close up of dog ears

12 Fun Facts About Our Dog’s Ears: Understanding Our Dog’s Hearing

Just like their nose, a dog’s ears are full of wonderful surprises.

Not only are they many times more powerful than our own, but they’re also chock full of muscles and can detect the slightest of movements!

Furry, cute, pointy, floppy – they come in all shapes and sizes. But these lugs are a lot more than adorable.

So, let’s explore 12 amazing abilities these ears possess and understand why no matter where they are, they always seem to hear the fridge door open…

12 Fun Facts About Our Dog’s Ears

dog enjoying getting its ears rubbed

1/ Their Ears Tell Us How They’re Feeling!

Previously, we discussed how dogs communicate with us through body language.

Well, trust me when I say we can learn a lot by their ears.

When their ears are stood up to attention, your dog is alert or engaged.

Slightly pulled back means your cute pal is feeling happy and friendly, (or maybe charming you for a W-A-L-K…!)

Watch out for when those ears are pinned tightly back though, this could indicate your dog is feeling tense and frightened – and that means they could react in kind.

2/ They’re Full of Muscles

a German Shepard dog with 18 muscles in its ears
Photo by Marzena Ko on Unsplash

Did you know that dogs have an impressive 18 muscles residing in those cute lugs of theirs?

Their purpose is to let your dog tilt, raise, and rotate them in various ways.

This allows them to hear sounds from different directions and as we touched on in the last point, gives us clues to their emotive state!

3/ Their Two Ears Can Move in Different Directions

Those 18 muscles also give our canines another cool ability.

This allows their ears to move independently of one another.

You’ll often notice that your dog keeps one ear “open” when they’re in their resting place. This is because they’re staying on alert in case anything piques their interest… (like a jangling lead or a pair of shoes being slipped into!)

4/ They Can Hear Four Times Better Than Humans

Bassett Hound Big Dog Ears
Photo by kyle smith on Unsplash

Human beings can’t hear sounds above 20,000 hertz.

Meanwhile, our furry friends can hear sounds up to a whopping 65,000 Hz.

This gives them the capacity to hear extremely high-pitched noises we cannot.

Sounds that seem noisy to us often terrify our dogs as they hear them much clearer than us.

Fun Fact: (The Beatles famous track, “A Day In The Life” has an ultra-frequency pitch that plays at the end of the song designed for dogs only to hear.)

These ears don’t stop working. Late at night, your dog can hear a lot going on making them brilliant as added protection against intruders.

5/ Their Ears Evolved To Hear This Way

We can attribute a dog’s phenomenal hearing to its predatory ancestry.

Wild dogs and wolves prayed on rats and other rodents thus they needed to be able to hear super quiet sounds e.g., squeaks.

Humans on the other hand evolved to only communicate with other humans so our ears are tuned to that frequency.

6/ They Love Having Their Ears Rubbed

BusterBox Infographic About How To Rub A Dog's Ears

When we stoke our pup’s ears we help to chill them out.

This is because were rubbing a calming nerve in their sympathetic nervous system that reassures them.

Did you know studies have shown that rubbing your dog’s ears also helps to lower a human’s blood pressure meaning that it’s a relaxing experience for both parties!

Check out the infographic above to see the best way to pet your dog’s ears.

7/ Crazy Things Dogs Can Hear

a digital alarm clock that dogs can hear
Photo by Lucas Santos on Unsplash

Here are just some of the impressive feats a dog’s hearing is capable of:

  • They can hear our heartbeat from 15 feet away.
  • Some dogs are trained to predict earthquakes.
  • They can hear vibrations of termites in a wall.
  • They can detect the sound of a crystal oscillator used in digital alarm clocks.

This is why they can predict someone arriving at the door before they ring the bell.

8/ They’re Prone To Ear Infections

A downside of our pal’s perky ears is that they are prone to ear disorders such as infections.

Your vet will almost always perform routine ear check-ups whenever you’re down. The reason for this is their ear canal is shaped like the letter “L”.

The infections themselves are usually caused by either bacteria or yeast.

9/ Dogs Ears Contain Pheromones

In our last blog, we told you about the Jacobsen organ, a smell ability entirely dedicated to picking up pheromones.

These pheromones are chemicals that evoke a social reaction from other canines.

A dog’s ears contain a special wax and secrete an oil that contains pheromones.

So next time you’re out on a walk, watch how your dog will sniff around another dog’s ears when they meet.

10/ Not All Dogs Hear The Same

Photo by Noémi Macavei-Katócz on Unsplash

Not all dogs can hear at the same frequency.

Some range closer to humans while others can hear levels above our own.

Here are the Top 3:

3/ German Shepherd – A dream guard dog because of their intelligence, physical attributes and outstanding hearing.

2/ Poodle– Don’t let the floppy ears fool you! Poodles have ultra-sharp hearing and can hear their owners call from very far away.

1/ Labrador Retriever– Labradors were bred to retrieve downed birds. This means that they have an incredible ear that developed to pick up on subtle rustling noises amongst the foliage.

11/ Puppies Are Born With Their Ears Closed

When a puppy is born, its eyes and ears are sealed shut.

This is to protect these sensitive senses from potential damage caused by harsh light and sound.

This process lasts for a fortnight before both open and a puppy can take in its new world.

12/ Your Dog’s Head Tilt When It Hears Certain Words

Photo by Madalyn Cox on Unsplash

Have you ever questioned the reason behind your furry friend’s adorable head tilt?

It’s down to the ears.

There are two possible reasons for this:

1/ Head tilting helps a dog better understand where a sound is coming from.

2/ It also means they’re paying attention or trying to use memory recall as an attempt to understand us.

Dogs recognize words from the association.

That’s why certain buzz words like “walk” or “treat” can bring a cute head tilt.

Final Bark

Our dog’s ears grant them a hearing ability far greater than our own.

Our recommendation is to always make sure you do get them down for occasional check-ups as ear infections are common and can be a source of discomfort for your pal.

And so, we come to the end of another doggy blog focused on the senses.

Be sure to check out our other informative pieces as we journey together to understand our canine companions one paw at a time…

And as always, be sure to check out our BusterBox goodies and make some memories with your best pal.