According to a new study, your dog is a big fan of Bob Marley. And Harry Styles. Frank Ocean, too. Your pup absolutely loves George Ezra. They wag along to Jessie Ware. And howl in harmony with Hozier.
Essentially, the study, which involved 30 pups and guidance from an animal behavior specialist, found that dogs are suckers for pop music. Their process in coming to this conclusion was pretty simple: An assortment of music was “rated” using a dog-friendly heart monitor and reactionary cues interpreted by the animal behavior specialist, such as hanging their tongue out of their mouth, lying down in a comfortable position, panting or barking.
In the end, softer music genres such as indie or chill-house made dogs the happiest, calming them down. Pop music excited them. And fast, loud music, like heavy metal, clearly agitated the hounds. The researchers were even able to put together a top 10 and bottom 10 list using their findings.
Music for Dogs
Here are the artists whose songs made dogs happiest, in order of how much happiness they inspired:
- Lewis Capaldi
- George Ezra
- Bob Marley
- Jessie Ware
- Frank Ocean
- Harry Styles
- Etta James
- The Weeknd
And here are the artist whose songs made dogs most agitated:
- Mariah Carey
- Led Zeppelin
- Camila Cabello
- Katy Perry
- One Direction
- Kanye West
- The Darkness
I personally have some immediate concerns about these findings, mostly because I like a lot of the artists who ranked poorly, but I also refuse to pass judgment on our precious dogs. (But also, do they not believe in a thing called love? C’mon, man.)
It seems that the preferences dogs showed for certain artists had more to do with tempo and general sound than anything all that specific, though. “The research suggests that music with a slow tempo is the most popular with dogs due to the relaxing nature of the beat,” says Josh Williams of Dog Friendly Retreats, the company behind this study. “There isn’t any direct reason that these artists did well in particular. However, the top 10 is made up of artists whose songs often have lower beats per minute and whose voices are usually either lower or lilting. Of the songs from these artists that did have higher beats per minute, the dogs often expressed an excitable response, or even an agitated response, suggesting that the dogs’ responses were predominantly due to the beat or pitch of the artist’s voice.”
That said, there was some evidence that suggests dogs can have unique music tastes, so no need to freak if your pooch loves headbanging to Slipknot. “Looking at the research, there were some anomaly results that suggested a positive reaction to some of the less favored music,” Williams says. “For example, six of the 30 dogs who participated in the study showed an excitable but not negative reaction to Katy Perry. All six dogs showed cues that are synonymous with excitement in dogs, such as jumping, smiling, tail wagging and a lolling tongue. In contrast, many of the other dogs expressed negative reactions to Katy Perry, such as panting, barking and even whining.” (Katy Perry gets a mixed bag — no surprises there.)
If you have trouble taking these results seriously, just know that there have been a couple other studies that essentially support these findings: One in 2017 found that dogs “prefer reggae and soft rock” to other music genres, and another in 2012 suggested that they enjoy classical music but hate death metal.
I guess that means I have to “No Woman, No Cry” my way to this kind of connection with my pup.