Can Dogs Laugh?
For many of us, our dog is our best friend, so it’s nice to know how they feel. We can tell when and where they like to be petted, what kind of treats they like, and what toys are their favorite based on how they react. But one thing we might be curious about is if our pups have a sense of humor or if they can laugh.
Dogs with a Sense of Humor
While it’s not the most pressing question about dogs, it’s one that’s fun to wonder about. It turns out that there are dog breeds that are more playful and may have more of a sense of humor. In Stanley Coren’s article “Do Dogs Have a Sense of Humor?,” he references two animal behaviorists who set out to research this topic.
Dr. Benjamin and Lynnette Hart ranked 56 dog breeds on their willingness to chase toys and engage in games. They then sorted them into the following groups: most playful, above average playfulness, average playfulness, below average playfulness, and least playful. More playful breeds included Irish Setters, Golden Retrievers, and Miniature Poodles. These dogs are more likely to have a sense of humor when they play, playing pranks on both humans and other dogs.
Dogs like Basset Hounds, Bulldogs, and Chihuahuas seem to be some of the least playful breeds. These dogs seem to be less willing to show a humorous side, preferring to curl up on the couch and take a snooze rather than chase a ball or play keep away.
You may also wonder if your dog can laugh along with you when you chuckle at his or her antics. It turns out that it may be possible for dogs to laugh, though not in the way that we as humans think of laughing. A dog’s laugh sounds more like a pant than a typical human laugh.
Patricia Simonet at Sierra Nevada College researched laughter in dogs. She found that there was a frequency difference in the sound of regular dog panting and what she classified as laughter. She and her team also found that when they played the laughing sound in animal shelters, it seemed to calm down the dogs. When your dog is seemingly having a good time, listen for something that sounds something like “hhuh-hhuh” as well as an open mouth and their tongue out.
Like people, all are dogs are different. Some may have more personality or a greater sense of humor while others prefer to cuddle up with you and sleep the day away. Some may laugh a lot during play or when they’re enjoying themselves, while others might show that they’re having fun in other ways. It’s important to observe your own pup and see what makes them the happiest. After all, that's all we want for our four-legged friends!