Anything Left-Handed > Blog Posts > Fun and games > Can a dog be left-handed?

Can a dog be left-handed?

dogIt turns out that dogs do show a clear preference for their left or right paw and there’s roughly a 50:50 split between left-pawedness and right-pawedness across all dog breeds. Here are a few tests you can do to find out whether your dog is a ‘southpaw’:

  • Have your dog sit, and then get up and walk. Which paw do they lead off from?
  • When you ‘shake hands’ with your dog, which paw do they offer most often?
  • When trying to get a toy out from under the sofa, which paw do they use?

But whereas left-handedness in humans makes you superior in lots of ways (well, we think so anyway), what does it mean for dogs?

Well, it seems left-handedness in dogs also gives you an advantage. Left-pawed dogs are generally preferred for police and military use and also as guide dogs because they are easier to train (this is mentioned in a few articles but we cannot find a research reference for it.  There IS research showing that left-pawed dogs are more aggressive and that may explain the military use) . And a recent study by the Vrije University in Amsterdam has proven once and for all that left-pawed dogs are quicker at learning and better than problem solving (Report: Paw Preference Correlates to Task Performance in Dogs). In the study, the team of researchers selected an equal number of left-pawed and right-pawed dogs to complete some basic intelligence tests. The team found “that dogs departing with the left front paw perform significantly better than dogs departing with the right front paw.”

So let’s hear it for our four-footed lefty friends, and all the dog owners out there do let us know in the comments here if your dog is a lefty or a righty and what effect you think this has.

You can read more about ‘left-pawedness’ here.

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Posted in Fun and games, Left handed life, Research

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7 comments on “Can a dog be left-handed?
  1. Nick McCormack says:

    Check out Fiddler Crabs, many are lefties.

  2. Nathan Cullen Terry says:

    My Siamese cat is left pawed , funny I have to turn of the litter maid so she has to use both sides but then I have to scoop the poo… She is with it!

  3. Patricia says:

    Just wondering if there has ever been a study to see if there are left handed cats?

  4. Jill Jeanpierre says:

    My Bull Mastiff, Bronson Bailey Bixby the third is left pawed. He always shakes with left paw and he grabs my hand with his left paw if he wants a belly rub. I would.t change that for the world, he’s just like me! Only smarter and cuter lol.

  5. Dr Billy Levin says:

    The reason most humans are right handed is because we have a dominant left language brain that feeds the right side of our body. As dogs have no left language brain they are not naturally handed(pawed). Both their brains are equal. Thus which paw the offer is purely co-incidence. In ADHD people the right brain is dominant so they have a tendency to left handed. Some ADHD’s are right handed because they were forced to use right hand but will still use left eye or foot.

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