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How Far Away Can A Dog Hear?

As a general rule, dogs hear about 4-5 times better than humans, which means they can pick up a sound about a mile away.

Have you ever noticed that dog certainly gets scared for what seems like no reason? It's because of the powerful healing abilities.

Like humans, dogs have the same primary five senses of smell, hearing, sight, touch, and taste, though they rely more on the sense of smell and hearing.

Apart from having powerful noses, dogs' hearing is 100 times better than ours. They can hear five times further away than humans, meaning your dog can hear thunder or fireworks well before you do. 

The superior sense of smell and hearing in dogs makes them experience a different world. For example, your dog can hear thunder as far away as 40 miles on a clear day with the right conditions.

Just how far away can dogs hear compared to a human being?

In this article, you will learn how far away a dog can hear and the sounds it can detect 

How does dog hearing work?

Photo of Ear Control For A Dog

Your dog has superior hearing sense and can hear sounds of up to 50,000 vibrations per second.

The reason dogs hear so well has to do with their ear muscles, which help them locate where sounds come from by tilting, lifting, and rotating each ear independently of the other.

Dog's ears are physically positioned to receive sound right up front. They are also engineered to hear a greater range of sounds.

The outer ear works to provide sensitive hearing because it can respond to sound by adjusting the shape and direction of the ear to where the sound comes from. They can tilt and rotate their ears to efficiently funnel the sound into the inner ear.

A dog's ear comprises three parts and dozens of muscles. These muscles control the movement and direction of the outer ear, allowing the dog to rotate and change the shape of the ear to capture sounds. They help a dog face the right direction when it hears a sound.

The anatomy of a dog's ear is like the human ear. However, a few differences give dogs the edge in hearing.

With over 18 additional muscles in their ears, dogs can easily control the ear flap and fine-tune the ear's position to localize sounds and hear more clearly, even from a great distance.

Dog ear length how far they can hear

Photo of Cocker Spaniel Ears

The size and shape of the pinna of the dog's ear affect its ability to hear.

If your dog has upright and erect ears, such as the German Shepherd, they have better hearing than those with large floppy ears like a cocker spaniel.

Dog breeds with a lot of hair around the ears, such as the Poodle, can struggle to hear if you don't grow the ear hair. Such dogs may experience hearing problems because of a buildup of hair and wax in the ear canal. 

The shape of some dog breeds ears can amplify the sound. Having long ears helps a dog identify sounds from far by tilting and repositioning. Repositioning ears allows the dog to hear something far away and focus on a specific sound or catch many more frequencies. 

Watching the dog's ears is the best thing to do when your dog is hearing something. Regardless of whether your dog has floppy, upright, or round ears, there are signs you can look for when your pet is listening.

The first sign that your dog is hearing something is changing how the ears are placed. You can notice your dog standing up and becoming attentive after detecting sounds from far. 

What frequencies can dogs pick up?

Photo of Border Collie

You will hear about the same as your dog at a low sound frequency, around 20 Hz.

However, it changes at high frequencies of sound where dogs are much better than people. They can hear sound frequencies at least three times as high.

Hence, dogs can hear sounds that are pitched too high for the human ear, such as a whistle. When you whistle at your dog, you make high-frequency sounds that they can hear.

Your dog's hearing is better with high-pitched sounds. Hence, they are more likely to respond to commands given a higher pitch tone of voice.

While an average adult human cannot hear sounds about 20,000 Hz, dogs hear sounds as high as 65,000 Hz. When sounds are between 3000 and 4000 Hz in frequency, dogs' ears are far more sensitive than humans. At high frequencies, dogs can detect much softer sounds than we can.

Apart from high-frequency sounds, dogs can also hear soft sounds. We measure sound intensity in decibels, with 0 decibels being the average intensity of a sound.

If a sound is too quiet for humans to hear, they give a negative decibel. A dog can hear sounds when they're between -5dB and -15 dB on average. This means your dog can hear sounds not loud enough for your ears. 

It is the predatory heritage that makes dogs able to hear high-pitched sounds. Their ability to hear high-frequency sounds means there are many more sounds for dogs to hear. They use this ability to prey on small rodents and for survival.

Also, since dogs can hear a wider frequency range of sounds than humans, they can serve as service or security dogs. Their sensitivity to loud sounds explains why some dogs fear thunderstorms and fireworks.

How far away can an average dog hear?

Photo of dog looking at horizont

It isn't easy to pinpoint the distance a dog can hear a sound.

We measure sound in frequency, pitch, and loudness rather than distance. Your dog's hearing length depends on factors such as wind, background noise, obstructions, and the pitch of the noise. 

Their hearing abilities are about five times more powerful than a human being, which is why your dog can hear what you can't. Sometimes a dog will howl at sirens minutes before you can hear them. They can hear sounds as far as 40 miles on a clear day. 

While you can hear something roughly 100 ft away, your dog can hear something as far as a quarter of a mile or even further. Their ears are designed in a formation that helps them receive sound waves more clearly than humans.

Hence, if you hear your dog barking at an unusual time of the day, pay attention because they try to alert you of a sound they hear while you cannot hear. 

Breeds by hearing

While all dog breeds have a strong hearing sense, a few groups rise above others. Different breeds have different hearing abilities.

These dogs with the best hearing attend to the sounds naturally, are confident, friendly, and love people. They will be calm in crowded situations and come with a steady temperament. 

In most cases, dog breeds with larger ears have a superior sense of hearing. However, dogs with floppy ears may not hear as well as those with upright ears like terries. Here are the dog breeds with the best sense of hearing.

Poodles

Photo of Poodle Running

Poodles love being the best, and hearing is one of their best traits among dog breeds. They have extremely good hearing senses compared to other breeds with high intelligence.

Their temperament and size make them great hearing companions for elderly deaf people. Miniature poodles are also good at their sense of hearing.

Golden Retrievers

These big dogs have exceptional ears and retrieval skills, making them perfect as hunting and service dogs. They are friendly dogs who performed exceptionally well in obedience training.

Hence you can train them to become Service dogs for the blind and deaf. They need this powerful sense of hearing when hunting or servicing. 

Cocker Spaniels

They have big ears and a high ability to hear. Since Cocker Spaniels have large ears, it is no surprise that they have a fantastic sense of hearing.

Cocker Spaniels are also sweet-nurtured dogs that make for a perfect companion and family pets. 

Labrador Retriever

Photo of Labrador Retriever

This dog has the best hearing ability among all dog breeds. It has impeccable hearing abilities that make it the perfect service dog candidate.

People use them as hearing dogs for deaf individuals, performing incredibly well. The labrador retriever also makes wonderful pets.

However, these dogs can lose their hearing as they age. A dog's age can affect its ability to hear, just as it can affect humans.

Puppies hear after 3 weeks of age, and aging dogs have hearing loss and deafness. Still, some breeds are more susceptible to these problems than others.

Conclusion

Hearing is one of the highest and most reliable senses for a dog behind its ability to smell.

A dog's hearing differs from a human's as they can detect sounds that our ears cannot. Even with floppy ears, a dog's hearing is more sensitive and versatile than yours.

Most people adopt dogs with superior hearing as service dogs or for their safety. Since they pick up unusual sounds, the dogs can ramp up security in your home. If you can hear something, your dog will have already heard it from much farther away.