Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers?

There are lots of parts of your dog’s anatomy that you might not really understand.

Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers

A lot of people do not understand the purpose of their dog’s tail, and something else that a lot of people do not understand is why dogs have whiskers. 

Dogs, of course, are not the only creatures that have whiskers. In fact, there are lots of different animals which have whiskers. From cats to rats, this is a pretty common theme.

But, it makes a lot more sense for some animals to have whiskers than others. This is why a lot of people get confused as to why dogs have whiskers because they seemingly have no purpose, right? 

Wrong! Your dog’s whiskers are not a redundant part of their anatomy, in fact, they use their whiskers every single day.

In this guide we’ll be taking a look at why dogs have whiskers, and why they are so important. So to find out more, keep on reading. 

What Are Whiskers?

Whiskers are something which a lot of animals have, but a lot of people do not understand the purpose of them. The purpose of whiskers will depend on the animal which has them.

Cats use their whiskers to ensure that they can fit into small spaces, rats use their whiskers to navigate unfamiliar places, and dogs use their whiskers for another reason again. But what are whiskers? 

Whiskers are a type of hair that grows out of the faces of some animals. This hair is incredibly stiff, and it is genetically designed to be like this for one reason, so that it is functional.

Whiskers are also known as vibrissae, so you might hear them referred to by this name. The whiskers are stiff, and they are located where they are so that they are connected to the animal’s senses.

This is what allows animals to use their whiskers for the purposes that they are designed for. But what is this purpose for dogs? Let’s take a look. 

Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers?

So, why do dogs have whiskers? Well, dogs have always had whiskers, and they are one of the most notable features on your dog’s face.

Some people expect dogs to only have whiskers upon their cheeks, but this isn’t the case.

A dog’s whiskers frame their face, because they are found upon the skin above your dog’s eyes, and they essentially form your dog’s eyebrows.

They are also found along your dog’s muzzle, and because of this they make up a big part of their smile.

While whiskers might make your dog look cuter, this isn’t actually the reason that they are located on your dog’s face. 

Dogs have whiskers, which are very tuned into your dog’s senses. This means that your dog can use their whiskers for lots of different purposes, and because of this they use them a lot in day-to-day life.

From navigating their way around to aiding vision, dogs use their whiskers for many purposes, and this is why they are so important.

If a dog were to lose their whiskers, they would be lost, and this would have a big impact on the way that they live.

This is why it is vital that you look after your dog’s whiskers, and that they remain in good health. 

Is It Bad To Touch A Dog’s Whiskers?

Based on how important your dog’s whiskers are, you might be wondering if it is actually okay to touch them.

After all, you might be thinking that touching your dog’s whiskers could cause harm to your dog, or it could impact the whiskers and prevent them from being able to do their job.

So, is it bad to touch your dog’s whiskers? 

If you have ever accidentally touched your dog’s whiskers before, then you will probably have noticed that they flinch.

This isn’t because the touch has hurt them, it is because the touch has triggered a sensory response.

As we have said, the whole purpose of whiskers is to help your dog in day-to-day life, and to be able to do this, they are connected to the senses.

So, when you touch your dog, they might flinch because of this sensory response. 

But, touching your dog’s whiskers will not cause them pain. Whiskers are often referred to as ‘tactile hairs’, but in reality, they do not feel anything.

So touching your dog’s whiskers will not cause them pain, but it still isn’t ideal to touch your dog’s whiskers.

It isn’t necessarily bad, but every time that you touch your dog’s whiskers, they will likely flinch or blink, and this isn’t a response that you want to trigger in your dog. 

Do Dogs Whiskers Grow Back?

Due to the importance of your dog’s whiskers, it is likely that you might become alarmed if anything bad were to happen to them.

However, there is no need to worry if your dog were to lose some whiskers because this is perfectly normal.

While the whiskers are stiff hair, they are still hair, and this means that they make up part of your dog’s coat.

As any dog-owner will know, dogs regularly lose their fur, and it is always growing back. The same principle applies to the whiskers. 

When your dog loses a whisker, whether it be in an accident or naturally, that whisker will soon grow back.

Whiskers grow at a different speed to natural fur, so it might take a little longer for your dog’s whiskers to rejuvenate than for the rest of the fur.

But even if your dog were to lose all of their whiskers, they wouldn’t be gone for long. So while it is important to look after your dog’s whiskers, don’t panic if you notice that they have lost one. 


In short, dogs have whiskers because these parts of their anatomy are tightly tuned into their senses.

They enhance a dog’s senses, allowing them better vision, and also better ability to move around within their environment.

So, while they might give the impression that they are solely there to make your dog look cute, whiskers actually have a very important purpose in your dog’s life.  

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