The function and cause of head tilts in dogs

Anecdotally, dog do tilt their heads, when they are “puzzled” by something. However, there are also speculations that head tilting responses in dogs improve hearing or vision. Others claim, that head tilts provide advantages for social interactions and communication. In two projects we will approach the various rumors and speculations why dogs tilt their head scientifically.


Project 1: The Function of Head Tilts in Dogs.

This project will investigate the generell function of head tilts in dogs by comparing dogs of different breeds and sociability. The study is questionnaire based.

Project 2: Lateralization of Head Tilts in Dogs in Response to Auditory Stimuli

This project will investigate the lateralization and strength of head tilts in dogs in response to emotionally relevant auditory stimuli. Further this study aims to identify any potential relationships between the type of stimuli, the responding head tilt, and different “personality traits” of the dog, such as impulsivity, excitability, anxiousness, and aggressiveness.


Data aquisition for both projects has been finished and we are currently processing and analysing the data. Thanks for your interest in these projects and to everybody who has participated to this research. We will update this page with results as soon as possible.