No matter what breed your dog is, she can probably hear more than you can. Pet Place reports that dogs hear a wider frequency range of sounds than humans. So don't underestimate your pooch if she ignores your calls, she'll come running when you open a can of her food.
Superior Sense of Hearing
Your dog's ears are wired to hear a broad range of audible -- and sometimes inaudible to humans -- frequencies, but that isn't the only thing giving her seemingly bionic hearing. Her ears, including the way they are shaped and can move almost like satellite dishes, help direct sounds of all levels down into the hearing center in her ears. It is superior hearing that alerts your dog, making it next to impossible to surprise her.
Alert to Sounds, Effective Watch Dogs
All dog breeds have highly developed hearing, but it is the ones that can detect the faintest sound that make the best watch dogs. According to Pet Place, the breeds that are excellent watch dogs because of their alert natures and sensitivity to sounds include American Eskimos, Boston terriers, Chihuahuas, French bulldogs, Mini pinschers, schipperkes, standard and miniature schnauzers, and Norewegian elkhounds. All of these breeds have large ears that stand up, making them perfect receptors for even the sound of a pin dropping, but there are a number of floppy-eared breeds that made the Pet Place list, too. These long-eared breeds are airedales, Irish setters, Pekingese and Lhasa apsos.
Hearing Service Dogs
Dogs' keen hearing has made them effective candidates to become service animals for the hearing impaired. Hearing dogs are trained to signal their people when they hear things like a knock on the door or a doorbell, the telephone ringing, an alarm clock, a baby's cry or a smoke alarm. The Hunting Dog reports that any breed can be trained to be a hearing dog, although small- and medium-sized breeds are favored for this job. Hunting dogs like spaniels, pointers and setters are good choices because they've been trained to be alert, not just to sights and smells, but sounds as well, when tracking and flushing out game.
Keeping Your Dog's Ears Healthy
Whatever breed your dog is, keeping her ears healthy is vital to maintaining her hearing. Vet Info notes that floppy-eared breeds are more vulnerable to ear problems, but that any breed can experience troubles with their ears. Watch for ear scratching and red, inflamed ears as a sign of allergies. If your dog paws at her ears and tilts her head or you notice that her ears are warm to the touch and have an odor, she may have an ear infection. Ear pain and itching can also be signs of parasites, like mites. See your vet immediately for these conditions so that your dog can be treated as soon as possible.
Check your dog's ears frequently and remove any debris she may have picked up from an outdoor excursion. You can wipe the exterior of her ear with a cloth or moist towelette treated with an over-the-counter ear cleaner, but don't insert objects into her ears. Cleaning your dog's ears and being aware of possible problems will help maintain her super hearing for years to come.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.