Do Dogs Smile? What’s Really Behind That Adorable Smile?

Do Dogs Smile? What’s Really Behind That Adorable Smile?

Does your dog ever give you that adorable smile? With their tongue hanging out and the corners of their mouth turned up, it’s hard not to think they’re happy. But can dogs smile?

What is a dog smile?

Dogs don’t have the same facial muscles as humans, so they can’t smile similarly. However, they can make their faces smile by pulling back their lips and showing their teeth. This is often accompanied by other signs of happiness, such as a wagging tail and relaxed body language.

Why do dogs smile?

There are a few reasons why dogs might smile. One reason is to show submission. When a dog feels submissive, it will often pull back its lips and show its teeth to say, “I’m not a threat.” This is especially common when dogs are greeting new people or dogs.

Another reason dogs might smile is to show excitement. When a dog is happy and excited, it may pull back its lips and show its teeth as a way to express its joy. This is often seen when dogs play or see their favorite person.

Finally, dogs may also smile in response to human smiles. Dogs are very good at reading human emotions and know that smiling is a sign of happiness and friendliness. When they see us smiling, they may smile back to show us they’re happy, too.

How to tell if your dog is smiling

There are a few things you can look for to know if your dog is smiling:

  • Lips pulled back: When a dog smiles, it usually pulls back one or both lips. This may expose all or some of its teeth.
  • Tongue hanging out: A dog with a relaxed tongue hanging out is another sign of a smile.
  • Wagging tail: A wagging seat usually signifies happiness and excitement. If your dog is wagging its tail and has its lips pulled back, it’s probably smiling.
  • Relaxed body language: A calm dog will have a soft, loose body. Its ears will be up, and its tail will be wagging. If your dog displays all of these signs, it’s probably smiling.

Is it ever a sign of aggression?

Sometimes, a dog’s smile can be a sign of aggression. However, this is usually accompanied by other symptoms of attack, such as growling, snarling, or stiffness in the body. If you need clarification on whether your dog’s smile is friendly or aggressive, it’s best to err on caution and give it some space.

How to make your dog smile

There are a few things you can do to make your dog smile:

Spend time with your dog

 Dogs love spending time with their humans. Playing, cuddling, and petting your dog are great ways to make them happy.

Give your dog lots of love and attention

 Dogs need love and attention like people do. Tell your dog how much you love them, and give them plenty of pets and cuddles.

Train your dog

 Training your dog helps them to learn good behavior and makes them feel confident. When your dog does something suitable, praise them and treat them.

Feed your dog a healthy diet

 A healthful diet helps your dog feel its best. Make sure to feed your dog high-quality food appropriate for their age and breed.


Dogs smile for various reasons, including submission, excitement, and happiness. If you need clarification on whether your dog’s smile is friendly or aggressive, it’s best to err on caution and give them space. You can do a few things to make your dog smile, such as spending time with them, giving them lots of love and attention, training them, and feeding them a healthy diet.

Bonus section: Dog smile facts

  • Some breeds of dogs are more likely to smile than others. For example, Doberman Pinschers, terriers, and cattle dogs are known for their smiley faces.
  • Dogs can learn to smile on command. Some dog owners train their dogs to smile by rewarding them with treats or praise when they pull back their lips.
  • Smiling can be contagious between dogs and humans. When we smile at our dogs, they may smile back. This is because dogs are very good at reading human emotions.
  • Smiling is a good sign of a healthy and happy dog. If your dog smiles regularly, it’s a good sign that they feel good.

How to take great photos of your dog smiling

If you want to capture your dog’s adorable smile on camera, here are a few tips:

Get down to your dog’s eye level

 This will help you create a more engaging and personal photo and make your dog feel more comfortable.

Use natural light

 Natural light is always the best choice for photography and is incredibly flattering for dogs. If you’re shooting indoors, find a spot near a window.

Get your dog’s attention

 There are a few ways to do this. You can call their name, make a funny noise, or hold up a treat or toy.

Be patient

 Getting the perfect photo may take a few shots. Don’t get discouraged if your dog doesn’t smile right away. Just keep trying, and eventually, you’ll capture their ideal smile.

Here are a few additional tips for getting great photos of your dog smiling:

  • Catch your dog in action: Smiling dogs are often the most natural-looking dogs, so try to capture your dog’s smile while playing, running, or doing something they enjoy.
  • Use a fast shutter speed: This will help you freeze the action and prevent blurred photos.
  • Feel free to experiment with different angles: Try shooting from above, below, and to the sides to see what looks best.
  • Use props: A squeaky toy, a treat, or even another dog can help to get your dog’s attention and make them smile.
  • Edit your photos: Once you’ve taken a few great images, you can use a photo editing program to crop, adjust the brightness and contrast, and remove any distractions.

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