Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers?!

Writer, teacher, and animal advocate with extensive animal handling experience and a soft spot for large breeds and monkeys. Don't forget a proud parent to two adorable dogs.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click and buy we may make a commission, at no additional charge to you. 

Table of Contents

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers?


Whiskers are carefully tuned sensory devices that are able to help a dog navigate through daily activities. These unique hairs, like antennae on insects, whiskers assist vision and help a dog navigate his environment by delivering additional sensory input.

Dogs, like humans, are mammalian creatures with a coat of hair on their bodies. However, there are distinct hair variations that cover the human’s and dog’s body surfaces! First and foremost, most people (with the exception of individuals who are becoming bald) have more hair on their heads (whole) than on their arms and legs. Still, dogs have a relatively even distribution of hair across the majority of their bodies. Furthermore, human hair grows longer on the head than on other parts of the body, but certain dog breeds, such as Collies or Yorkies, have hair that is the same length all over. Finally, while humans do have whiskers on their cheeks, they are pale in contrast to the whiskers on a dog’s face!


Why Dogs Have Whiskers?

Despite the fact that whiskers grow from hair follicles in the same way as other hairs, they are pretty noticeable on a dog’s body. Whiskers are coarser and thicker than ordinary hair, and their roots are three times deeper than those of regular hair. Whiskers, in contrast to normal hairs, do not cover the whole surface of the body. They are carefully placed over the eyes, on the chin, and above the top lip to give a youthful appearance. When it comes to whiskers, each breed has its own unique pattern and placement. Dogs, unlike humans, have whiskers on their faces at all ages. When it comes to sprouting whiskers, newborn pups do not have to wait until they reach adolescence since they are among the first hairs to form and are already present at birth.

Whiskers are extremely sensitive – way higher than normal hairs. The follicles from which they grow are densely packed with blood vessels and nerve endings, making them more vulnerable to injury. In fact, the whiskers of a dog are just as delicate as the fingers of a human. As a result, whereas a human’s sense of touch is located in the fingers, a dog’s sense of touch is located in his face.

Why Do Dogs Need Whiskers? Or What Is The Purpose Of Whiskers?
The whiskers on a dog’s face give him a more expressive appearance. When a dog “smiles,” they serve as a framing for the eyes, similar to the way eyebrows do on people and draw attention to the muzzle. On the other hand, Whiskers are more than simply a cosmetic feature; they provide a vital purpose. Using its whiskers, a dog may navigate through its everyday activities. In the same way that antennae on insects provide more sensory input, these unique hairs enhance eyesight and assist a dog in navigating his environment by giving additional sensory information.

Why Do Dogs Need Whiskers?

Even though whiskers are referred to as “tactile hairs,” they do not truly sense anything. When they detect things or movements, they simply transfer information to the sensory cells in the body. Dog whiskers communicate information about the shape, size, and speed of things in their immediate vicinity by detecting tiny changes in air currents. Dogs’ whiskers assist them in navigating the world.

· Whiskers function as radar sensors

Even though dogs are recognized for having excellent senses of smell and hearing, their eyesight is not very impressive. Dogs have a stronger vision at a distance, but they have trouble focusing on items that are close to their face. Whiskers assist dogs in “seeing” objects that are directly in front of their faces by delivering information to the canine brain on a continual basis. While approaching anything in his route, a dog creates air currents that bounce back when they come into contact with solid surfaces. Whiskers are similar to radar detectors in that they detect incredibly tiny vibrations generated by changes in air currents and respond as a result.

Fact: Whiskers detect incredibly tiny vibrations generated by changes in air currents and work similarly to radar detectors.

In the wild, a dog’s whiskers can warn him of the availability of prey, the presence of possible attackers, or the whereabouts of the rest of his group. Whiskers, which are seen on domestic dogs, assist them in locating their food bowls or favorite toys at night. Thus, whisker radar can help a dog in nighttime hunting while also preventing him from running into walls in the dark.

· Whiskers are used to express emotions

The whiskers of a dog do not work correctly when the dog is sleeping. However, when a dog is active, so are the whiskers! Happy or interested dogs will raise their whiskers above their eyes, giving them that adorable, wide-eyed expression their owners like. An alert dog will move his whiskers forward toward the threat if he perceives another dog threatening him.

Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers?!

· Whiskers serve as a protective barrier

When even the tiniest particles brush across these sensitive hairs, they react. Any small piece of dust that comes into contact with the fur above his eye will be flung off by a dog with a blink or a shake of his head. When this response occurs, the eye is protected from being damaged by even the smallest dust particle. When a dog’s whiskers come into contact with a long blade of grass or a thorny shrub while going outside, the dog is prompted to back up to prevent getting scratched or poked in the eye.

Dogs with whiskers are less likely to get stuck in traffic. When a dog approaches a tight point in the fence, a slim opening between rocks, or a small space between the living room chairs, whiskers can assist the dog in determining whether or not they will be able to squeeze through the passage without becoming trapped or knocking over the furniture. This keeps the dog out of danger in a variety of ways, including physical.

· Whiskers require special care

Touch sensors are used to collect and analyze data in the dog’s brain, which takes up a significant amount of its brain space. Whiskers are highly dependable touch sensors for the hands. It is estimated that about 40% of the brain’s sensory region corresponds to areas of the body that have whiskers. Whiskers are associated with a specific location in the brain, indicating that they occupy significant neurological real estate in a dog’s body.


Whiskers serve as a protective barrier because they are crucial in a dog’s ability to operate securely within and outside his house. When caressing your dog, stroke the whiskers very softly and in the direction of the hair growth. Please do not pluck or tug on your pup’s whiskers since this can cause him discomfort. Do not clip your dog’s whiskers when brushing him since doing so may reduce a dog’s unique sensitivity and lead him to get confused. Read also about – Why Dogs Wag Their Tails?

Meow! Was this post helpful?

Writer, teacher, and animal advocate with extensive animal handling experience and a soft spot for large breeds and monkeys. Don't forget a proud parent to two adorable dogs.

Get Furbulous tips & tricks into your inbox

The Latest