Few creatures are as strong, intelligent, or noble as German Shepherd Dogs. These are serious animals, developed in the late 1890s as the ultimate canine—powerful, bold, ever faithful.
They are not known for goofiness, however, so that’s why this video of GSDs doing the classic canine head tilt is so hilarious.
Why do dogs tilt their heads? No one really knows, but AKC Family Dog columnist Dr. Stanley Coren, professor emeritus in the department of psychology at the University of British Columbia, theorizes that it has to do with the shapes of their skulls.
Coren conducted an Internet survey of 582 people, which he reported on in Psychology Today. Of these, 62 percent said their dogs made this move. Breaking it down even more, he found that 71 percent of people who had dogs with dolichocephalic (narrow and long, like Greyhounds) and mesaticephalic (wider, intermediate-length muzzles, like Beagles) said their dogs did the head tilt. In contrast, only 52 percent of people with dogs who had brachycephalic skull shapes (think Bulldogs) would make this move.
Coren concludes that this is a statistically significant difference, and “clearly suggests that head shape, and the size of the muzzle does influence head tilting in dogs.”
Still, like many of the burning scientific questions of our time, Coren says that more research is needed. This study, he says, “is a first step toward finding the answer.”
Until we uncover the truth, there's nothing we can do but watch and smile.