People frequently assume that once a dog has actually raised hacklesthat that is displaying leading aggressive behavior. While this might be the case and also one should always be respectful that a dog’s present of reactivity, there room multiple factors for this phenomena taking place. The is good to become more knowledgeable about dog human body language so that us may be able to understand the unspoken signals provided off by ours canine friends.

You are watching: Hair on dogs back stands up

In fact, dogs are not the only species to show evidence the what is well-known as piloerection. Birds, rats, cats, and also even humans have an involuntary an answer of the nervous device where a sirloin of adrenaline renders the muscle contract causing the hair to stand upright. Have actually you ever had goose bump or feeling the hair walk up ~ above the ago of your neck or heard an experience referred to as “hair raising”?

This physical solution may be prompted by feelings of fear, aggression, arousal, lack of confidence, anxiety, defensiveness, gift startled, or even plain excitement! searching dogs have been recognized to exhibit piloerection when focused with intensity when pointing a bird. Interestingly, the hair raising usually i do not care noticeable approximately thirty secs after exposure to the trigger while taking two minutes come relax.

On a dog you can see the increased hair across the shoulders in a large swathe. Occasionally you might observe hackles up over the shoulders and also on the lower back just over the tail. Occasionally you notification a stripe going all the method down the back. Piloerection is an ext obvious on dogs wit short, stubborn coats whereas long, fluffy hair provides it more daunting to spot. Poodles and also poodle kind coats make it harder to distinguish also


There is not wealth of data and there can be discrepancies, yet it is thought that the dogs who have actually hackles raised primarily over the shoulders or withers have actually a short level that confidence and have fear or even terror. If extreme, they might strike out if cornered or pushed over your threshold.

If the elevated hair develops a line every the method down the ago and tail, the dog might be more confident in walking on the offense in acting out overt aggression.

The 3rd pattern can be the dog who has hackles elevated at the shoulders and above tail, however smooth under the center of the back. This dog is thought to be in a conflicted emotional state, thus having the ability to be reactive and also unpredictable.

See more: What Is A Steering Wheel On A Ship Called ? What Is The Steering Wheel To A Ship Called

As fascinating together it is to watch piloerection and also determine a feasible cause, it is more valuable come assess every one of the dog’s human body language to identify what is walk on through the emotional state in ~ hand and how come best address it. In my occupational with dogs, the majority of the possibly aggressive are reacting the end of fear. One need to be cautious as a bite driven by are afraid can it is in dangerous, do no mistake! The distinction is in how you analysis the problem and also design your approach in help the dog and also owner.

Laura Helmer

November 7, 2015

My dog raises his hackles around specific people. I live in an apartment so over there is a lot of turnover in residents. Some new people he will go right up to tail wagging and also kisses galore. Other new people, the hackles walk up, the starts barking in ~ them and I need to pull him come me. This occasionally happens as soon as meeting brand-new people back to back. Meets 1 person and he’s fine 5 seconds later one more person comes by and also he goes all Cujo. Time doesn’t typically make him like them any better. Any kind of thoughts?