Are Most Dogs Left or Right Handed? A New Study Reveals the Answer
Dogs are members of our family, but there's plenty that we just don't know about them. But thanks to a new study, we're finally learning a little bit more about the four-legged friends who live in our homes. Have you ever wondered if your dog is left- or right-handed? According to Psychology Today, a new study published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science was aimed at determining how many dogs are left-handed and how many dogs are right-handed.
In the study, researchers analyzed data from a food-retrieval task involving nearly 18,000 dogs. Dog owners were asked to obtain a plastic or cardboard tube that was wide enough for a dog's paw. The owners were then asked to place a treat near the end of the tube to retrieve the treat. The procedure was done three times before owners were asked to characterize their dogs' behavior based on whether they used their left or right forepaw. The owners were also asked to classify their dogs based on their age group—puppy, young adult, adult, or elderly—and sex.
According to the owners, about 74 percent of the 17,901 tested dogs showed a clear paw preference, while the remaining 26 percent used both paws equally during the food retrieval task. Of the dogs that showed a clear preference, 58.3 percent were right-handed. 41.7 percent of the dogs that showed a paw preference were left-handed. Comparatively, only 10.6 percent of humans are left-handed, which proves that dogs are far more likely to be left-handed than humans.
The sex of the dogs also affected their handness. Of the female dogs used in the study, 60.7 percent were right-handed and 39.3 percent were left-handed. Among the male dogs, left-handedness was more common—56.1 percent were right-handed and 43.9 percent left-handed. These findings are similar to humans, as men are more likely to be left-handed than women.
Researchers also found that the age of male dogs, specifically, affected which was their dominant paw. Right-handedness was more common in older male dogs than younger male dogs.