Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Whiskers


Who doesn't love dog whiskers? Come on, you know you love them! According to an article on Psychology Today, in their Canine Corner, dog whiskers are technically called vibrissae and,
of those areas of the brain that register touch information in the dog, nearly 40 percent of it is dedicated to the face, with a disproportionately large amount of that dedicated to the regions of the upper jaw where the vibrissae are located. You can actually map each individual vibrissa to a specific location in the dog's brain, suggesting that great importance is assigned to information from these structures.
Whiskers provide dogs with information about the world around them. They detect nearby objects, relaying details about shape and surface texture. As most folks know a dog's nose is its most powerful sensory tool. Dogs, for the most part, don't have the best eyesight and actually rely on their whiskers to assist with the identification of objects close at hand and in less than ideal lighting situations.

I've yet to find an article that addresses what I've always called "whisker bumps." These are the bumps on all dog's faces that have whiskers growing out of them. They're located away from the primary cluster of whiskers and seem to always come in pairs. Andy has two on each cheek/jowl, two on his chin, and one above each brow. Do these whiskers have a different name? Are they more specialized? I don't know what exactly they are but I will say this...they're adorable!

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