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Dogs Can’t Look up: The Real Truth About this Urban Legend

‘Dogs can’t look up’. It’s an urban legend that seems to persist, and it’s one of those urban legends that people never seem to be quite sure about. 

Is it true? 

Can dogs look up? Or can’t they look up? If they can look up, how far can they look up?  

We may have question after question, but the reality is that this is a myth. And for some reason, it’s a myth that never seems to go away.

In this article, we’ll take a look at why this urban legend is so persistent. And if there’s actually any truth to it at all. Keep reading, as we ask the experts, ‘Can dogs look up?’.

Myth or reality?  

Let’s get straight to the point. Dogs can look up. It’s a misconception that they can’t look up, or raise their head in such a manner that they can look directly towards the sky. 

If your dog couldn’t look up, they’d never really be able to see you, their owner. They’d never see those squirrels they’re always chasing in the park; they’d never start barking at birds in the trees. 

Dogs can look up, that’s the reality.

Why do so many people seem to ask the question about dogs looking up? 

It’s an urban myth, but what’s interesting is how common this misconception is. It’s one of the most popular search terms when it comes to dogs. We’d bet that the majority of people out there are never quite sure if it’s a true statement or not - after all, it sounds plausible, right? 

The exact origins of the myth are unclear, and it’s unclear how far back we have to go to discover when (or where) the myth originated. The most commonly held view is that the myth was popularized with the release of the 2004 movie ‘Shaun of the Dead.’ 

This British zombie comedy has an iconic scene where it’s claimed that a dog can’t look up. The character making the claim isn’t exactly a trustworthy one, leading to the ‘fact’ being disputed in the film. 

The question of whether dogs can or can’t look up took on a life of its own, and after the release of the film, it became a widespread myth that still persists many years later.

So is there any truth to the saying? Can’t dogs look up? 

While the dog myth is just that, a myth, there could be said to be some element of truth in the hearsay - or at least, a logical point from which the saying itself has been blown out of proportion and exaggerated! 

Dogs can certainly look upwards, but it’s also true that they can’t look up in the same way that their human owners can. This is where we get the basis for the mythical question and saying. 

What is my dog’s anatomy like?

Dogs can look upwards, but not at the same angle that human beings can. It’s a simple case of dogs having different anatomy to humans - they also have a different perspective from us. 

Dogs can’t move their heads upwards to the same angle that a human can. Their spines simply don’t allow that sort of movement. This does mean that dogs can’t look straight up, not like humans can, but they can still look upwards. 

This also helps to perpetuate the myth, as dogs spend most of their time with their heads down. Their different perspective ensures that they are more focused on the ground and what’s ahead of them than humans are.

Dogs are naturally closer to the ground, anyway, and spend a large portion of their lives sniffing the ground (unless you get them this dog ramp for bed like this). But this doesn’t mean they can’t look up when they want to.

For good measure…

Dangle a treat in the air, and you’ll quickly realize that this saying is just not true. You’ll quickly see your dog looking up, then going for the treat!

Now you know the truth! 

Now you know the truth. Dogs can, in fact, look up! While it’s true that their ability to look upwards isn’t quite so pronounced as their human dog owners, dogs do have the ability to look upwards. 

The idea that our canine friends can’t look up is simply an urban legend. It’s a myth that seems to have been started by a comedic line in a movie. But it’s a harmless rumor, so it’s not a saying that our four-legged friends should take to heart!

Why not bookmark our guide to dogs looking up, so you can impress your friends with the real facts about this common misconception?

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