Why Do Dogs Smile?

Have you ever wondered why your dog seems to smile at you? We explore the different reasons behind this behavior and what it means for your pup.

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Many people believe that dogs smile, but in reality, they are just baring their teeth in a submissive gesture. Dogs bare their teeth when they feel threatened or want to show submission. The act of smiling is a human expression that is used to display positive emotions like happiness and joy. Although dogs cannot physically smile, they can show their happiness in other ways, such as wagging their tails or leaning into you when you pet them.

What is a dog smile?

While people smile using the muscles around their mouths to turn up the corners of their lips, dogs use their whole bodies to communicate happiness. A dog smile is sometimes accompanied by a softening of the eyes, a wagging tail, and may even include a playful bow. Dogs may also extend their necks, raise their heads, and open their mouths slightly when they are feeling happy and friendly.

The science behind why dogs smile

It’s no secret that dogs are some of the most popular animals on the planet. They’re known for their loyalty, their playful spirits, and their adorable faces. But have you ever wondered why dogs smile?

As it turns out, there’s a scientific explanation for this canine expression. When dogs are happy or excited, they produce a chemical called dopamine. This substance activates the pleasure centers in their brains, which in turn makes them feel good. And as we all know, when people feel good, they tend to smile.

So next time you see your furry friend smiling at you, rest assured that it’s not just because they’re happy to see you. It’s also because they’re physically enjoying the good feeling that comes from being with you.

The benefits of a dog smile

A dog smile is a wonderful thing. Not only does it show that your dog is happy, but it can also be a sign of good health. A healthy dog will have bright eyes, a shiny coat, and a tail that wags energetically.

The different types of dog smiles

Dogs generally convey happiness and excitement by smiling, but there are actually different types of dog smiles that can tell you more about how your pup is feeling. Here are four types of smiles you might see on your dog, and what they mean.

1. The Open-Mouth Smile

This is the most common type of dog smile, and it generally indicates happiness and excitement. An open-mouth smile often accompanies other happy body language cues like a wagging tail, play bows, and bouncy movements. If you see your dog smiling at you with an open mouth, it’s a good sign that they’re feeling friendly and would like to play or be petted.

2. The Closed-Mouth Smile

A closed-mouth smile is often called a “submissive grin” because it’s usually seen in dogs who are trying to show deference or submission to another dog or person. This type of smile is often accompanied by body language cues like averting the gaze, lowering the head, or exposing the belly. If you see your dog smiling at you with a closed mouth while they’re also doing one of these submissive cues, it’s best not to approach them or try to touch them because they may be feeling fearful or threatened.

3. The Partial Smile

A partial smile is basically a combination of an open-mouth and closed-mouth smile—the corners of the mouth are pulled back but the teeth are not exposed. This type of smile is often seen in dogs who are feeling playful but also a little bit unsure or hesitant about engaging in playtime. If you see your dog smiling at you partially, try approaching them slowly and see if they want to play or if they back away.

4. The Tongue Curl Smile

This type of smile is characterized by the corners of the mouth being pulled back while the tongue sticks out slightly and curls up at the ends. It’s often seen in dogs who are feeling relaxed and content, especially after eating or taking a nap. If you see your dog smiling at you with a tongue curl, it’s a good sign that they’re happy and comfortable in their current situation.

How to get your dog to smile

Dogs are social animals, and they language of dogs includes many different types of communication. One of the most common ways that dogs communicate is through their facial expressions, and one of the most common facial expressions is smiling.

There are a few different ways that you can get your dog to smile. One way is to simply offer them a treat. Another way is to pet them in their favorite spot. And another way is to play with them and have some fun!

When your dog smiles, it’s a sign that they’re happy and relaxed. So, go ahead and give them a smile back – it’ll make their day!

Why do some dogs not smile?

Smiling dogs are not always a sign of happiness. Dogs can also bare their teeth in what is called a “submissive grin” or “fear grin.” This is often seen in new puppies who are meeting other dogs for the first time, or when an adult dog is meeting a dog much bigger than him. The dog is trying to show that he is not a threat and is submissive to the other dog. If you see a dog baring his teeth and his body is stiff and his hackles are up, this is not a friendly smile!

The history of dogs smiling

Dogs have been known to smile for centuries. In fact, the first recorded instance of a dog smiling was in 1609 when English author Thomas Nashe wrote about a dog who “grinnes withall”. But it wasn’t until the late 1800s that dogs began to be Associated with smiling in popular culture.

It is believed that the first time dogs were specifically bred to smile was in England during the Victorian era. At that time, there was a growing trend of people keeping pet dogs and there was also a newfound interest in animal psychology. It was around this time that English writer and dog breeder Edward Ashenhurst began breeding what he called “smiling dogs”.

Ashenhurst’s theory was that by selectively breeding dogs who naturally smiled, he could create a breed of dog that would be more agreeable and easier to train. He also believed that these dogs would be more likely to make people smile, which he saw as a positive trait.

Unfortunately, Ashenhurst’s experiment was not successful and the dogs he bred did not retain their smiles into adulthood. However, his idea that dogs could be bred to smile has remained popular, and it is still common for people to breed dogs specifically for their smiling abilities.

Dogs smiling is a popular phenomenon in pop culture. In movies, TV shows, and commercials, dogs are often shown with their mouths open and tongues lolling out, looking happy and carefree. But why do dogs smile?

There are a few theories. One is that dogs learn to smile by watching humans. Dogs mimic our facial expressions, so it stands to reason that they would learn to smile if they see us doing it. Another theory is that dogs smile when they’re happy. When they’re wagging their tails and panting with their tongues out, it could be that they’re just expressing pure joy.

Whatever the reason, dogs smiling is a phenomenon that has charmed the human race for centuries. And there’s nothing wrong with that!


We may never know the true answer to this question, but it’s safe to say that dogs probably smile because they’re happy. Maybe they’re happy to see us, or they’re just enjoying the moment. Either way, it’s a sign of goodwill that makes us feel good, too.

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