Most dogs have exceptional hearing—far better than humans—but some breeds take it to the next level. Hearing is often the sense that allows dogs to hunt small animals, alert you to an intruder, or jump to attention when you open a bag of treats.
Here are the 10 dog breeds with the best hearing.
The 10 Dogs With the Best Hearing
1. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are intelligent, affectionate family dogs that were bred to retrieve game birds on hunts. They can detect soft rustling in the brush, the flutter of birds taking flight, or the subtle movements of a deer in the distance.
2. German Shepherd
One of the most popular and versatile dog breeds around, the German Shepherd has been used for everything from farm work to police work to military service. With erect, pointed ears, German Shepherds have exceptional hearing that makes them well-suited to guard work.
Whether standard, miniature, or toy, the Poodle is one of the smartest dog breeds. Bred to hunt, Poodles have excellent hearing to pick up owners’ voices or whistles, the sound of small animals in the woods, or other subtle sounds.
4. Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniels are remarkable hunting dogs that were used for small animals like squirrels and rodents. Their ears are great at detecting the rustle of small game and hearing the call or whistle of an owner at a great distance.
5. Boston Terrier
Boston Terriers are great detection dogs and pique at everything from sirens to the sound of flatwork hitting a dinner plate. They make excellent alert dogs and companions for your home.
6. Lhasa Apso
Lhasa Apsos come from Tibet and were bred to guard livestock and alert owners to natural dangers like avalanches and earthquakes. While they may not be used for that purpose now, they retained the excellent hearing to act as a guardian for the home.
Chihuahuas may be “more bark than bite”, but their hearing is top-notch. They’re always alert and notice the slightest sounds, including the rustling of their owners in bed in the morning or the sound of small vermin in the yard.
8. Miniature Pinscher
Miniature Pinschers have erect ears that allow them to clock every sound in the environment. Though they don’t have the size to be true guard dogs, they’re great at alerting owners to the sounds of people in the neighborhood, the crack of thunder, or someone making dinner in the kitchen.
A revered ratter and guard dog, the Schnauzer is adept at noticing the sounds of threats and vermin. Standard, Giant, and Miniature Schnauzers have equally great hearing and will alert owners to any possible intruder.
10. French Bulldog
With their big ears, French Bulldogs are always on alert. They make great watchdogs for their innate ability to detect even the faintest of sounds, which they respond to with a lot of loud barking to alert owners.
Do All Dogs Have Good Hearing?
Generally, all dogs have a heightened sense of hearing compared to humans and some other animals. Some dogs have better hearing because they were bred to hunt animals, guard livestock or family, and alert owners to threats.
They also have an adaptation in their outer ears—the pinnae—that acts as a funnel and amplifies sound in the ear. Different breeds have pinnae of different sizes or shapes, which gives them comparatively stronger or weaker hearing.
Small dogs tend to be sensitive to high-frequency sounds because of their small heads and proportionately larger ears. They can hear quieter sound levels than humans can.
But like humans, dogs can suffer ear injuries and hearing loss that can be temporary or permanent, partial or complete. Some of the breeds that are susceptible to deafness include the Australian Shepherd, Cocker Spaniel, Dalmatian, German Shepherd, Boston Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Maltese, Poodle, and Jack Russell Terrier.
Virtually all dogs have better hearing than humans, especially with high-pitched sounds. Some breeds have better hearing because of their breeding and jobs, including hunting dogs like the Labrador Retriever, guardian dogs like the Lhasa Apso, and all-purpose service breeds like the German Shepherd.
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