The mere mention of whiskers immediately makes you think of cats, right? I’d say it’s because of all the cartoons we watched as kids. However, dogs have whiskers too. But not many people paid attention to the long hairs growing out of the dog’s snout.
That begs the question: Do Corgis have whiskers?
The answer is pretty simple – yes, Corgis have whiskers. But what are whiskers? What’s their purpose? Is it safe to cut them off? You don’t have to worry as I’ve covered these – and many other topics – in this article. Without further ado, let’s dive in.
What Exactly Are Whiskers?
Whiskers, also known as vibrissae, are coarse hairs that can be found around a dog’s jaw, muzzle, and above their eyes. Follicles at the base of these unique hairs are packed with nerves and are in charge of sending sensory messages to your dog’s brain.
Well, that would be the short-and-simple explanation, anyway.
These delicate hairs are as sensitive as human fingertips. One might even say that while a human’s sense of touch is in the fingers, dogs “touch” the world with their faces.
So, if you ever touch your dog’s whiskers, don’t be surprised if they respond with a blink or flinch.
And before you get a chance to ask, no, it’s not the dog equivalent of a mustache.
Unlike humans, dogs of all ages grow whiskers. Pups don’t need to reach puberty to grow whiskers. As a matter of fact, a dog’s whiskers are among the first hairs to develop and are present at birth.
Whiskers Structure 101
Whiskers are longer and thicker than regular dog hairs – and their roots are up to three times as deep, too. They grow out of small mounds on the chin, muzzle, and above their eyes.
These mounds are filled with connectors and nerves and can have multiple whiskers growing out of them.
The whiskers are deeply embedded in these mounds. That is what makes whiskers so delicate and sensitive.
They’ll even bleed really bad if you pull them out forcefully!
Whiskers have an endothelium-lined blood sinus between the outer and inner layers of the dermal portion of the follicle with a rich nerve supply.
Yup, that’s right – whiskers are packed with nerves and blood vessels.
Because of this, each whisker is an intricate receptor that sends information to your pup’s brain.
What Are Whiskers For?
Whiskers aren’t just a facial enhancement; they serve some pretty important functions.
These hairs are tuned sensory equipment that guides your dog through daily activities. Much like antennas on insects, whiskers help your dog navigate their environment by providing additional sensory input.
And while whiskers are called “tactile hairs,” they don’t feel anything.
These coarse hairs are simply transmitting information to sensory cells whenever they detect movement or objects. By detecting changes in air currents, whiskers can transmit information about nearby objects’ size, shape, and speed.
But that’s only part of the story about whiskers on dogs.
Whiskers on your Corgi play other roles as well. Let’s take a look at each of those individually.
Whiskers As Radar Sensors
Corgis, just like any other breed, have great senses of smell and hearing. Their vision, on the other hand, isn’t as good. Dogs have difficulties focusing on close objects.
Whiskers help your Corgi “see” things that are right under their nose.
As I said above, when your Corgi approaches something in its path, it stirs up the air currents that bounce back when they hit something solid.
Whiskers can detect the faintest vibrations caused by these changes in air currents hence why they act like radar detectors.
Your Corgi’s whiskers are especially important during the dark. Without them, your Corgi would be bumping into obstacles left and right.
If your Corgi gets too close to the object, its whiskers will send sensory messages to the brain to avoid collision with that object.
This ability is essentially what helps your Corgi avoid getting injured when running around in the dark.
Oh, and I bet you didn’t know this:
Some breeds utilize whiskers as hunting tools. Whiskers help them pick up on moving objects because of the moving air that bounces back and is picked up by whiskers.
That makes whiskers especially useful for hunting because they alert the dog about the location of prey.
Corgis aren’t hunting dogs, but it’s a fun fact, nonetheless!
Whiskers As A Form Of Protection
These delicate hairs respond well when touched by the smallest particles.
When a speck of dust falls on a whisker above your Corgi’s eye, your pup will blink and shake its head to fling it off. This reaction will protect your pup’s eyes that could otherwise be injured by the smallest dust particles.
You can see this in action by lightly brushing the whiskers above their eyes. Instinctively, your Corgi’s eyes should close immediately.
When you are walking your Corgi outside, whiskers that encounter a tall blade of grass or a thorny bush will notify your dog to back up. By doing so, your Corgi can avoid being scratched or poked in the eye.
Whiskers can also help your Corgi determine if they can fit through a narrow space when they approach it. Whether it’s a slender space between the fence or a small area in your living room, your Corgi won’t get stuck with the help of its whiskers.
Furthermore, dogs can perceive the information received from whiskers as a threat. They can then use this information against the predator in defense.
Whiskers As Body Language
Besides the critical impact of whiskers, they can also show your Corgi’s emotions! And that is especially true during communication with other dogs.
A happy and curious Corgi will lift its whiskers above its eyes. The sight of this expression is adorable and loved by owners.
However, if your furry friend feels frightened, they will point the whiskers towards the potential threat.
It’s usually followed by other body language, like teeth showing and growling, indicating that the dog isn’t happy and is ready to defend itself.
Can You Cut Your Corgi’s Whiskers?
Technically, you could trim Corgi’s whiskers because scissors can slice through them – but that doesn’t mean you should do it.
Some people cut whiskers off when grooming their Corgi, not knowing the importance of their whiskers.
Even though it gives a “cleaner” look, you should never cut off your Corgi’s whiskers.
If your Corgi’s whiskers get cut off, that could lead to your dog having problems navigating its surrounding. Your furry pet can then run into more obstacles; therefore, the risks of them getting injured are higher.
Additionally, plucking your Corgi’s whiskers can be a stressful and uncomfortable experience for the dog. That’s because they have a lot of nerve endings at the base.
Luckily, dog whiskers can grow back, so you don’t have to worry if your groomer cuts them off by accident. Make sure they know not to cut them in the future, though.
Common Reasons For Whiskers Loss
It’s common for a dog’s whiskers to break, splinter, or fall out. But you Corgi will never lose all its whiskers at once – unless something’s wrong.
It may be due to alopecia, more commonly known as hair loss. This disorder affects a dog’s skin and immune system. As it varies in severity, it can be gradual or acute.
The second possible reason for whisker’s loss is mange, also known as mite infestation.
Symptoms of this disease are:
- Hairless patches
- Oily bumpy skin
- Skin discoloration
- Bacterial infestation with smelly odor
Another disease causing the whiskers to fall off is follicular dysplasia. It usually manifests as hair loss or abnormal hair growth.
If your Corgi shows any of these symptoms, make sure you take it to the vet for proper treatment.
Do Corgis Have Whiskers? – Conclusion
So, the answer to the question: “Do Corgis have whiskers?” is yes, they do have whiskers – and they need them very much.
Generally, dogs need whiskers for navigation as their vision isn’t the best. Your Corgi’s whiskers are sensitive to the vibrations in air currents. When the air moves, your furry pet can determine the presence of obstacles near him.
The whiskers located above your Corgi’s eyes protect its vision – much like eyelashes protect our eyes.
And by observing not only the tail but whiskers as well, you could be able to read your Corgi’s emotions, too. Different positions of whiskers show different emotions!
You should never cut your Corgis whiskers as it can lead to him being disoriented. Not only that but plucking whiskers out can be very painful for your beloved Corgi.
Don’t worry, though; whiskers can grow back if your groomer has cut them off.
Like any other follicles, whiskers are prone to diseases, making them fall off. Don’t hesitate to visit your local vet for advice as well as treatment for your Corgi.