It’s widely agreed that women are emotionally more sensitive than men, which works to their advantage when communicating with man’s best friend. A study by a team at Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary has found that women’s higher emotional sensitivity helps them to better understand what a dog’s growls mean.

The recording of growls from 18 dogs engaged in one of three activities—food guarding, play, and responding to a threat — were played to 40 adults. The human participants were tasked to classify the growls they heard under these activities.

The results, published in Royal Society Open Science, showed that human participants correctly classified 81 percent of play growls, 60 percent of the food growls and 50  of the threatening growls. But more importantly, the study revealed that women accurately identified the canine's intentions 65 percent of the time, as compared to 45 percent for men.

With this new discovery, the dog could soon be referred to as a woman’s best friend instead of man’s best friend.


This article first appeared in Pets magazine, 6 June 2017