The 5 senses of the dog

 The 5 senses of the dog

The 5 senses of the dog

Table of Contents

If the dog is an animal endowed with the five senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste, these are not developed as in humans. His sense of smell and his hearing are indeed clearly superior to ours, but this is not the case for the other senses. Moreover, it should be noted that these different senses do not work as in humans, which is why they give our doggie friends very specific specificities. And that's not all, because scientists have discovered other senses in dogs.


Have you ever wondered which senses are more developed in a dog? Dogs are very different from us, especially when it comes to how they perceive the world. Today we’ll be showing you which part of the body your dog uses the most to collect external stimuli.


The dog is also endowed with a hearing of great finesse. In comparison, it is about six times greater than the hearing capacity of humans. Our friends the doggies can thus perceive sounds over distances four times greater than humans, on average, and the mobility of their ears is ideal for facilitating the speed of perception and localization of sounds. Dogs are also able to perceive ultrasound, frequencies far too high for the human ear. Indeed, if we perceive a frequency of up to 18,000 Hertz on average, the dog perceives up to 50,000 Hertz!
A dog's hearing is essential for communication between humans and animals. Indeed, our doggie friends can identify voice variations, tones and distinguish words to facilitate understanding. It is therefore a sense that turns out to be an excellent communication tool. Moreover, it is very useful to prevent dangers.

The smell

The sense of smell in dogs is a very developed sense, moreover the animal is known to have a powerful flair. Indeed, by way of comparison, if humans have an average of 5 million olfactory cells in their brain, dogs have nearly 200 million, or 130 cm² of area for their olfactory réceptions, compared to only 3 cm² for humans. In addition, a dog is able to detect an odor 1 million times more diluted than those that humans can perceive. Of course, these abilities and skills vary somewhat between breeds and individuals.
Let's not forget that our doggie friends have an additional organ, called Jacobson's organ or vomeronasal organ. Located in the upper palate and connected to its snout by two channels, it allows it to analyze odors – including the weakest ones – with incomparable precision. And this gift is so tenacious that it lasts, allowing the dog to detect a track of several days and to differentiate odors among many others on the same object.
Smell has the particularity of being present throughout the life of the dog. Indeed, the animal is born blind and deaf, and it is by the smell that it identifies its mother. At the end of life, his sense of smell is still present – even if it has been reduced – although he may have lost other senses.
  • The dog's sense of smell is thus a developed sense, but also very useful. It allows him to identify his master and his home, to recognize his diet, but also, and above all, to communicate with his congeners by broadcasting messages and interprétant those emanating from others with a very great diversity, in particular via the pheromones secreted by the anal, circumanal, auricular, vaginal, tail and paw glands. The dog is thus able to perceive a whole range of emotions and feelings through the pheromones diffused in this context. He can thus identify joy, appeasement and well-being, but also stress, fear and anger in humans as in his congeners. The doggies would even be able to detect certain diseases, such as cancer, via the smell of a patient's breath!


Sight is a slightly less developed sense in dogs than in humans. Nevertheless, our doggie friends acquire all their visual faculties around the age of three months. They perceive a varied range of colors which, although less extensive than in humans, is not limited to black and white, contrary to popular belief. Their retina demonstrates that the perceived spectrum extends from yellow to blue, making red invisible to the animal and complicating the visibility of hues ranging from yellow to red. It also detects fewer shades of color than humans.
A dog can very well pick up the gestures that its master makes at long distance (800 meters to 1,000 meters), while its ability to perceive fixed objects is six times lower than that of humans. It is also able to see at night thanks to a high concentration of cells on the retina, due to a better perception of light intensity, but it is far from equaling the cat in this area. In addition, it has a wider field of vision, namely 270° on average, compared to 180° for humans. However, his monocular field of vision being superior to that of a man and his binocular field inferior, his gaze is much more directed forward and focused.
The muscles surrounding the eye allow movement in all directions. The dog has a lower eyelid and an upper eyelid, equipped with eyelashes, to protect the eye from external aggressions, as well as a third eyelid, like in the cat, invisible, but present at the level of the internal angle .


Dogs have real sensitivity in their paws. However, unlike humans, it is not the skin that allows information to be conveyed to the brain, but the body hair, maxillary hair, whiskers or mustaches, eyebrows and pads. It is thanks to these different elements and their vibrations that the dog can locate itself in space. The doggie perceives heat, cold, pain and sensitivity to certain external surfaces very well, but the sense of touch remains less developed than in humans.

The different organs of touch are:

the pads, which send it information about the surfaces on which it moves;
the skin, which informs it of the sensations of hot, cold, pain, humidity, wetness, etc. ;
the vibrissae, which allow the dog to perceive the space around it, in particular through the position of its head, to define its position within it, but also the shape of objects or their texture;
the truffle, which allows him to smell objects (by contact and through smell), especially his mother's udder when he is a young puppy.


Taste is also much less developed in dogs than in humans. If we have 9,000 to 10,000 taste buds against 1,700 for the animal, this difference does not really pose a problem for him, because taste is not the most useful sense to him. Indeed, to recognize his food and appreciate it, the dog uses above all his sense of smell.
The dog's other senses 
specialists identify several forms of touch in dogs, based on observation of the nerve pathways. They thus distinguish the following four types of touch:
  • somesthesia, which consists of perceiving contacts.
  • nociception, which involves perceiving pain.
  • enteroception, which is related to the sensitivity of internal organs.
  • proprioception, which allows the animal to locate itself in space.

To help your dog keep her 5 senses always in top shape, have her play with one of Ferplast’s many interactive toys that stimulate and train your dog’s mind, keeping her sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing as sharp as can be!

The dog has taste buds on the tongue, but also in the palate and larynx. It should be noted, however, that the animal does not take pleasure in tasting and chewing its food, it prefers to swallow it directly whole! The taste is therefore of no great interest to him.

achraf ben ammar

About the blogger: An expert in breeding and training dogs. He obtained his certificate in this specialty in 2012 from the Military School. He developed his field from the specialty of dogs to an expert in raising pets in general.

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