Are Dogs Typically Right-pawed or Left-pawed?
Most humans have a dominant side – the hand they use to write with typically displays that dominance. Stating the percentage of humans that are right-handed over left-handed is tough as there isn’t much empirical data on it. The best I could find was a quote from Scientific American stating that roughly 75-95% are right-handed.
But what about dogs – do they have a dominant side? Hard to tell isn’t it? There were studies done on this and the most recent, conducted in 2006 at the University of Manchester found that dogs tend to be evenly split 50-50. An older study, done in 1991 at Ataturk University in Turkey showed 50 percent of cats were right-pawed, 40 percent were left-pawed and 10 percent were ambidextrous.
So what significance does this have? Maybe none, but there was a recent study that showed left-pawed dogs may be more aggressive towards strangers. While it was interesting results, it was a fairly small sample and more studies are to be done. Someday, if the handedness turns out to be significant, it may be another factor to consider when breeding or selecting your dog!
If you want to find out which side is dominant in your pet, there are several tests that you can run – mind you, you need to do them many times over a course of day to get a true picture. Here’s an example of some of the tests:
- What paw does your pet usually ‘shake’ with if you ask them to shake?
- While your pet is lying on their back, hold a toy just out of reach and see which paw they use to bat at it.
- Place a toy or treat under a chair or table and see which paw your pat uses to reach for it.
- Which paw does your dog use to ‘knock’ on the backdoor to be let in?
- Which paw do they typically dig with?
All of these uses, if observed over time can give you an indication of which is the dominant side. Luckily with our pets, it doesn’t really matter.