Animals | Humor
Is Your Dog a Lefty or a Righty?
Research shows lefties are more common in dogs than people. Here’s how to tell which your dog is.
We live in a right-handed world that doesn’t want to make room for left-handed creatures. From car cup holders to three-ringed binders, the world caters to the righties.
Left-handed people have been scorned since biblical times. The Book of Matthew preaches that lefties are “cursed, into everlasting fire.” Even the word “sinister” originated with the Latin meaning “on the left side.”
Most lefties are disregarded because only 10.6% of the population is left-handed and archaeological evidence shows this has not changed in 500,000 years. Handedness is partly genetic and can be predicted before birth by the fetus’s position in the womb. (Two right-handed parents have only a 10% chance of having a left-handed child. That number jumps to 26% if both parents are lefties.)
Scientists are not entirely sure why some people are born left-handed. One theory is the “fighting hypothesis” — people are born left-handed because it gives them a competitive advantage as a fighter or athlete. (50% of pitchers are left-handed, and good luck blocking a punch from a lefty.)
Therefore, scientists have theorized that the reason why there are more right-handed folks is that most people are lovers and not fighters. In other words, human evolution bends toward cooperation over competition.
Other studies have found a correlation between creativity and left-handedness. This might be why some of the most creative minds were lefties — Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt, Lady Gaga, Ludwig Van Beethoven, and possibly…your dog.
That’s right. Your dog might be a left-handed virtuoso.
In a recent study with 17,901 dogs, researchers determined which paw dogs preferred using the ultimate doggie motivator — treats. The researchers had owners place a treat at the end of a long tube and see which paw they used to get the treat. They found that 58.3% were right-handed and 41.7% were left-handed.
Interestingly, the study also found that male dogs were more likely to be left-handed. (This mirrors humans studies — more men are also left-handed.)
But unlike humans, dogs are far more likely to be lefties. Researchers are not entirely sure why there are more left-pawed dogs than left-handed people, but it might be because no one is forcing your dog to open his own dog food with a right-handed can opener. Your environment does influence handedness.
In fact, I bet you never even noticed which paw your dog preferred. But now you must be curious…
You can replicate this study pretty easily; for smaller dogs, use a paper towel or toilet paper roll. For larger dogs, use a poster tube. The tube must be wide enough for his paw to fit inside the tube. Now place a treat at the end of the tube.
Note: You will need to run this test at least three times to get an accurate gauge of your pooch’s dominant paw.
Other ways to tell if your dog is a lefty or righty
- Which paw does he shake hands with?
- Put peanut butter on his nose and see which paw he use to remove it.
- Place a treat under something like a couch and see which paw he uses to grab at it.
Once you determine your dog’s dominant paw, you can then torture him by making him use right-handed scissors and giving him spiral notebooks. Enjoy!