A dog’s fur is reflective of internal health, the quality of hair covering the skin and hair patterns all over the body act as indicators. Hair patterns usually differ in different species of dogs; however, a few patterns can turn out to be similar. The most significant type of hair pattern would be the whorl, also known as a swirl.
Dogs have swirls on their bums and other parts of their body; these swirls are indicative of behavior and intelligence. According to a study, dogs with counterclockwise swirls are more intelligent than dogs with clockwise swirls.
Fur babies have a lot going on that interests their owners from time to time. Especially when they are growing and learning new things, they undergo a wide range of developments, emotionally, psychologically, and physically. However, physical changes are more noticeable and are usually indicative of something. Things like weight gain, stronger flexes, and changes in hair color, growth, and pattern are a few examples.
Why Do Dogs Have Swirls On Their Bum?
A swirl is a circular type of hair growth from a visible center point; it could be projecting towards the center or away from it as well. Most animals, including humans, have swirls on their bodies.
Where Do Dog Swirls Come From?
When taking care of a dog, one is sure to come across a lot of things. From residual poop to sweaty limbs to fur all over the living space, these are a few things one gets used to while taking care of a dog. Fur patterns can come into notice while grooming sessions. Swirls aren’t only found in dogs, though they are more prominent in animals.
Even in dogs, the swirls on butts aren’t the only types of swirls present in the body. And they aren’t appearing because one is new and isn’t sure how to take care of a dog. There are many regions swirls can be present. These swirls are also called cowlicks or crowns. They are found in humans, in the shape of a crown on our heads, and in other hair-coated animals.
Humans also have these crowns on their heads, sometimes more than one. In humans, it is often related to depicting certain health conditions, while some people also believe it to be an indicator of intelligence. Genetics has a role to play in the presence of these as well.
Swirl Significance in Other Animals
Swirls aren’t that significant for depicting anything extreme, but they can be helpful to determine other things. In cows, hair swirls in the forehead can reflect an agitated temperament, as compared to cattle with swirls between the eyes.
These characteristics are kept in mind while selecting cattle, so as to make induced breeding an easier process for the owners. Cows with swirls between the eyes or below the eyes are usually calmer.
In horses, swirls between the eyes are believed to show obedient nature. At the same time,
facial swirls (also known as feather whorl) are believed to indicate their friendly nature.
In dogs, they may indicate a lot of things. But in addition to behavior and temperament in dogs, some people believe they are also indicative of their intelligence.
Types of Swirls
About four-fifths of dogs in the world have swirls majorly in these four areas- the elbows, their bums, the back of the forelimbs, and the chest area. However, swirls can be found in other areas, depending on the species. Some species have swirls on their head and shoulders as well.
A few examples of breeds that have swirls on their body are Labrador, German shepherd, Chihuahua, Border terrier, Cocker Spaniel, etc.
There are two types of swirls, depending on the direction of hair growth. All swirls (whorl in scientific terms) have a center; if the hair is growing in a circular direction away from the center then it is called a simple swirl. When the direction of hair growth is pointing towards the center point, forming a tuft, the swirl is called a tufted swirl. Simple swirls are found to be more common in nature.
Swirls can also be called clockwise or anticlockwise, depending on the direction of hair growth. These swirls are an interesting key to studying the behavior and intelligence of dogs, significantly in growing dogs. Studies also show that the swirls on the left side of a dog’s body are counterclockwise, while the ones on the right side of a dog’s body are clockwise.
These swirls can be found on a total of ten regions on a dog’s body, though not as consistent as the swirls present in the four staple regions. Bilateral whorls like brachial axillary and ischiatic swirls show a pattern of swirls rotating in opposing directions to make the overall fur coat more symmetrical.
However, not all animals or species have nearly the same patterns. There are always exceptions and special cases. For example, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has a ridge of hair that grows in the opposite direction of their back hair. Thus this unique characteristic earned them their name.
Swirls on the bum or any other body part are not something to get scared of. It isn’t a drastic indicator of a disease or of ill health. They can indicate behavioral patterns or temperament of a dog, but otherwise, they are not a reason to panic.
Checking the Facts
However popular a study or the number of samples taken, it is always interesting to verify the results by oneself, if possible. In a case study in a guide dog school in Australia, only around 40 of the dog students ever graduate in a batch. Among the ones who do, most of the ones are right-pawed and have counterclockwise whorls.
An experiment to figure out whether a dog is left-pawed or right-pawed, put a snack or a toy just slightly out of the dog’s reach. The first paw they use to get the toy or snack can be easily used to figure out if they are left-pawed or right-pawed.
Observing which paw they put forward first while walking or which paw they use to hold a bone also helps to determine paw preference. Canines have paw preferences, though there have been cases of ambidextrous canines as well.
A Few Other Findings Related to Dog Swirls
- Some studies also show that these swirls differ in relation to the gender of the dogs. The presence of clockwise swirls beneath the jaw is predominant in males, while females have more counterclockwise swirls. In the same way, the opposite is true for the swirls in the left thoracic region in dogs.
- Scientifically, this is attributed to the concentration of hormones in the fetus before birth. At the same time, it is also believed that left-pawed dogs have mostly counterclockwise swirls on their body.
- At the same time, shelter dogs and homeless dogs are observed to possess more counterclockwise swirls on their body than domesticated dogs. It also shows some sort of a link between the swirls and their general temperament. Since hair swirls become more prominent with growth, most of these attributes can be checked when dogs have matured.
- Though not encouraged to judge a breed or a particular dog by its swirls, it is helpful to look for swirl patterns to predetermine behavioral patterns. Since a number of dogs are chosen to undergo training to serve in a particular type of field, swirl patterns become essential.
- In a study that considered the data of domesticated dogs from two countries, Norway and Hungary, there was another conclusion. Several swirls and a counterclockwise direction of hair are related to a higher state of energy and a more excitable nature.
- A 1943 dated theory on metabolic activity says that the center of a tufted swirl represents regions of high metabolic activity. At the same time, the relationship between coat length and coat thickness is also related to elbow swirl direction. Short-hair-coated dogs are found to possess significantly more swirls in a particular direction on each elbow.
In conclusion, there is no concrete proof or reasoning behind swirls on a dog’s butt. But according to ethologists, they can be mere indicators of behavior or just patterns. However, until more studies are carried out to prove this, there are no proper confirmations to this.
Also, not all species are the same. And the location and climate of a species play the biggest role in generational and evolutionary changes. What is evident in one species may not stand true for another until more studies are conducted to prove it.
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