Why Are Dogs Gentle With Eggs – What You Need To Know

With the ability to tear a cuddly toy apart in seconds it’s always a wonder why dogs are so gentle with eggs. This article discusses the reasons why.

Some dogs are gentle with eggs because they have a soft mouth reflex. This ability usually resides in certain breeds with hunting dogs having a gentler bite created from their natural instinct to retrieve game when hunting.

Although it can be said that dogs are generally gentle with eggs, this may not happen all the time. Some dogs do not have as much instinct to be gentle with delicate items.


Why Are Dogs Gentle With Eggs

Gentle Through Instinct

The main reason certain dogs can carry an egg around in their mouths without breaking it is due to instinct. For hundreds of years dogs, particularly certain breeds have been trained to retrieve game during hunting. An important concept of retrieving a game during a hunt is that the dogs bring the game back without destroying its integrity. Certain breeds are better at this than others, with retrievers having the best soft mouth reflex.

My own dog is very soft-mouthed and this is partly because he is a Golden Retriever. In comparison to some other dogs, I know he is able to keep the same toys for years after I have bought them. Although he likes the odd tug of war game, it doesn’t usually result in a broken or ripped toy. Golden Retrievers are one of the best-known dogs for being soft-mouthed and as previously mentioned this is down to the natural instinct they have to carry items gently to their owners.

Gentle Through Training

If there is one thing you must know, it is that dogs will only understand the use of a soft mouth reflex, if they are taught at an early age to be gentle. It does not always work out that soft-mouthed dog breeds use this instinctive feature.

I mentioned earlier that my Golden Retriever is very soft-mouthed and is careful with his toys. Well, this is only partly instinct, the rest was a process of consistently teaching him to be gentle. In order to effectively train your dog to be soft-mouthed, it is best to start as early as possible. Simple principles start with how puppies socialize with each other. Often a litter of puppies will be seen playing and biting each other, this is where they learn what their bite does to others as their siblings will yelp if any bites hurt.

As a new puppy owner, you should be carrying on this same principle, playing with your dog will often result in them nibbling at you occasionally or even biting. Let out a loud and sharp yelp to startle them, then tell them the command “no” on occasions when they are obviously biting and “gently” when it is during play or you are giving them a treat and don’t want your hand bitten off. The difference between the two commands is so your dog knows the difference between stopping completely and being a little less rough during play.

Gently Through Temperament

Sometimes you will get a dog that has a gentle temperament. That’s not me saying your dog is aggressive, it’s just that some dogs are less boisterous. If you do have a dog that has a gentle temperament, you may notice behaviors that are more submissive, such as walking behind you on walks and falling to the ground when confronted by other dogs. Although how you raise your dog can create different temperaments, it’s usually just something that they happen to be, whether they are a large dog or a small dog.

Golden retriever with an egg

What Stops a Dog From Breaking An Egg

Aside from traits like, temperament and instinct do dogs actually think about what they are biting. It’s easy to dismiss this as a thoughtless act, but your dog is most likely thinking about the item they are holding. This tends to be difficult to understand as your dog may not have seen what is inside an egg.

Most of the time we link a dog’s extreme sense of smell to such things as knowing whos bad and whos good and whether it’s going to rain or thunder. But the fact of the matter is, that eggs are a biological item and something associated with birth and infants. In the wild, you may see a dog eating an egg, but when it comes to our domesticated friends they may feel like the egg is fragile because in their mind it may contain an infant.

Why Are Dogs Gentle With Babies

At the time of writing, I have recently embarked on my own parenthood journey and discovered the way our dog acts around the baby. It was in the early weeks of pregnancy that we started to notice some behavioral differences in Cooper “our beloved Gold Retriever”, one of the major differences was the time he spent around my wife, suddenly I was tossed to the side and he even switched position during the night, so he could sleep over her side of the room.

This shows that dogs know a lot more than they give off. Most of the time this can be attributed to their sense of smell, knowing that pregnancy gives off some interesting smells that only dogs can sense. The same could be said for an egg and the fact that even though they are not aware of the being without an infant inside they still take care not to damage it. Empty eggs will of course have similar scents to that of baby chick-filled ones and so dogs are more likely to kee care of them than other items.

Dogs are family-orientated creatures and the pack is more important to them than anything. They learn how to be gentle from birth and carry this forward into their families. Protecting babies as they grow is a common trait many dogs have.

Should You Put A Whole Egg In Your Dogs Mouth?

Here’s the sticking point, you shouldn’t really be putting a raw egg into your dog’s mouth. However, with such an interesting experiment to conduct with your dog, lots of owners will end up doing it anyway. Remember, your dog can get sick from ingesting bacteria on the outside of the egg as well. So all in all I wouldn’t recommend doing this, but if you are going to remember to wash the outside of the egg thoroughly before putting it into your dog’s mouth.

Encouraging Soft Mouth Behavior

Carrying sticks or toys around is something that should be encouraged. Besides being a natural instinct for dogs, it is a welcomed distraction from everyday domestic life. Let’s face it your dog would much rather be running around outside or knawing on a piece of bark, even a rock….believe me I’ve seen it.

Encouraging soft-mouthed behavior is best done whilst your dog is still young. however, this is not always possible due to the stresses of puppyhood. Getting your dog softer toys can help towards teaching them to be soft with their bite and even giving them textured toys can make them think more about how hard to bite something.

If your dog becomes toy aggressive with a toy and you think they are going to break it open, just take it away until they have calmed down. Most of the time this crazy biting behavior is because they are getting engulfed by the task and forgetting what they are doing. Letting your dog carry a stick around during their walk can also help encourage a more soft mouth. If you have ever wondered why dogs love to carry sticks around, check out our other article, “Why Do Dogs Carry Sticks On Walks”

why is my dog pacing


Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into why dogs are so gentle with eggs and why they can hold them without breaking them. If you liked this article don’t forget to check out our homepage for more interesting articles all about dogs and the wonderful lives we share with them.

Dean Lissaman

As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. Being an outdoor enthusiast has inspired me to create the ultimate resource on relating both dogs and the outdoors. For more information on me check out my about page.

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