If you have a dog at home, you might notice that your pooch comes running eagerly towards the sound of treats hitting the bowl. Or, if you have a guard dog, it starts to bark before you reach the doorbell, or as soon as you enter the driveway.
How do our furry friends know that we are at the gate, even before we ring the bell? Can they hear something we cannot? If your dog has ever heard something to make you wonder “how far away can dogs hear,” read on to discover more about dog’s incredible hearing power!
So, Just How Far Away Can Dogs Hear?
Canines can grasp sounds that an average adult human ear cannot – up to 1 kilometer away, (almost 5 times as far as a human.) However, due to their sensitive hearing, dogs can also be annoyed by loud or high-pitched sounds.
There are some traits that distinguish how well a dog can hear. Range of hearing can vary from breed to breed – smaller dogs tend to have a keener sense of hearing. A dog’s age can also contribute to how well it can hear. Are there other traits that affect how far a dog can hear? Read on to discover!
Anatomy of a Dog’s Ear
We can see that dogs have different kinds of ears. Some are sharp and pointed, and some are long and drooped. Let’s talk about the types and structures of dogs’ ears that give them great hearing power.
Types of Dogs’ Ears
Here, we list some different types of ears on dogs.
These ears are erect and upright, resembling those of wolves. These are mostly found on cold-weather breeds.
Candle Flame Ears
Somewhat like prick ears, with a slight inward curve at the bottom, candle flame ears have minor indents on the outer edges that look like flames.
Example: English Toy Terrier
These ears are similar to prick ears, but instead of a sharp point, they show smooth, curved tips at the ends.
Example: Chow Chow
These ears are upright and slightly larger than the size of the head of the dog. These ears look like a bat’s wings.
This shape of ears benefits the dog by letting him stay vigilant and listen to soft or distant sounds. Cocked ears are upright, with slight bends on top.
Example: Border Collie
Hanging like a pendant, these kinds of ears are also called “lop ears.” These ears look like a curtain, are longer in length, and hang straight down.
Example: Cocker Spaniel
As the name states, these triangular-shaped ears fold forward with smooth corners.
Example: Labrador Retriever
Inner Structure of a Dog’s Ear
The structure of a dog’s ear mainly consists of three parts: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear.
The Outer Ear
The outer ear includes the pinna. This is the part we can see, and has a special helical shape. It is covered by skin, fur, or hair. The pinna is naturally shaped in a way that captures sound waves and passes them through the ear canal toward the inner ear.
The intriguing fact about pinnae in dogs is that they are mobile and can move independently from each other. The size of pinnae varies from breed to breed.
The Middle Ear
This part of a dog’s ear has the same components as humans’. At the end of the canal, an eardrum vibrates to certain frequencies in response to sounds from outside. These vibrations are then passed over to the air-filled chamber with three bones: the hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup. The middle ear also has a small tube that connects the middle ear to the nose, and allows air to pass through.
The Inner Ear
The innermost portion of a dog’s ear has a complex structure that includes the cochlea and vestibular system. Besides hearing, the inner ear also helps for balance.
Hearing Loss in Dogs
Although dogs have a great sense of hearing, there can still be damage to their ears if they’re not taken care of. Also, their ears can weaken over time due to aging.
Deafness in Dogs
According to the American Kennel Club, about 5 to 10 percent of dogs have hearing deafness in one ear or both. There are two kinds of deafness: inherited or acquired.
Inherited deafness in a dog signals he was born deaf. This deafness can be in either one or both ears, and can be first observed between 1 to 3 weeks of age. Oftentimes, dogs with white coats and blue eyes have cochleasaccular deafness, if they have a merle or piebald gene. Neuroepithelial deafness is not related to genes.
This type of deafness happens after birth. Acquired deafness in dogs can be due to medications that affect their ears. In addition, many older dogs may develop signs of deafness due to aging.
Fleas and mites often attack a dog’s body and ears, also. These five best worm and flea treatments can help eliminate these mites.
How to Tell If Your Dog Has Hearing Loss
The easiest way to know if your dog has hearing loss is her lack of response. If you call your dog and she doesn’t respond like she used to, it’s time to get her ears checked.
The best option for detecting hearing loss is a brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) test. This involves an advanced electro-diagnostic test used to analyze the hearing condition of animals like dogs and cats.
Hearing Capabilities of Different Breeds
The answer to the question “how far away can dogs hear?” differs from species to species. You would be astonished to discover that some smaller breeds, like poodles and chihuahuas, are top-performing breeds regarding hearing ability.
Top 5 Dogs With Excellent Hearing
We have compiled a list of the top 5 dogs with amazing hearing.
An all-time favorite, this great beast tops the list of dogs with sharp hearing. The German Shepherd shows exceptional performance in security and vigilance. This breed is very protective in nature, and feels responsible for guarding the house or yard. Its strong hearing ability helps it to stay vigilant and aware of voices from afar.
If it’s your first time having a German Shepherd, you can get help from this guide for recommended dog food.
Who doesn’t love this affectionate breed? Labrador retrievers are playful, adorable, and bond well with family members, neighbors, and other dogs. A labrador is eager to explore, and puts its formidable sense of hearing to use to stay alert and aware of its environment. It’s a great hunting companion, and can easily detect the rustling of birds’ feathers and the steps of wild animals from afar.
This toy breed is arguably the cutest dog out there, and is known for its superior intelligence and exceptional learning ability. Poodles are naturally good swimmers and have a great sense of hearing.
This breed pays close attention to what it hears, and its exceptional intelligence allows it to filter out important sounds. If trained well, the poodle has the ability to learn and understand the voices of every member in its family. Long, floppy ears on poodles help them have an amazing sense of hearing, along with added cuteness.
The Cocker Spaniel is one of the world’s best-loved breeds. Its big, beautiful eyes, large ears, and impish personality make it an adored companion. This was America’s most popular dog breed for many years.
Originally developed as a hunting dog, this breed later gained popularity as an all-around companion. Its long ears enable it to hear from great distances. Cocker Spaniels can also easily be trained as good playmates for kids.
A small dog with a compact body and a natural tuxedo on its coat, the Boston Terrier is a friendly breed, exhibiting large, round eyes and dynamic behavior. This dog is also known as ‘The American Gentleman’ for its impeccable manners.
It’s in the nature of the Boston Terrier to always stay curious. This vigilance comes with a great hearing power. Apart from the dog’s natural abilities, you can also train your dog with focus exercises to better understand situations.
In addition to loyalty, your canine friend has some great sensory powers. Excellent senses of smell and hearing make dogs impeccable fellows in your daily life.
If you get into calculations and start wondering, “how far away can dogs hear,” the answers will surprise you. Dogs can respond to multiple frequencies and sounds from a great distance which a human ear cannot hear.