Scientists Reveal Which Dogs Are Best at Giving Puppy Eyes

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Who can say they’re immune to those cute  puppy eyes and their pet’s pleading little face? While all dogs will try to give you their best adorable look to coax you into doling out a few more treats or going on a walk just when you’ve put your feet up, some are more successful at it than others. Or at least that’s what a team of scientists at George Washington University concluded after their detailed research!

The results of their study indicate that the level of emotion and expressivity in a dog’s stare isn’t related to their breed at all, but rather to the dog’s unique facial markings. Their research found that dogs with a single, solid color on their face are considered more expressive than dogs that have multi-colored faces.

While there have been numerous studies on the topic of human-canine communications, the latest efforts, led by Courtney Sexton, the lead author of this study, are focused on investigating how dogs’ faces allow them to communicate with us. To help with the research, 100 volunteer dog owners were asked to record their pets in different conditions and emotional states.

Afterward, the research team used their special coding system called the Dog Facial Action Coding System (DFACS), which helped them analyze each dog’s behavior separately. 

With that, they were able to evaluate each facial markings and patterns on the dogs’ faces.

In the end, the results of the study revealed that dogs with plain faces appear to make more facial expressions as they interact with their owners, compared to dogs with complex facial markings. 'As dogs become more and more integrated into human society, it's important that we understand how they communicate with us and how we can better communicate with them,' said Ms Sexton. 

Something that came naturally is the fact that older dogs appear to be less expressive than younger, more energetic puppers. Researchers suggest that this is because senior dogs already have a strong bond with their owners, so facial expressions are not as important as before. Furthermore, they have also revealed that working and highly trained dogs tend to be more expressive. 

In the end, we can see that markings might be the most important factor in the expressiveness of dogs’ faces, but it surely isn’t the only one – there are plenty of others that contribute to your pet’s ability to communicate their feelings solely with their expression.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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