Dog Moms May Be Smarter Than Dog Dads

We humans like to think that we can communicate with our pets, that when they bark or meow or chirp, we really understand them. Here's some good news for dog owners: That's actually true. And here's some even better news for female dog owners: New research suggests that women are the best at interpreting what dogs mean when they try to "talk" to us.

Woman holding dog, man in background, smiling
credit: Chris Amaral/DigitalVision/GettyImages

According to The Sun, new research from a team at Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary found that women are especially attuned to dog's growls in particular. In the study, which was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, 40 participants were asked to listen to different growls recorded from 18 dogs. The dogs were doing one of three things: guarding their food, playing tug of war, or facing off against a threatening stranger.

The volunteers were asked to classify the growls and, overall, they got 63 percent correct, which is more than the researchers would have expected from blind guessing. Meaning: People in general are good at knowing what a dog means when he or she growls.

The participants were best at recognizing the playful tug of war growl (81 percent!), but weren't as great at recognizing the threatening and guarding growls. This makes sense, since most dog owners have elicited that playful growl plenty of times on their own, while playing with their own pet.

But even though participants did great in general, the researchers noted that women stood out among the pack.

"Participants associated the correct contexts with the growls above chance. Moreover, women and participants experienced with dogs scored higher in this task," Dr. Tamas Farago wrote in the study.

So there you have it, pet moms. You do actually know best. Science says so.