Did you know that humans are almost the only warm-blooded creatures who don’t have whiskers? Wouldn’t we look funny if we had them instead of our mustache or eyebrows?
But you know who does have whiskers? Dogs do! But you’re thinking – is it only my dog or do all dogs and dog species have whiskers?
Do all dogs have whiskers? All dogs, big or small, do have whiskers and they’re a vital part of their well being and even personality. Most dogs have them on different parts of their face and they help with orientation, exploration, movement, and detection. Dogs are not unique in this as almost all mammals have longer or shorter whiskers.
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Table of Contents
What Are Whiskers?
Most mammals have whiskers that they use for orientation, exploration, detection of movement, hunting, and many other sensory functions. They are specialized for tactile sensing and can grow in many different parts of the body.
Whiskers, or vibrissae, are thicker and stiffer than other types of hair. The arrangement of facial or mystacial whiskers is random and they don’t form an ordered grid of arcs (columns) and rows like cats’ do. The shorter whiskers are at the front and longer whiskers at the rear.
Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers?
Dogs have whiskers around their muzzle, jaw, and above their eyes. Scientists have spent countless hours performing experiments on (and with) animals and contemplating just what functions are whiskers used for. It turns out that there are a lot of them and they’re indispensable to animals.
Dogs, in particular, use them for a variety of tasks, including swimming, monitoring their environment, locating
Types Of Whiskers
Dogs have different types of whiskers depending on their location on the face. Although they might look the same, they serve for different purposes. Let’s dive a bit deeper.
1. Mystacial Whiskers
People usually think of mystacial whiskers when they’re talking about whiskers in general as they’re the most prominent ones and they’re located just above your dog’s upper lip.
2. Genal Whiskers
These whiskers are located n your dog’s cheeks and will help with peripheral vision among other things.
3. Interramal Tufts
Tuft of whiskers that are located under the chin of the dog that often sprout from moles.
4. Supraorbital Whiskers
Located above your dog’s eyes and look like eyebrows. Their role is to detect potential issues that could cause harm to their eyes.
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How Many Whiskers Do Dogs Have?
Dogs can have up to 20 whiskers on each side of their mouth which is almost double the number of whiskers that cats have. Dogs don’t have whiskers only on their lips though. Their whiskers grow on their chin and above the eyes, like eyebrows as well.
What Happens If You Cut Dog’s Whiskers?
Don’t be alarmed, dog whiskers do grow back after they’re cut off. They also shed regularly as all other hair on their body does. It’s a natural process of growing new whiskers and shedding old ones.
Although it doesn’t implicit pain in dogs when you cut them, you should never cut whiskers intentionally as that will impede their view of the world around them.
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Do Groomers Cut Dog Whiskers?
Because it’s impractical to cut the hair around whiskers, most groomers will simply shave off facial hair including whiskers. As we already know, they will grow back but is it a perfect situation? It is not of course and it may contribute to this next phenomenon;
Why Do Dogs Act Weird After Grooming?
If your dog’s acting strangely after coming home from the groomers’, you’re not alone. There are plenty of dogs, big or small, that start acting strange. This is especially true if they’ve had a major trim.
Every dog has a different personality as we all know and for some dogs, it is just an extreme amount of stress, and they’ll never adapt to grooming. The feeling of not having thick fur anymore might just feel really uncomfortable and strange for them. I had a big haircut the other day and I still feel like I’m naked at times.
If your dog’s whiskers were cut as well, it might leave them to feel disoriented until they adapt or until the whiskers grow back, which could take a while.
If the problem persists after a few days, you might want to seek professional help in the form of a dog behaviorist if available near you.
In conclusion, all dogs do have whiskers on different parts of their face and not only lips and they’re a vital part of being a dog. While it is not advised to cut them, and your dog might even start acting strange, they do grow back at a similar pace as does the rest of their hair or fur. So, if you or your groomer did accidentally or on purpose cut the whiskers, the dog should be fine even though it might go through a period of adjustment.