’re bold, read on… and don’t spit out your tea.

Our Dogs’ Sense of Smell is Wild.

Those noses are famously smart. Did you know it’s believed that dogs can smell up to 10,000 times better than humans? And their scent range is further, too – so your dog might be sniffing out a female at 40 feet. Some dogs have been able to track a familiar scent for 12 miles!,not%20the%20only%20great%20smellers.

So just imagine all the information that’s available to them. Just like Sherlock Holmes, your dog can guess what their best pal’s eaten for dinner, and even track their movements – on walks you’ll see them checking pee-mail to find out which dogs have been past.

Humans’ urine and sweat contains lots of useful information, too. Dogs have been reported to sniff out diseases including cancer,urine%20samples%20from%20200%20people., sometimes with dramatic results. We also know from anecdotes that dogs can sniff out the hormone changes when a woman is pregnant. Why does it matter? Many dogs will become extra-protective of their vulnerable pack members during times of illness or pregnancy. 

This extraordinary sense of smell has become your dog’s primary method of learning about the people and dogs in their world. So keep that in mind when they’re sniffing like they’ve found treasure in the lost ark. 

Dogs Are Fluent in Sweat & Urine

When they meet a new person or dog, your dog goes straight for the crotch. It can be incredibly embarrassing. But it’s their way of ‘discovering’ this new friend. 

They don’t really care for introductions by name. What they want to know is: Are you male or female? Are you healthy? Are you in season?

But… why, oh why, is it always butt or crotch? 

Around the human crotch lurks a delightful cocktail of sweat and pheromones (from the apocrine glands) as well as (probably) particles of urine and feces. That’s all the ingredients for a real getting-to-know-you feast. (we did warn you things might get gross!)

Which Dogs are More Likely to Sniff Crotches?

If you’re currently looking for a dog, perhaps you want one that’s less likely to embarrass you in public. We can’t guarantee that you won’t end up with the puppy who likes to gather used tissues or munch on horse droppings, but crotch-sniffing certainly seems more prevalent in certain dogs:

  • Male dogs. Especially pre-castration, male puppies can be super-keen crotch sniffers. It’s because they are primed to investigate the world… and, when they reach a certain age, make more puppies.
  • Scent hounds. It’s natural for these dogs, which we’ve bred for their amazing noses. Yes, Bloodhounds, Foxhounds, and Beagles fall under this category, but professional sniffer dogs also include German Shepherds, Springer Spaniels and Labradors. 

Stop Your Dog From Sniffing Crotches

It’ll prove almost impossible to curb your dog’s natural instincts – and isn’t that why we love them?

But if you want to stop your dog from lunging at a guest’s crotch, you’ll need to do some training. 

  1. When you come home, bend down or put out a hand to greet your dog. Give them a focus that isn’t your crotch – and ask visitors to do the same. 
  2. If your dog is a VERY vigorous greeter, a better solution is to train them to sit and wait or lie down when guests arrive. This may involve your dog’s favorite treats – don’t scold; make it fun. 
  3. If sniffing becomes a serious problem or is bothering friends and family, consider attending some scent-work classes or hiring a dog trainer to help you develop your dog’s skills in a more useful way. 
  4. Don’t forget… they’re not humans. So celebrate your dog’s weirdness – and remember all the wonderful things that they also do.