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What Kind of Music Does a Dog Like?

dog and guitar music

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Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Vet, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you’re a music fan and a dog owner, you’ve probably noticed your pet reacting to the music you’re rocking out to, whether by howling, relaxing, or barking along. But do you know which type of music is your dog’s favorite? Do dogs even like music—is that why they bark and howl? Or are they simply making noise along with it when they listen for no reason?

It turns out dogs do enjoy music and have certain kinds they like best (at least according to research). What types of genres has research determined dogs like the most? It seems dogs are fans of the softer side of music!

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Do Dogs Like Music?

Dogs do like music and can even benefit from it! One study found that playing music to kenneled dogs could actually help calm them and reduce stress. However, like people, dogs prefer specific music genres over others. For example, dogs don’t really enjoy music involving higher pitches because their hearing is so much more sensitive than ours. That means your pup probably isn’t as big a fan of Mariah Carey as you are. (Sorry!)

Cute dog listening to music with headphones_ESB Professional_shutterstock
Image Credit: ESB Professional, Shutterstock

What Kind of Music Do Dogs Prefer?

According to the research, dogs are fans of soft rock and reggae (who knew?)! How exactly did the researchers determine these were the genres dogs liked best? When they did the study on dogs at a kennel, they tracked not just behavioral changes (such as howling or barking) but physiological changes too (like heart rate). They also played a variety of music, including pop, Motown, classical, reggae, and soft rock. The most significant changes in the dogs’ stress and heart rate levels came when soft rock and reggae were played.

Dogs do seem to like classical music best after soft rock and reggae, though. More than one study has shown that classical music can soothe stress and comfort sick dogs. However, just which kind of classical music your dog prefers will be up to you to discover!

Why Do Dogs Howl to Music?

german shepherd dog howling in a field of flowers
Image Credit: Samantha Gould, Shutterstock

Though your pet may be “singing” along—as researchers believe dogs have a sense of pitch—more likely, you can chalk up this howling to their wolf ancestors. Your dog may not even realize why he’s howling; he’s simply doing it because there’s some instinct within that’s calling for him to do so. Whether your pup is joining in the “singing” or simply howling for the sake of howling, it’s still pretty cute!

And don’t be concerned that your dog is howling because it doesn’t like the music or the song hurts its ears. Especially in the case of it hurting the ears, your dog would likely hide or cover its head to convey the song is painful instead of howling.divider-dog

Final Thoughts

It seems that our canine friends are indeed fans of music. They’re just particular about which kinds they want to listen to. If you want to create a doggie playlist on Spotify for your pet, stick to soft rock and reggae, and avoid pop divas and heavy metal. Your dog will thank you!

Also, don’t be concerned if your pet begins howling along to the music you’re listening to together. They might be joining the voices and music in their version of “singing”, but more likely, it’s just an instinctual response you can thank their wolf ancestors for.


Featured Image Credit: alexandbremer, Pixabay

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