A dog's sense of hearing

Dogs have a superior sense of hearing when compared to humans and can hear a range of sounds far above the capabilities of the human ear. Dogs can hear sound frequencies up to an amazing 45,000 Hz whilst us mear humans can only manage 23,000 Hz.

Selective breeding over the centuries has further enhanced the sense of hearing in certain breeds and has helped them to perform specialised tasks, such as guarding flocks, flushing out game and protecting property.

A dogs ear consists of four parts: the ear flap, the ear canal, the middle ear, and the inner ear. The ear flap is made of cartilage, muscle and skin and varies in shape from breed to breed. It captures sound and funnels it through the ear canal to the tympanic membrane (eardrum). The middle ear contains the smallest bones in the body and these are the hammer, anvil, and the stirrup. These bones amplify vibrations from the eardrum and transmit them to the inner ear. Vibrations enter the spiral-shaped cochlea in the inner ear where they are converted into signals that are then sent to the brain. The organs that provide a dog with information about the alignment of its head and give it a sense of balance are also found in the inner ear.

A dogs sense of hearing is also enhanced by their ability to move their ears around to scan the environment for different sounds and locate where the sound is coming from. Their highly mobile ears capture sounds and funnel them down to the eardrum. This enables them to hear sounds four times farther away than humans can.

Scientific experiments have shown that a dog can locate the source of a sound in six-hundredths of a second.

A dogs hearing ability will vary from breed to breed and scientific experiments have shown that short-coated breeds with large, upright ears tend to have the best sense of hearing.