Why do dogs have whiskers? Here’s why it matters!

Last Updated on March 9, 2023 by Woody Pet

Have you ever looked at your dog’s face and wondered why she has whiskers? Some puppies are born with it and you don’t have to wait for your pup to turn into an adult dog to see those hairs. Why do dogs have whiskers? Aren’t they only a cat thing?

These thick and coarse strands of hair you usually see on different areas of your dog’s face serve a purpose. They are not there just to enhance your pet’s face. If you’re wondering why dogs have whiskers on their eyebrows and other areas of the face such as the chin and the nose, below are all the answers to your questions.

Here, we compiled all the explanations of why dogs have whiskers and the things you can do to protect those strands of hair. Can you trim them or cut them? Read on to find out what will happen if you mistakenly cut your buddy’s whiskers.

Why do dogs have whiskers?

5 Important Functions of Whiskers on Dogs 

Why do dogs have whiskers

Whiskers are your pet’s sensory tool

The main purpose of whiskers is to give extra sensory input to your pet so she can easily find her way through her environment. It’s much like the antennae found on insects, which they use to locate others as well as to touch and smell the world.

In dogs, whiskers are not simply strands of hair. They are considered touch sensors. As touch sensors, the whiskers are connected to the brain and help them function better. Every strand of these hairs is linked to the nerves and the nervous system.

These long projecting facial hairs can aid vision

Why do dogs have whiskers on their eyebrows? We know dogs have an amazing sense of smell. But many of us are not aware that dogs do not have great vision. Dogs are not good at focusing on objects up close.

With the help of their whiskers, they can navigate through darkness or move around at night without accidentally bumping into a wall. If your dog is looking for things in a dark room, he can trust his whiskers to do the job easily.

Through their whiskers, they can learn about the world better. For instance, your dog will not see things under her nose but she will be able to know what’s there because of her whiskers. It works like a charm in sending information to your dog’s brain.

It can signal emotions

Are you having a hard time reading your dog’s emotions? Look at her whiskers and you’ll be capable of telling when she’s happy or if she’s frightened. When your dog flairs them on her muzzle, it could be because she feels there’s a threat around.

If you’re curious why dogs have whiskers on their eyebrows, it’s actually because it can serve as the eyes’ protection from debris. It triggers your pets to blink to protect the eyes from external factors. As with humans and other animals like cats, dogs rely on sensory tools to safeguard themselves and get more information about the world.

It also helps your pooch express her emotions better. When it’s raised, it means your buddy is likely feeling positive emotions such as happiness. You might want to observe this the next time you interact with your pet. See how those whiskers move when you play with your pet or when you give her some treats.

Your dog’s whiskers can protect her

Did you know that the wolves, which are the dogs’ ancestors, make use of their whiskers to know if there’s prey around? Do all dogs have whiskers that signal prey? Domestic dogs may not need these hairs to identify threats, but it can protect them in other ways. 

For example, if your dog is in a dark room, she can use her whiskers to navigate freely. Her sensory system is in charge of detecting objects, such as her food bowl, even in dark environments. These hairs provide further information about their environment.

There’s a belief that if you want to make sure your dog will not lose her balance, never get rid of those hairs. It’s not just an old wives’ tale. It’s important to keep this in mind, especially when grooming your dog. Plucking them can also be extremely painful for your dog since these hairs are deeply embedded in the face.

Whiskers can help dogs communicate

Your dog’s facial hair does not only help her convey emotions. It can also be used to help her connect with others. Dogs in the wild used their whiskers along with their other senses to search for other pack members. Although domestic dogs don’t need to use whiskers for pack hunting, they can use them to express emotions toward their humans.

Do all dogs have whiskers? Yes, some dogs just happen to have very short whiskers that you can hardly tell they are there. Expect short-haired dogs to have short whiskers.

In some dogs, the whiskers can be long and curly. Breeds with long hair may already have it at birth.

Pomskies, Irish Wolfhounds, and Border Collies are just a few examples of dog breeds with whiskers that are long. Pumi dogs and Curly-coated Retrievers are dog breeds with whiskers that can be curly. 

Why do dogs have whiskers conclusion?

Dogs navigate the world easily with the help of sensory tools found in their body, like their whiskers. Because it helps them with their daily activities, it’s important to take care of those tactile hairs. You can trim them for hygienic purposes especially if it’s becoming dirty due to traces of food.

It’s important to know why dogs have whiskers because it helps us understand them better. It helps them express emotions and feel the world around them. By knowing the actual role of these hairs on your dog’s body, you will have an idea of how to protect it for your pet’s sake.

Never cut them and if you already did by chance, just wait for them to grow back. It may take three to four months before the hair grows back. It’s fine to trim them but experts are not convinced about plucking them. Since they are sensory tools, your dog’s function may be affected without them. 


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