Boerboel, canine expressions and body language

Canine facial expressions

canine facial expresions

1. Threat ..2. Uncertain threat.. 3. Weak threat.. 4. Faint threat - the dog is very uncertain ..5. Fear.. 6. Expression of uncertainty in presence of dog of superior rank

If you want to become really good friends with your dog, it is essential that you get to know its facial expressions and body language so that you can understand it.

As the dog is a pack animal, it has a certain status or standing in the pack. This order is maintained by means of signs and signals. Observe your dog carefully and notice its posture at different times. For example, watch your dog's ears when its fawning over you; when it senses something suspicious and again when it is attacking. In each instance, the ears are positioned differently. The same goes for the teeth; when the teeth are bared and the nose is wrinkled, this means a threat; when the nose is not wrinkled but the curves of the mouth are drawn back, this is an expression of fear or uncertainty. (See diagrams above).

Canine body language

canine body language
1. a self-confident, dominant animal in the presence of another dog;
2. threat; .. 3. trying to impress (tail wags from side to side); ..
unconcerned attitude;.. 5. uncertain threat. .. 6. posture when eating;.. 7. subordinate attitude;.. 8. uncertainty between threat and defense;.. 9. 10. 11. subordinate attitudes in the presence of a dog of superior rank.


Many things can also be expressed by the position and movement of your dog's tail. We all know what it means when a dog wags its tail or puts its tail between its legs.

In the wild, the most important gestures for self-preservation in a pack are those of superiority and subordination. Even in the most vicious of fights, as soon as one dog shows any sign of subordination, the fight will usually end. For the victor, it is usually enough that the adversary admits its position of inferiority. There are very few exceptions to this rule in the wild - the human being, however, unfortunately being one of them.

Like most other carnivores, the canine marks his territory with scent. These signs are used to indicate to other canines, as well as to other members in the pack, territorial boundaries. Normally, canines mark their territory with urine.

This behavior has been carried over into the domestic arena and male dogs also like to mark their territories, using protruding or conspicuous objects to do so. They will then sniff these objects very carefully to ascertain what other dog or dogs have passed their way. Obviously, the dogs who make their marks first, so to speak, are the males enjoying the highest social order. Interestingly too, the higher the mark is placed, the greater the marker's standing. That is why dogs try to urinate as high up as possible. As there are often many objects to mark, the dog has to be sparing with his urine and so releases only a few drops on each object.

Besides using their sense of sight and smell extensively, dogs also have a well-developed sense of hearing and use sound to communicate too, although this is to a lesser extent. Puppies, for example, will whine and growl to express feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The mother and other pups in the litter respond to these sounds accordingly. Barking and howling, on the other hand, make it possible for dogs to establish contact over greater distances.

By observing your dog carefully, you will begin to understand your dog and learn its language. For example, watch a bitch with her pups and you will discover, for instance, that the severest punishment she metes out is taking the misbehaving pup by the scruff of its neck and shaking it. Try this with your own pup (but only if it deserves this very severe form of punishment!) and you will see how effective it is.

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