what kind of music do dogs like?

What Kind of Music Do Dogs Like?

You’ve probably come across an advertisement on Spotify that showed a music playlist designed for dogs. Did it ever get you wondering, would your dog actually like listening to them as well? More importantly, would they even understand it enough to enjoy it? Well, here’s an article that outlines everything you need to know about dogs and their taste in music.

Before this, did you know about Laurie Anderson’s concert in 2010 in Sydney, Australia, that was just for dogs? There’s more. Later in Times Square New York City, she revisited this same tactic, whereby, she performed another concert only for the dogs, while their owners could wear a pair of headphones to tag along. Surprisingly, the dogs seemed to react positively to it! Amazing, right?

Interestingly enough, the results from the research done by the Queens University in Belfast drew mind-blowing conclusions. The dogs’ heartbeat, cortisol levels and behavioral activities (barking or lying down) were less stressed when they heard certain genres of music. It’s a good idea to leave some music on when you’re leaving your furry friend alone at home. Not all types of music are suitable for your dog. Some may cause shakiness in them while others would peacefully put them to sleep. On a different note, audiobooks appear to work wonderfully too! They are fairly soothing, especially among shelter dogs.

puppy enjoying the sound of a music

Just like Humans, Dogs also Have their own Personal Preference of Music

Music that soothes dogs

Helping your dog unwind could start off with something you’re listening to on the radio. If your dog is shaking because of a thunderstorm, you could consider turning on some music. But it’s not just any music…a new study revealed in the Journal of Physiology and Behaviour that your canine prefers listening to the sound of reggae and soft rock more than any other types of music.

As per the study conducted by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (SPCA), researchers from the University of Glasgow played different genres of music for dogs residing at a shelter home in Dumbarton, Scotland. The findings showed that dogs spent more time resting on the floor while music was being played, irrespective of the genre. Mostly, dogs reacted positively to soft rock and reggae. However, researchers also suggested that each dog had their own taste in music too! That’s because altogether the reactions of the dogs to different genres were mixed, highlighting the fact that dogs could possibly have different choices for music.

The psychological and behavioral changes observed in dogs were very clear when they were exposed to a variety of music. However, we’ve listed how dogs behave differently in different genres of music:

  1. Heavy Metal: Be sure of the fact that your dog hates heavy metal type of music. Studies have shown that heavy metal music induces shakiness and barking among dogs, preventing them from getting any sleep. In essence, your dog’s reaction to heavy metal would be the same as your parents do. If you love heavy metal and own a dog, make sure that you blast your Metallica songs in your headphones and not in front of your dog.
  2. Rock: When it comes to rock music, your dog will surely enjoy grooving to soft rock music. But it’s not hard rock. Hard rock and heavy metal induces almost the same kind of anxiety and stress in dogs. A little soft rock wouldn’t harm your dog, but will rather bring in positive behavioral changes in them. It eases them, lowering their heart rate by 40 – 60 beats per minute and putting them in a positive and happy mood.
  3. Reggae: Oh yes! Your dog doesn’t like reggae, they love it! If you’re combining a playlist for your pet, reggae should be on top. Relating this to the SPCA study, when reggae music was being played, dogs showed a significantly positive change in their behavior. They were seen to be relaxing, lying down and closing their eyes, which could clearly show results of how much dogs love listening to it. Now both, you and your dog can enjoy listening to Bob Marley together!
  4. Pop: Dogs aren’t really a fan of pop music. How this was measured is by the dogs’ reactions at the shelter home. Pop music isn’t very soothing, neither is it very hardcore, but dogs don’t really react to pop music. It can be said that they neither enjoy it nor get stressed. Experts have guessed the reason behind this is because pop music is more commonly played than any other genre, and the sound of pop music sounds more like human voices to dogs.
  5. Classical Music: Classical is an all-time favorite for dogs. Listening to classical can reduce their anxiety levels, improve their mood, reduce blood pressure and be a regulator in response to stress. The rhythm and melody of classical music are what your canine’s find soothing.
  6. Motown: Because dogs are awesome, and they love whatever’s being played. Motown’s not all that bad for your dog. It has a similar reaction in dogs just like reggae. Your dog is definitely going to dace to Motown at times!

Music helps shelter home dogs

When we decide to adopt a dog, we usually go to shelter homes and ask about the most well-behaved and friendly dog. Considering the environment of the shelter homes, they are not always a friendly place where dogs can stay. Obviously, it’s better than the street but still not as safe as you would keep your dog in your house. Why? The reason behind that is because there are many different breeds of dogs and many of them are barking or growling, which makes other dogs scared. In that case, playing music at shelter homes can help create a quieter environment. As we’ve already mentioned, playing music helps to keep them calmer and they spend more time peacefully. This also helps to control the dogs while making them learn good behavior.

Why Does Your dog’s Howl when They Hear Music?

While you’re enjoying a little music, your precious little furry friend might be howling along at the back. It is frustrating we know, but there’s nothing unusual about it. They’re just being themselves. It’s just another part of your dog reacting to music while listening to high-pitched noises. Don’t misunderstand your furry friend! He’s not trying to bother your ears, neither is he trying to show off his remarkable soprano singing skills. In fact, howling can be dated back to the dog’s wolf heritage. Wolves often converse with their pack members by howling. You’ll notice that your dog does not only howl back to certain types of music but to high-pitched noises, television sounds, ambulance sirens and even to cell phone ringtones as well. Howling not only means the gathering of all the members in one spot but is also a simple way of them celebrating their oneness. Although your dog has been staying with you, in your house or apartment all their life, you cannot really shake the wild instincts passed on through their ancestors!

Another interesting fact about dogs howling while listening to music is that the dog thinks he’s hearing other dogs anywhere off in the distance calling him out. In response to that, your dog tries to recognize the communication by answer back loudly.

dog with the owner listening to music

So, Do Dogs Really Like Music?

In short, yes, they absoluetely do! But they can be picky about their music. It has to be soothing and rhythmic which will put your dog to peace. So, you may just stop playing Black Sabbath for a while and try a little bit of Beethoven. Your dog’s going to thank you for it.

Bottom Line

Music is an awesome tool that can be used to regulate your dog’s mood. While excessive music can be harmful than beneficial as the noisy environment might bring in stress for your canine. It’s best if you could choose some relaxing music that would enhance the environment around your pet dog. Additionally, you could also teach your dog to switch the music system on and off, which will help them decide themselves when they want to hear music and when they don’t.

Did music improve your dog’s stress level? Let us know in the comments below!


  1. Cathy Madson, How to Use Music to Calm Your Anxious Dog, Preventive Vet
  2. Natalie Wolchover, What Type of Music Do Pets Like?, Live Science
  3. Stanley Coren PhD., Do Dogs Have a Musical Sense?, Psychology Today

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