Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers

A dog’s whiskers are somewhat different from those of a cat.

To begin with their real name is Vibrissae from the Latin work “vibrio” meaning to vibrate.

Dog whiskers are two times as thick as their hair and coarser as well, not soft like a cat’s whiskers. They are found on both sides of the muzzle, above the eyes, on their chin and above the upper lip. The roots of their whiskers are set three times deeper than the dog’s hair. Whiskers are the first hairs that grow. They are not arranged neatly like cat whiskers but have varied patterns depending on breed and genetics.

why dogs have whiskers

The dog’s whiskers are filled with nerves and blood vessels making them extremely sensitive to movement. Each whisker has a specific location in the brain communicating data on what the dog is sensing or feeling. Anything touching them or near them makes the whiskers vibrate relaying information to the dog. Much like a cat’s whiskers, they help a dog navigate through the environment.

Whiskers let a dog know when an animal, an obstacle or another object, large or small, is close by, its size and if it moves. This helps that dog’s movement in the dark. Whiskers help a dog become an exceptional hunter. With the aid of whiskers, dogs can determine whether a space is large enough for them to fit through without injury to themselves.

Sometimes a whisker will fall out on its own, but will grow back. Never pull a whisker out or trim them as it can hinder the dog’s ability to function properly.