How many whiskers do dogs have on each side of their upper lips?

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Dogs can have up to 20 whiskers on each side of their upper lips, depending on the size and breed of the dog. These whiskers, known as vibrissae, pick up shifts in airflow so that a dog can gather information about its surroundings. This information may include size, location and shape of nearby objects, people or animals.

The whiskers on a dog’s face are responsible for about 40 percent of a dog’s overall sensory information, demonstrating just how important a dog’s whiskers are for picking up and analyzing information. The whiskers act as a first line of defense against objects, people or other animals that may pose a threat. They warn the dog that something is approaching, and that extra caution should be taken.

A dog will also use the whiskers on his face to locate objects in much the same way a blind person uses a cane. A dog can move his whiskers very slightly, picking up information about texture and placement with ease. Dogs will often get very close to an object to use their whiskers, which are able to sense information almost as well as their eyes and ears.

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