Viewer Mail: I Want to Smell Like My Dog’s Paws

Hey Puckrik,

I'm a dog person and my number one comfort scent is the smell of
dog's paws. Go ahead and stick your nose between Rodrigo's toes.
Did you smell Fritos? I know it is most likely just the smell of their sweat, but I associate the smell with "happy dog" and it immediately makes me relaxed and content. Now, I don't want to go rubbing corn chips over my body, but is there anything out there that would push similar olfactory buttons?


Mike, I’m trying to focus on pushing olfactory buttons and not the gag reflex, because if you saw where Rodrigo was walking today, you would not be sticking your nose anywhere near his toes. But for the sake of argument, I’ll go with a dog’s paws smelling like Fritos, and not like a decaying chicken carcass fished out of the garbage.

I’ve been asked some “challenging” perfume questions before, but this one’s gotta be the challenging...est. Quite shockingly, I do believe I have some answers for you, none of which involve corn chips. So put away your bean dip, and sniff out the following “pawfect” smells.

To my mind, dog paw-like odor components include salt, popcorn, hay, musk, and leather, all of which are quite reasonable perfume ingredients.

L’Artisan Parfumer Bois Farine is kind of a long shot, but is worth a try for its unusual yeasty/bready focus, which is what sun-salted skin (or paws) conjures for me. King of the Sheer Fumes Jean-Claude Ellena cooked this one up, and fans describe it as a comfort scent with an almond aspect. The less enchanted complain about its unappealing peanut butteriness.

I’m more confident about recommending By Kilian Pure Oud, my preferred oud perfume out of the latest batch released in the last year or so. It skips over the medicinal Band-Aid quality of many oud fragrances and snuggles right into a salty, leathery, musky umminess. Pure Oud is undeniably animalic, but not in a foul “night-soil” kind of way. We’re talking puppy tummy, here.

My favorite “happy dog” fragrance for you is L’Artisan Parfumer Dzing!. It’s a little bit barnyard, a little bit popcorn. It’s warm and leathery and salty-sweet. And if you don’t say it smells like a dog’s paw, I’ll...I’ll...I’ll sniff Rodrigo’s toes!

Fumeheads, any pawfume suggestions?


  1. Dzing! is the one that sprang to my mind.

    Off topic, though dog-related, my friend breeds pedigree cocker spaniels and asked me to come up with Kennel names for her last litter of puppies. I put forward dozens of wacky, flamboyant suggestions, all based around perfume ingredients / houses / perfumers, and I am sorry to report that they were ALL rejected by the Kennel Club, with the single exception of "Lily Petitgrain", now one year old and answering to the "everyday" name of Flossie.

  2. I was also thinking Dzing! Mechant Loup was actually the first thing that sprang to mind when I was saw "dog smell." I don't think it smells particularly doggish, but I know other people who do.

  3. I love Dzing too...and can't tell you how many times over my dog loving years I have said to one dog pet or smell like fritos. That is so funny to hear someone else bring it up. They get up for a nice snuggle on the sofa and a waft of fritos comes. I do love my furry kids. I have actually had my OUD fragrance from LeLabo named after my sweet departed dog GUS. Also my bottle for Rose from LeLabo proudly bears the name of my famous Miss Mirabelle the wonderdog. On a day I am thinking of Gus I will spray that on in honor of him. I love people that connect with their pets scents and all.

  4. onesmalldog - well, I suppose if perfume conjures happy memories and associations with loved ones, our furry chums are included in that circle. Your Le Labo dog commemoration makes me smile.

    Angi - I did have that Merchant Loup thought, but agree that the dog reference comes more from the name than the actual scent.

    flittersniffer - how about perfumes named after dog names - oh wait, there is one: Sean John "I Am King".

  5. Cumming - that strange earthy Brosius designed number for the actor, is the closest to dogs' paws in perfume. Seriously. I think I said so once at the Posse.

    H2H :-)

  6. That's so interesting, leopoldo! I've never smelled Cumming, and the "doggie-in-a-bottle" claim REALLY makes me want to!

  7. My dear departed lab, Hazel, actually had paws that smelled more of Doritos than Fritos. There was a definite cheese note ( and a little spicy. because she was a muy caliente chocolate lab). My advice to Mike, indulge in the guilty pleasure of a bag of Fritos (or Doritos) and think lovingly of your dog as you munch.

  8. So you're down with "puppy tummy," but paws are one step too far? You draw your lines in interesting places, Puckrik.

    I'll look into Dzing! and this Cumming thing sounds interesting, though I should clarify that not all dog smells are good smells. Particularly those exiting either end. And while the dog might be quite cheerful after rolling in something dead, that does not fall into my "happy dog" scent category. It's pretty much just the paw sweat thing. In fact, I don't think I actually want to smell like Fritos, maybe a sibling scent that evokes the same warm feelings.

    I'm not sure about the oud things. I suppose it might help if I had a clue what oud was. The comparison, negative though it may be, to "night-soil" does not do much in the way of warm fuzzies for me.


  9. I think that the modern Bandit has a nice clean sweaty animal vibe, too, though it's more Big Cat than Dog Paws.

  10. Mike, I draw so many squirrelly lines, it's practically abstract art. And yes, I should clarify what oud is: a resin produced produced by the Agarwood tree as an immune defense to fungus. Oud wood has a complex odor that ranges from leathery to cheesy to oily to musky. Basically it goes from hideously funky to groovily animalic. There's an oud for everyone! It's a staple in Arab perfume, and in the last couple of years has started to pop up in western offerings, albeit watered down. You can read more about it in my post on Montale White Aoud.

  11. Oh, good call, ChickenFreak!

    Scott, I like hearing that dogs come in different snack flavors.

  12. Synchronicity! Kevin at Now Smell This has just done a piece on Odari Tobacco telling of his shock and pleasure at discovering that it smells like his beloved and dear-departed dogs...

  13. Thanks for the link, Sarah. I'm quite fond of that Odari Tobacco.

  14. My initial reaction to this inquiry was Fritos?! but now I am considering that perhaps Fritos smell like dog rather than the other way around.
    Both Fritos and Doritos have an unusually potent smell as compared to most other corn chips that I've always attributed to the oil. Doritos are so bad that I gave up eating them--forever-- over a decade ago (in high school I should add) because I was always repulsed by the lingering taste and smell in my own mouth as well as the disgustingly distinct odor on other people's breath.
    Somehow I'd much rather smell like a dog than a Frito or certainly a Dorito.

  15. Zusie, some perfectly delicious junk foods suffer from the association with the breath they leave behind: Fritos, Cap'n Crunch, rice cakes.