Why Do Dogs Have Eyebrows?

Why Do Dogs Have Eyebrows?

Have you ever stared at a dog and thought “wait, this pup has eyebrows”? Well, it isn’t a product of your imagination because some dogs do in fact have eyebrows. But they aren’t there just for an aesthetic purpose, dogs have eyebrows due to quite an specific reason.

If you want to find out why dogs have eyebrows, keep reading.

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Dogs have eyebrows to communicate with us

When you see a dog with eyebrows, you probably notice them because they are moving them in a way that denotes a feeling or emotion, such as anger, confusion or sadness. Dogs seem to express many feelings thanks to their eyebrows.

But, could this be true? Do dogs really use their eyebrows to communicate with us? Or is it just part of our imagination that’s humanizing our pets? 

As a matter of fact, it is true. Dogs use their eyebrows to communicate better with us, but this hasn’t always been the case. Dogs’ evolution has led to this, the human-dog relationship has resulted in dogs acquiring a new characteristic that allows them to communicate better with us. 

And science backs this up. 

A study made in 2019 by Juliane Kaminski, Bridget M. Waller, Rui Diogo, Adam Hartstine-Rose and Anne M. Burrows actually proves that “33.000 years of domestication transformed the facial muscle anatomy of dogs specifically for facial communication with humans”. 

This means that as a result of being domesticated, of having a human family for so many years, dogs have evolved and developed improved communication skills.

In order to confirm this thesis, the researchers developed a detailed comparison of the facial expressions of gray wolves and domestic dogs. They found out that there is in fact a difference in facial musculature around the eye between dogs and wolves.

What is more, they have also declared that dogs show more behaviors related to their communication with humans, that wolves obviously don’t:

  • Dogs are able to use human communicatives cues, such as gazes or pointing
  • Dogs rely on human eye contact for human-dog social interaction
  • Dogs use eye contact with humans when they cannot solve a problem on their own
  • Dogs also depend on eye contact to know when communication is relevant and directed at them
  • Dogs are motivated to establish eye contact with humans from an early age
  • Mutual gaze between dogs and humans leads to an oxytocin feedback similar to the one that exists between human mothers and infants

Dogs have literally evolved into becoming human’s best friends. 

Why do only some dogs have eyebrows?

You may be thinking “wait, my dog doesn’t have eyebrows! Does this mean they have not evolved?”. Not at all.

All dogs have this muscle we call ‘eyebrows’ since, as mentioned, they are muscles around the eye that are covered in fur. The thing that some dogs are missing is the coloured hair that makes them look like eyebrows.

If your dog has long hair of just one color, you probably won’t see their eyebrows. But don’t worry, they are there, and they will communicate with you using the other tools they have. 

Which dog breeds have eyebrows?

All dogs have eyebrows, that’s clear, but what are the breeds that are more prone to having noticeable eyebrows? Mostly the ones that have a color combination of black/dark color and brown/tan/yellowish, such as:

  • German Shepherd
  • Rottweiler
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Gordon Setter
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Beauceron
  • Dachshund

Regardless of the breed and whether they have visible eyebrows or not, all pups deserve the best grooming care possible. Click here to learn how. 

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