Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Do Dogs Have a Good Sense of Humor? The Interesting Answer!

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on July 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

Do Dogs Have a Good Sense of Humor? The Interesting Answer!

If you have spent any amount of time with a dog, you know that they can be silly and excitable during playtime. When given the chance, dogs can lighten the mood in any social situation. So, it might make you wonder whether dogs have a sense of humor. Do they find things funny like we do? Can they play pranks on people? Do they enjoy the silliness of the games that they play?

Or do they just seem happy and excited whenever they’re active? Dogs have a good time playing and interacting with people and other dogs. They know what’s fun and what isn’t. Dogs also seem to display a sense of humor, or at least some do. While there is no scientific proof of such a claim, some theories suggest dogs have a sense of humor in their own way. Here’s what you should know.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-01-TEST

It’s All About Playfulness

It’s thought that dogs were bred to maintain a juvenile mind and thinking process, so they tend to retain a youthful sense of playfulness throughout their lives. This playfulness is comparable to a human’s sense of humor. In other words, when a dog is being playful, they display their sense of humor—in theory.

Charles Darwin was the first to observe a dog’s sense of humor. He wrote about his observations in a book entitled, “The Descent of a Man,” which was published in 1871. He offers an example of a game of “keep away,” displaying a dog’s sense of humor.

playful dog inside the car
Image By: TessDeGroot, Pixabay

Can Dogs Laugh?

Researchers at UCLA in California suggest that animals can laugh, though not necessarily in the same way that we humans do. They found that at least 65 animal species utilize what they call vocal play. The phenomenon has been observed in dogs, cows, seals, and mongooses. Dogs usually laugh by making sounds through forced panting while they play.

This may happen when they are trying to entice you to play a game of fetch or when they are trying to play a prank on you (like keeping a toy away from you, for example). A laughing dog may reveal their tongue and display a tilted “smile” that stretches across their face. It isn’t always obvious when a dog laughs, but when they’re playful, grinning, and making noises while panting, they’re likely laughing.

hokkaido dog smiling with tongue
Image By: Happy monkey, Shutterstock

Can Dogs Recognize When Humans Laugh?

Dogs can understand vocal and visual cues, and they pay close attention to our body language and tone. They watch our facial expressions and even keep an eye on our posture. So, they certainly can tell when we are laughing or crying, for that matter. They understand what it means when you’re joyful and express that joy through laughter. They will likely respond with a wagging tail and playful panting (their version of laughing). If you are upset and crying, you’ll probably get a response of whining or whimpering.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03


Researchers, experts, and even Darwin agree that dogs seem to have a sense of humor. From acting playful when a companion gets home to hiding a slipper in a corner as a joke, many dogs find a variety of ways to display their humor. It is up to us to keep an open mind and pay attention to our furry family members if we want to catch it!

Featured Image Credit: Jumpstory

PangoVet Image Speak With A Vet Online

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.