Which Pets Don't Smell?

Leonard is a former teacher and principal who has also been a writer for the past two decades. Writing and animals are his true loves.

Most people love having a pet. They provide love, companionship, and a source of security in a very unpredictable world. However, there are certain negative aspects to owning a pet as well. They can be costly, time-consuming, and difficult to keep clean and tidy. Indeed, perhaps one of the greatest drawbacks to owning a pet is the unpleasant odor which they frequently emit. This point alone can quickly discourage many people from even considering pet ownership in the first place. With this fact in mind, the list below outlines which pets don't smell (or smell the least), to help you consider whether pet ownership is the right choice for you... or if it simply stinks!

The truth of the matter is that every living thing on earth produces some sort of smell. When we are trying to determine which pets don't smell, we are actually considering which pets smell the least. The proceeding information assumes that the pets are properly cared for and their habitat is cleaned on a regular basis.


There can be little doubt that chinchillas have become very popular pets. They are furry, cute and soft rodents who are gentle and non-aggressive with people. While they can tend to be on the large side, they do adapt quite well if provided with proper care and a suitable habitat. Most significantly, they are usually clean and odorless, only leaving a smell if their area is not cleaned properly or if they have developed health problems. For those individuals who are looking for a "low odor pet," the chinchilla is a great choice.


Dogs are frequently thought of as "mans' best friend." However, they are also often associated with mess and bad smells. This is what will often discourage people from the consideration of obtaining a dog as a pet in the first place. While poor diet, hygiene or typical doggy behavior such as rolling around in excrement will naturally lead to a smelly dog, there are certain breeds which smell far less than others. For instance, poodles, maltese and the bichon Frise are all virtually odorless dogs. However, perhaps the most notable slight smelling dog is the basenji. It has a very smooth and short coat which does not trap in the usual canine odor. Couple this with the fact that the basenji is also a dog that will yodel rather than bark, and you can begin to see how this breed is truly unique and often selected as a pet.

Fancy Rats

Does any other creature have a worse reputation than rats? Visions of vicious, dirty rodents who were responsible for the torment of the black plague come to mind. However, as I wrote previously in my article, "which pets are the most affectionate," fancy rats are highly sociable animals who exhibit an abundance of loyalty and affection. Also, if cared for properly, they do not smell. I can verify this as I myself own two fancy rats. As long as they are cleaned up after on a regular basis there is simply no smell. The only thing which will smell is their body waste. I have yet to find any creature which does not have body waste which smells! While it is true that mice have a strong odor, and people generally associate rats and mice together, fancy rats are very clean and do not have a natural body odor. Once again, if cared for properly, a fancy rat will make for a great pet that does not smell.


While this article is primarily about pets that don't smell...the budgie is a pet which smells very little, but the odor is one that most people find quite pleasant and appealing. Budgies are very clean and fastidious pets who love to bathe and preen themselves daily. In fact, budgie owners will frequently claim that the only smell their pet gives off is a sweet aroma which is pleasing to the nostrils. Others will state that as long as they are taken care of properly, they simply produce little to no odor at all. Even their budgie poop does not smell! Considering all of the above, the budgie easily makes our list of pets that don't smell.


The gecko is another animal which can be a great pet. They are easy to tame and they do not smell. In fact, the gecko relies on this lack of scent to catch prey when they are in the wild. If their habitat area is maintained consistently, there will be no noticeable odor coming from the gecko. If there is, it is a sign of poor health and the pet should be taken to the vet for a checkup. There are many types of geckos such as the crescent gecko and the leopard gecko. They may look different but the one thing that all the various types have in common is the fact that they simply do not smell.

Gecko facts

House Rabbits

House rabbits are typically envisioned as high maintenance, smelly pets. While it is true that they are high maintenance, the latter claim that they are smelly is false. In truth,it is simply their urine which stinks. House rabbits are meticulous with their grooming and are constantly cleaning themselves. Also, they are another animal which has odorless fur. These facts combined help the house rabbit meet the criteria of being a pet that does not smell. However, it should be noted that since their urine does have a powerful smell, a rigorous cleaning of their habitat is needed to keep them as a pet which is easy on the nose!


Undoubtedly, every living thing has some type of odor. The preceding list is comprised of creatures that not only rank low on the smell factor, but also make for wonderful pets. People will certainly ask why such animals as cats, fish, and snakes did not make the list? Essentially, those animals not on the list did not pass the scent test. For instance, snakes usually do not smell, but they will let off a powerful odor when threatened. If you have any other pets you believe would meet the criteria of being great pets which are easy on the nose, please include them in the comments below.


1. Do Chinchillas Have a Smell? Pets on 2017

2. Rabbits for Dummies. Connie Isbell, Audrey Pavia. 2009

3. The Guide to Owning a Leopard Gecko. Leopard Geckos:Identification, Care and Breeding.Ray Hunziker 1994

4. Do Budgies Smell Bad? Budgies are awesome. 2011

5. Seven Dog Breeds That Won't Stink up your House. Dr. Mark. 2017

6. The Proper Care of Fancy Rats. Nick Mays. 1993

7. Eliminate Foul Rabbit and Rodent Odors. Doctors Foster and Smith. 2017

Jax on April 03, 2019:

I've had nearly every animal on this list and I have a very sensitive nose, and I really have to disagree on the rats. Rats urinate a lot to mark their home and belongings. The harder you clean, the harder some rats will work to scent mark. I had a ferret at one point and can confidently say it produced less smell than the rats and mice I've kept. Also, rabbits themselves may not stink but their litterboxes are very potent. They poop very frequently and the literbox is usually something that needs to be cleaned several times a day to manage odor well. But I can vouche for the lizard. Geckos and small lizards really don't have a smell at all. The only thing you will likely smell is their bedding, food, etc.

Kendra on January 26, 2019:

I thinky you should add hedgehogs to the list. But add to most of the suggestions that they only dont smell if their cages are clean.

David on December 20, 2018:

My Sister has a pet house rabbit. The rabbit itself does not smell but if its cage is not cleaned out every second day it gets really smelly.

Greta Grace on September 21, 2018:

I agree with madi! You should definitely add fish to the list. They don’t stink at all unless you aren’t doing anything to take care of them

Sharon K. Connell on September 05, 2018:

Interesting article, Leonard. Thanks for the info. I love our dog, Susie.

Madi on July 24, 2018:

You should also add fish to the list! ;)

Top 10 Dog Breeds That Don't Smell


The only dog breed that’s native to Cuba, this adorable little fella has a long flowing coat that is pleasing to both the touch and the nose (it doesn’t produce a smell). The Havanese has been nicknamed the “Velcro dog” because of its loving and devoted nature.

But don’t think a cuddly pup is all you’re getting in this companion pooch, the Havanese is highly trainable, very energetic, and also makes a great watchdog. They have even been known to excel in dog sports, assisting the disabled, and as performers in the circus.

The Havanese does well in all types of settings from a country home to city highrise. However, either way, he loves to view his little corner of the world from up high, so be sure to place a comfy chair by the window, so he can appreciate his surroundings.

  • Weight: 7 to 13 pounds
  • Height: Up to 11.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 14 to 16 years

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkie has been voted the “most popular toy breed” in the US and for good reason. Not only does this cute-as-a-bug-in-a-rug pooch have no natural odor, but it is also devoted to its pet parents. Its long silky coat is more hair-like, so it’s great for those that have mild allergies to dogs.

As far as personality goes, the Yorkshire doesn’t take a backseat to any pooch and has been called a “big dog in a small package.”

Aside from their brave nature, the Yorkie loves to be loved and needs to be a part of the family unit, so if you’re away from home for long hours, the Yorkie will notice.

Experts of the breed recommend housing your Yorkie with older children (due to this pups small size), and if raised with other pets, the Yorkie is very accepting of its furry companions.

  • Weight: 4 to 6 pounds
  • Height: Up to 9 inches
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

Shih Tzu

With big round eyes, a pushed-in muzzle and a devoted nature, the Shih Tzu are bred to be a companion. Whether you keep this dog’s coat full to the floor, or in a jaunty puppy-cut, the silky texture and low to no-smell is perfect for snuggling.

The personality of the Shih Tzu will melt the hearts of all he meets and he’s happiest when he’s giving and receiving love from his favorite human. Even though he will alert you to someone at the door, the Shih Tzu is not overly yappy.

Even though the Shih Tzu is a loyal and trustworthy pet, it is not recommended for toddlers. However, if you are interested in obedience and agility, this breed has competed in these categories with some success - just be careful not to over-exercise your pooch in very warm weather.

  • Weight: 9 to 16 years
  • Height: Up to 10 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 to 16 years


The Maltese have a beautiful snow-white coat that can be kept long and flowing or in a shorter cut. This breed is fearless, yet gentle, making friends with all who greet him with respect and loving care. His favorite pastime is doing anything with his pet parent and other family members.

If you think the Maltese are nothing but a love-puddle, guess again. This breed also does well as a therapy dog and in doggy sports such as agility, obedience, rally, and tracking.

No backyard? No problem as the Maltese is highly adaptable and can live in apartments, as long as they get daily exercise. The one thing breeders don’t recommend with the Maltese? Small children or toddlers, as this purebred pooch is small-sized and somewhat delicate.

  • Weight: Up to 7 pounds
  • Height: 8 to 10 inches
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

Bichon Frise

With a pure-white fluffy coat, black nose, and dark, round eyes, the Bichon Frise resembles a child’s toy more than a devoted dog. However, when you’re out-and-about with your Bichon, folks probably won’t mistake your pup for a toy, but they might think it’s a Poodle.

Bichon’s make loving companions that like nothing better than snuggling with its pet parent. And even though they may appear to be delicate, this breed is actually quite hardy - it’s been placed in the classification of Non-Sporting Group with the AKC.

This breed loves to play and is always ready for a game of fetch or a long walk. Bichons are also very intelligent, so teach them a trick or two to help stimulate their minds. They can also be used for therapy work, because of their docile and kind nature.

  1. Weight: 7 to 12 pounds
  2. Height: 9 to 11 inches
  3. Lifespan: 12 to 15 years


Longer than taller, the Dachshund (or wiener dog) always makes people smile when he comes trotting along with his super-short legs and adorable face. With three varieties of coat choices (smooth, wire and long), this no-smell pooch has something for everyone.

Even though the Dachshund is “vertically-challenged,” it is by no means a wimpy dog. It was bred in Germany to hunt badgers. In fact, its name literally means badger (Dachs), dog (hund).

The Dachshund continually tops the list of “most popular” dog breeds in the US, probably because of his playful nature and stunning good looks. If you were to dive deeper into its personality, you would also discover it just wants to spend all day long with its pet parent. However, be prepared for a pooch that also has a mind of its own and to be a bit on the stubborn side.

  • Weight: 16 to 32 pounds
  • Height: 8 to 9 inches
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years


Not being smelly is only one of the awesome qualities of this African-bred pooch - they also don’t bark! But that’s only two things you may love about the Basenji. This purebred has a short, muscular body, short coat, pointy ears, and a tightly curled tail that falls over one hip. If that’s not cute enough, its wrinkled brow gives the Basenji a concerned or quizzical expression.

This breed is highly intelligent, but also tends to be on the stubborn side, so pet parents will want to be on their toes when training this dog (willing to please is not in this breed’s vocabulary).

You will also want to keep your Basenji supervised when out in the yard, as they can (and will) quickly figure out how to escape its enclosure or get over the fence.

  • Weight: 22 to 24 pounds
  • Height: 16 to 17 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 to 12 years


A sleek fast and compact pooch, the Whippet has been named the "poor man's Greyhound." Research speculates this breed was most likely created in the 18th century to poach rabbits and other small game.

Today, the Whippet enjoys life as a family pet and a fierce competitor in flyball, agility, and lure-coursing arenas. Although this breed does show a stubborn streak, they can still perform well in obedience trials.

The Whippet sports a short, dense coat that is available in a wide range of colors and markings. And, of course, their low-to-no odor makes them a joy to be around.

Personality-wise, you can't go wrong with a Whippet. This breed is friendly, quiet, gentle, and loving, which makes it a great companion for children. However, due to the Whippet's strong prey drive, a household without cats or other small fuzzy animals is recommended.

  • Weight: 18 to 48 pounds
  • Height: Up to 22 inches
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

West Highland White Terrier

A cute and confident pooch all rolled into a compact body, the West Highland White Terrier (or Westie to his friends), is a no-smell, adorable dog. It's affectionately nicknamed "the big dog in a little dog's body" because he fearlessly goes through life with a bounce in his step and curiosity in his eyes.

Westies were originally developed for hunting and ratting, so know they still retain that strong prey drive. They are also work-driven so to avoid having a bored Westie on your hands, get your pup involved in agility and obedience trials. They also make excellent therapy dogs, and some have even found their way into search-and-rescue.

This breed makes a great companion for both young and seasoned adults, as it is social, devoted, loving, and affectionate with all it meets.

  • Weight: 13 to 22 pounds
  • Height: Up to 11 inches
  • Lifespan: 12 to 16 years


This breed is so wonderful it comes in three sizes to suit all lifestyles (toy, miniature, and standard). At first glance, folks may think this fluffy dog with its top-knot and "foo-foo" hairdo is all show. However, the Poodle is nobodies showpiece. This dog was bred to hunt waterfowl and still retains its ability to do so today.

Although you're less likely to see this pooch in the forest hunting game, you will see them out strolling in the park, or enjoying a relaxing nap on the front porch of its favorite pet parent.

Poodles are an ancient breed but are still popular today because of their intelligence, easy-to-maintain coat, and their playful and obedient nature.

  • Weight: 5 to 70 pounds
  • Height: 10 to 15 inches
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

Easiest Small Animals to Care for and Why They Might be Right for You


While hamsters are fun and active pets, they are nocturnal, which means that they can be a disappointing pet for small children. However, if you work long days and are home alone only at night, a hamster might be ideal for you, as a hamster is great company in the evening hours.

Hamsters are relatively low maintenance and can entertain themselves with a hamster wheel, tubes and toys. They need a wire cage with a solid bottom to live in that is nicely padded with shavings.

Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs and hamsters are often lumped into the same category, but the truth is that they are very different animals. Guinea pigs are much more active than hamsters, and have a much more expressive personality. Once you get to know your piglet, you’ll be able to tell when he’s happy, sad, mad or excited. Unlike hamsters, which can spend a great deal of time in their own little space and be happy, guinea pigs prefer a large open space where they can run around, graze freely and be safe from predators. Guinea pigs also need to be with others of their species, as loneliness tends to set in with these animals, which contributes to depression.


Many people think that rabbits make great pets for small children, but in actuality, rabbits are difficult to care for and temperamental. That is not to say that they don’t make great pets—they do!—they are just not the “easy animal” everyone assumes them to be. Rabbits are extremely complex creatures, and they need a very specific environment to be happy. For starters, rabbits cannot be placed in an enclosed hutch and left alone. They need an enclosed space for sleeping and resting, but that space needs to be attached to an outdoor area where they can run around and play safely. Rabbits are also naturally skittish creatures, so they need plenty of coverage to hide from predators, such as cats and foxes.

Finally, rabbits need a companion of their own kind in order to thrive both physically and emotionally.


Chinchillas are cute, cuddly little creatures that tend to make people think of a little puppy, kitten and hamster all at once. These animals are extremely intelligent creatures with a happy disposition. Once you get to know them and them you, you will find that you can even teach them basic tricks for the right treats.

Like hamsters, chinchillas are nocturnal animals and so might not be the best animal for small children who go to bed early. If you are buying a chinchilla for your children, consider their average lifespan of 15 years. That is a long time to own a small pet, so really consider if your child will continue to love and nurture this pet when they’re 12, 16 or 18 years old.

Chinchillas don’t require much maintenance, but they do need a fairly large cage with a dust bath in it. Chinchillas are very enthusiastic about their dust baths, so if you’re going to adopt one of these creatures, you need to be prepared to sweep up and clean up dust on a frequent basis.

Chinchillas, like guinea pigs and rabbits, need a companion to live with.

Mice and Rats

Mice are interesting animals to watch, as they’re very active and playful and able to climb robes, run around in tunnels and put on a show for children. However, they are very squeamish and not easy to hold. If you want to buy a small animal for your child to hold and cuddle, you may want to consider buying them a rat.

Rats are hugely fond of social interaction, and they are highly intelligent, making them great pets for children and adults alike. Without attention, rats can become very depressed, thereby shortening their lifespan.

Rats and mice both need ample space, though rats need more than mice. While a large aquarium might work for a mouse, rats need a cage with multiple levels, similar to a hutch you might buy for a gerbil or hamster.


Parrots are wonderful, human like pets, as they’re playful, lively and intelligent. However, like humans, parrots have the potential to live for up to 80 years. For this reason, it is not recommended that a parent buy their small child a parrot. If you’re going to invest in a parrot, you should be old enough and at a stage in your life to make that type of long-term commitment, especially considering that parrots become very attached to their humans over time.

Parrots cannot be placed in a small birdcage—they need an area the size of a small room (at the very least) to fly around in. Their cage should be cleaned every other day and lined with a thin layer of gravel.

Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs don’t get enough credit as pets, which is a shame, as they are highly active, interesting and social little creatures. While hermit crabs can be great fun for kids—after all, they get to pick out cool new shells as their little friend outgrows hers—they require more commitment than most children are ready for. Hermit crabs can live for up to 30 years when taken care of properly. Proper care includes providing them with an environment with a continuous temperature of 75 degrees. They love humidity, so daily misting is encouraged. They also need sand to dig in, rocks to climb and places to hide out in.


Ferrets are a lot like cats: independent, curious and mischievous. However, they make great pets, as they’re highly energetic and intelligent. Children especially love ferrets, and if trained properly, they can be the loyal and low-maintenance companion you desire. Keep in mind though that because of their curiosity, your home should be ferret-proofed, with all things that could potentially harm or trap your pet put up and out of reach.


Though reptiles such as snakes, lizards and frogs are relatively low maintenance, setting up the proper environment for them can be a difficult and expensive task. Reptiles need a just right environment to thrive, which should be moderated with a heat lamp. They also need plenty of foliage (preferably foliage similar to their native habitat), hiding spots and ground covering.

Reptiles eat live prey, which can make some people squeamish. If you’re not into feeding live mice or bugs to a creature, a reptile may not be the best pet for you.

Assuming that you’re buying a gold fish or some other non-tropical fish, a fish may be the ideal low-maintenance small pet you’re looking for. While you would still need to invest in a nice tank, filters, rocks or pebbles and foliage, beyond that, caring for a fish requires very little investment of your time. You just need to feed them daily, make sure that the pH balance of their water is good and clean their tank weekly.

However, if you invest in tropical or exotic fish, your time and money investment could skyrocket, as many fish require a precise environment to thrive.

Sea Monkeys

If each of the above animals requires more work than you’re willing to invest, you may do well to buy a pack of sea monkeys. Sea monkeys are ideal for small children who just want to look at things moving but not actual care for a live creature. They require hardly any maintenance, and only need to be fed growth food every five to seven days. If the water starts to get too cloudy though, you can negate the food for awhile longer. Sea monkeys live up to two years, the ideal lifespan for small children that want a pet but that don’t firmly grasp what owning a pet entails.

I want a small pet that doesn't smell bad.



dwarf hamster. i got one over a year and a half ago with my girlfriend, and the little guy travels well, is fun to play with, doesn't smell, can run in his ball, is cheap to maintain, and takes up very little space on a corner coffee table.

highly recommended as a small, caged, non-smelly pet



They probably start to smell but,

Pygmy Goats are a whole ton of awesome. Just build a larger cage.


Not as deep as he thinks


Water is not wet!

They probably start to smell but,

Pygmy Goats are a whole ton of awesome. Just build a larger cage.


Who paid you to grab Dr. Pavel?

Insane Metal


I just tell ya. avoid HAMSTERS.

They fucking stink. Their urine is the problem.



Greatest fucking pets ever.



Poor wing cliped cockatiels in small cages.

If you chose a bird. i'd get the real tiny birds and a big cage so they can fly around a lot.







I can't vouch for them myself, but my girlfriend recommends gerbils. Apparently they're desert animals, so they don't pee a lot, which cuts down on the smell compared to, say, mice. They're cute, they're friendly, they go in a small cage, and they're relatively low-maintenance.



I think all animals end up smelling, don't they.

Maybe a rabbit or hamster would be good.

Personally, I'd get a welsh corgi because the damn thing looks damn cute (regardless of the smell). I want one.


Do chinchillas actually make good pets?

I mean. can you let them out of a cage, or do they need to be caged at all times, like a rabbit?







They probably start to smell but,

Pygmy Goats are a whole ton of awesome. Just build a larger cage.

pygmy goat wins! Holy crap those little dudes are awesome.







some turles can live like 30-50 years.

you know how badass that'd be? if you had this awesome tropical dome with the turtle still in it for 30 years


Canadians burned my passport



You could shove your nose into my rabbit's fur and you would not smell a thing.

And you can feed rabbits normal shit like carrots and lettuce instead of mice and crickets :/

Exists in a perpetual state of Quantum Crotch Uncertainty.

Small children nothing, the one time I encountered a pygmy goat it spent the better part of ten minutes ramming my shins from all angles.

It was the cutest act of prolonged, unbridled aggression I'd ever seen.



I have had several lizards, snakes, and various rodents and they all smell at one point or another. Reptiles are typically clean but the shit of the larger ones smells BAD. Other than that they don't smell and they make great pets.

I've had mice, rats, gerbils and hamsters and of all of those the best pet is easily the rat. They are incredibly intelligent and they don't smell as much (especially in a wire cage).

Other than that. I see tarantula popped up and that's a great one. They don't smell (except for the mild odor crickets will produce from time to time). The cleanest, easiest pet I ever had, though, was a giant millipede. That was an awesome pet.

You could also do a small lizard, like an anole they don't smell either. Amphibians are also a good choice but they are kinda boring (newts and the larger tree frogs are best. I had a cuban tree frog once and it was pretty cool) and the water will stink if you don't clean it regularly.

I saw a picture of a sugar glider somewhere in the thread the reports of their terrible smell is what has caused me to avoid them in the past.

Watch the video: 8 Low Maintenance Pets That Provide Love (July 2021).