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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

Meanwhile it is no longer a secret that dogs have the best noses, but they can also hear much better than humans. But have you ever wondered what the differences are? Why do our four-legged darlings hear so much better? Or do they just hear differently? This article deals with these exciting questions and would like to give you an insight into the fantastic world of the dog ears.  

How do dogs hear?

From the outside, the ear of a dog differs considerably from the human ear.  Some dogs have huge floppy ears, others have small standing ears. As far as the function of the dog’s ear is concerned, however, there are no major differences. As with us humans, the ear of a dog is divided into an outer, middle and inner ear. The auditory canal and the auricle form the outer ear, the eardrum and certain bones the middle ear. The small bones are set in motion by vibrations hitting the eardrum and the inner ear is activated, where nerves are stimulated, which in turn send signals to the dog’s brain. The only difference is that the auditory canal makes a “bend”, so you can’t see the eardrum directly from the outside. What are the differences to humans?

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The peculiarities of the dog’s hearing

  • Dog ears have up to 17 different muscles that enable them to move their ears independently. Thus they are able to locate the source of a sound extremely precisely. So the dog can hear three-dimensionally. The deviation rate is around two percent, and that of humans is significantly higher. However, dogs with standing ears have a clear advantage here, as the sound waves can fall directly on the eardrum. Flaccid ears, on the other hand, attenuate some of the sound waves. A further disadvantage is that floppy ears allow a smaller radius of movement, but these breeds are also clearly superior to humans in hearing.
  • So our darlings hear with extraordinary precision from which direction the treat bag is being opened, but that doesn’t explain why they hear sounds that remain hidden from us humans. The answer is that dogs can perceive sound frequencies up to umpteen times higher than humans. This enables them, for example, to hear highly frequented dog whistles. We humans are able to perceive up to 20,000 Hz (Hertz) with good hearing, some dog breeds up to 65,000 Hz. So you see, it’s no wonder that your little darling is already standing in front of the door before you have even put the key in the keyhole. He may have recognized you long ago by a small clearing of the throat or by your recognizable step sequence.
  • Dogs are also geniuses at selecting sounds. The dog ears can easily filter out the tiniest noises from a loud background noise. On the other hand, dogs are also able to simply suppress entire soundscapes. That is the reason, why our four-legged friends can slumber quietly also with turbulence and roar.  
  • The higher the tone, the better dogs hear it. That’s why they often respond better to female voices than to deep male voices.
  • Dogs can perceive sounds from a distance of about four times that of humans.
dog ears - anatomy of a dog ear


Our beloved four-legged friends hear more precisely than humans and they also perceive higher sound frequencies. They are also able to suppress certain noises or even filter out some noises from a loud backdrop. The fact is, they hear much better than humans. These are also the reasons why our dogs sometimes startle as if by magic or the little squeaking mouse, which is miles away, is perceived. The dog’s ear is very sensitive, always remember it.