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Role of Whiskers in your Dog’s Day-to-day Life

Generally, as a human, you may think that the dog’s whiskers serve no purpose, and you may also snip it off to make your dog look clean and neat. But it is wrong. Whiskers are a distinguishable feature of canines and are an essential part of your dog’s anatomy that helps to navigate the surrounding environment around them successfully. The whiskers in dogs have several purposes, and you may be surprised to know them one by one. This article will help you to find out dog whiskers purpose and why do dogs have whiskers so that in the future, you won’t snip off them regardless of how untidy your canine friend looks. 

What Are Dog Whiskers?

Vibrissae is the technical name for dogs’ whiskers. Whiskers are the coarse hairs that typically grow around your dogs nose, jaw, and above their eyes. Whiskers are often called specialized hairs made up of keratin that is more flexible and much thicker than the regular hair of a normal dog. 

There are different types of dog whiskers. They can be categorized as:

Supraorbital Whiskers – 

This specialized hair around your dog’s eyes can be called supraorbital or supraciliary

Genal Whiskers – 

The whiskers around your dogs’ cheeks are called genal

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Muzzle Whiskers – 

The muzzle whiskers can be called mystacial and extend from the nose towards the left and right sides of your dog’s face. 

Interramal Whiskers – 

Under your dog’s chin, from a mole, there will be visible whiskers called interramal. Depending upon the breed, the location and the pattern of the dogs’ whiskers may differ. The whiskers in dogs are more sensitive than a dog’s normal hair. It is because the follicles from where the whiskers originated are full of nerves and blood vessels that are useful to send messages to your dog’s brain. Whiskers are common for all age types of dogs. Even newborn pups have whiskers, and they do not have to wait for the development of whiskers till the stage of puberty.

Humans can sense the touch through their fingers, and in the same way, dogs can sense the touch via their faces. It is undeniable that whiskers play an important role in your dogs’ lives. Even a freshly groomed dog looks untidy or shaggy with whiskers in them. So, dog owners may get the temptation to cut them. But it is not a good option. Instead, some experts say that if you want to trim your dog’s whiskers, remove them to a quarter-inch size and not more. 

Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers? 

What are dog whiskers for? Whiskers are sensitive hairs that can alert your dog about the nearby atmosphere. The dog’s movements will be at high speed, and these whiskers help your dog overcome obstacles in its way safely. If at later stages, due to any vision issues, when your dog loses sight, whiskers can help them navigate its environment. Below are some of the reasons regarding the use of whiskers in dogs. 

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Whiskers are Dogs’ Radar Detectors

The whiskers in dogs can be referred to as “radar detectors” because they can detect even the tiny vibrations caused by subtle changes in the present air current. They note even the slight changes in the air current, and then communicate that information to the brain. This information, in turn, is put together with other sense parts (like the eyes) for a crystal-clear understanding of the surrounding environment. 

Dogs vision is clear so, they will notice faraway objects but not closed ones. As an example, your dog notices the movement of the cat running on the other side of the street.  

Whiskers are their Hunting Equipment

Whiskers are a successful hunting tool for your dogs. Different breeds may have whiskers of different sizes and numbers. So, if you consider hound breeds, they have immense whiskers present proportionally to their body. This makes the whiskers look long and densely populated. Among the hunt dogs, the Irish wolfhound is a hunting dog trained to hunt big enough prey. At the time of fast hunting, the whiskers will help them to navigate their way effortlessly, thus avoiding trees in a dense forest. 

Whiskers Show Dog’s Emotions

whiskers play a vital role in expressing their feelings during dog-to-dog communication. The whiskers will point in a curved position downwards and flare reflexively whenever your dog feels threatened or in discomfort. This expression can mix with others, like growling, showing their teeth, etc. With this body language, you can easily identify that your dog is unhappy and has started preparing to protect itself from opponents or discomfort situations. 

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Whiskers are their Protectors.

Your dogs will respond immediately when their whiskers are being touched by someone or something. For example, even if a tiny particle of dust falls on their whiskers above the eyes, notice that your dog will suddenly blink or shake its head. This sudden action helps them avoid injuries caused by tiny dust particles. With the help of whiskers, it can even determine whether it is possible to cross a passage without getting stuck somewhere. 

Can You Cut Dog Whiskers?

Unless and otherwise, it is your vet’s advice to cut off your dog’s whiskers, do it, or else don’t. The cat whiskers will appear in neat lines, but the dogs’ whiskers appear sporadically but one must keep in mind as these have more important purposes for your dogs. But what happens if you cut a dogs whiskers? It will break down your dog’s confidence to sense objects nearby. However, removing the whiskers will not hurt your dogs as they are less spatially aware of it. If your dog whiskers cut off by mistake, don’t worry; they can grow back.

Cutting dogs whiskers will also cause them so much pain. It is because, at the base, they will have a lot of nerve endings that cause pain. So, do not cut the whiskers off your dog that makes your dog lose their confidence level and the state of disorientation. 

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New whiskers will take a few weeks to grow back to a matured length. If the dogs leave their whiskers to rest in a flat position against their face, that shows your dog is in a relaxed mood. Elevating their whiskers around the eyes shows they are in a happy mood now. When the muzzle whiskers twitch downward, it indicates that your dog is in a scary mood now. So, with the help of whiskers, you can determine your dog’s emotions and act accordingly. So, do not touch the whiskers and make your dog feel uncomfortable. 


Whiskers play an essential role in your dog’s day-to-day life. While petting them, touch the whiskers gently and don’t pull or pluck them. It will be more painful if you do so. Even with whiskers, if your canine friend looks untidy, do not allow your dog’s groomer to trim or cut them, as it can affect their confidence level and decreasing their extraordinary awareness power during an emergency. So, we hope you got answer for what do whiskers do for dogs and can you cut dog whiskers. Make your dog feel confident and be its best companion forever with these whiskers.