Why Does Dog Hair Stand Up: 3 Reasons Why Dogs’ Fur Stands Up

why does dog hair stand up

When you pet a dog, have you ever noticed their hair standing on end? It’s a pretty strange phenomenon, but there is actually a scientific explanation for it.

In this blog post, we will discuss the science of why dogs’ fur stands on end and what purpose it serves.

We will also take a look at some of the most common myths about this behavior. So if you’re curious to know why dog hair stands up, keep reading!

Why does a dog’s hair stand up?


There are a few reasons behind this behavior. it includes:

To make the dog look bigger

A dog’s hair standing on end is commonly known as ‘hackles.’ This is an involuntary reaction that is controlled by the dog’s nervous system.

The hackles are usually raised in response to a stimulus, such as fear, anger, or aggression.

By making the dog look larger, the hackles help to intimidate potential threats.

Additionally, the raised hackles often serve as a warning sign to other dogs, indicating that the animal is not to be messed with.

While hackles can be raised for various reasons, they typically indicate that the dog is feeling agitated or stressed in some way. 

To help the dog cool off

Another reason why dogs raise their hackles is to help them regulate their body temperature. Dogs don’t sweat as humans do, so they rely on other methods to keep cool.

Raising the hackles helps to circulate air around the dog’s body and allows heat to escape. This is especially important for dogs with thick fur, as they can overheat very easily.

To help the dog dry off

In addition to cooling the dog down, raised hackles can also help to dry them off.

When a dog’s fur is wet, the hackles will stand up in order to allow air to circulate and evaporate the moisture.

This is why you may notice your dog’s fur standing on end after a bath or a swim.

What are some myths about dogs’ hair standing up?


Now that we know the science behind this behavior let’s take a look at some of the most common myths about it.

Myth: Hackles are only raised when a dog is feeling aggressive.

Hackles are the stiff, erectile hairs along a dog’s back, and they are usually most noticeable when the dog is feeling either aggressive or fearful.

However, hackles may also be raised in response to other stimuli, such as when a dog is excited or aroused.

In some cases, hackles may even be raised as a sign of submission, as when a subordinate dog greets a more dominant one.

Thus, while hackles are often associated with aggression, they can actually indicate a wide range of emotions and behaviors.

As such, it is important not to jump to conclusions about a dog’s state of mind based on these cues.

Instead, take into account the animal’s entire body language and behavior before making any assumptions.

Myth: All dogs have hackles.

This is not true! Hackles are actually quite rare in dogs. Hackles can also be raised when a dog is excited or fearful.

Breeds with short coats are more likely to have hackles, but they can be found in dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Hackles are not necessarily a sign of aggression, but they can be an indicator of a dog’s emotional state.

If you see hackles on your dog, it is important to pay attention to their body language to determine whether they are feeling threatened or simply excited.

They are most commonly seen in breeds with short coats, such as Dobermans, Boxers, and Rottweilers.

Myth: Dogs only raise their hackles when they are scared.

Dogs are often said to only raise their hackles when they are scared.

While fear is certainly one of the most common triggers for this reaction, it is not the only emotion that can cause hackles to standing up.

Hackles can also be raised in response to anger, frustration, or even excitement.

This is because the hackles are relatively easy to raise and lower and serve as a way for dogs to communicate a wide range of emotions.

So there you have it! Now you know the science behind this curious behavior. Next time you see a dog with its hair standing on end, you’ll know exactly what’s going on.

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