Fun Facts About and Photos of Our Dogs’ Ears
We saved the best photo for last…so be sure to read to the end! I take a lot of action photos of the dogs, and one of the funnest things about them is the way their ears are flopping around in so many of them. I thought it would be fun to look up a few facts about dogs’ ears that you may or may not know to go with some of those photos.
- Dogs ears have up to 18 different muscles that let them move their ears in many different ways, and their ears move independently of each other (see Luke below, bottom right).
- That same photo of Luke also illustrates one of the different ear positions that can indicate a dogs’ mood. His one ear is moving backwards…indicating he is worried or fearful. He was listening for something – perhaps afraid one of the other dogs was coming to steal that toy! When a dog is feeling especially fearful or timid, their ears go very tightly back. When they are just slightly pulled back, that indicates friendliness. When they are forward and erect, they are engaged. You can see that position in the photo of Cricket below, bottom left. She is interested in something going on outside the room.
- Dogs can hear at high frequencies, higher than humans, but lower than what cats can hear. That is why dog whistles are used, and can be heard by dogs but not humans.
- Supposedly dogs cock their heads to hear distant sounds, but I also think they do it when they are listening to us. Or is it just to be cute?
- Puppies are born deaf but gain their hearing in just a few weeks.
- We always accuse our dogs of it, but they really do have “selective hearing.”. They might tune out voices when they’re sleeping, but they can hear that bag crinkle! We always accused our beagles of “shutting their ears off” when they are smelling something, or doing something they don’t want to be interrupted from. Maybe they really are?
- The reason many dogs like having their ears rubbed is that they have many, many nerves in their ears, and rubbing them releases endorphins which helps them to relax. Our beagle Kobi loved a good ear rub, but if you pulled his ear just wrong, he would yelp (it didn’t have to be a hard pull at all – because we wouldn’t do that!). That might have been because he had some especially sensitive nerves in there. Those nerves also connect to other parts of their bodies.
- The reason dogs are so prone to ear infections is that their ear canal bends and curves very sharply. That’s why it’s important to keep their ears clean. I find it interesting that some dogs’ ears seem far dirtier than others, but I did not turn up why that might be. I have to clean Sheba’s ears far more often than the other dogs, and our beagle Kobi also had very dirty ears.
- What do we love most about our dogs’s ears? The fact that they make them look so darn cute! In our household, Cricket by far has the most expressive ears.