But, I'm with you, JC. That dog is obviously-able to express his demeanor with the use of his face. In this case he's happy and/or excited about something and his face shows it. Yes, it includes what his jaw and tongue are doing, but that's an obviously-happy dog all the same. If he was upset--just scolded or chased by some angry person swinging wildly at him a newspaper for instance--his face would have an entirely different look to it. My friend used to say his dog was "grinning", and I know he was describing the same kind of look as what yours is displaying.
I'm all-in with the group that says a dog has to have some sort of musculature in his face. How else could they scruch-up their face when they growl? And, they darned-sure lift their lips to show their teeth for a snarl or growl, and movement can't take place without muscles to do the moving.
I read lots of posts about Cool Hand Luke without commenting, but I'm weighing in here. Besides, I like healthy, good-natured, happy dogs and it's always nice to see another one whether that's in person or in a photograph. Thanks for posting yours.
There are some reputable people in the scientific community who agree on this side of the well-debated subject. We're talking about people with good credentials and who are scientific in their approach. They support their views with things like drawings or photos such as shown on the following site after the opening comments (with those shown in quotation marks). If you've been around dogs you'll recognize the looks shown on the face of the animals depicted there as actually-occurring on canines in nature, not being artificially applied or contrived:
"Over the centuries wolves evolved an elaborate system of body language, facial expressions, and vocalizations to communicate with each other. Domestic dogs also use this means of communication, and all of these signals are easily understood by other dogs. If you can learn to interpret how your dog is feeling by observing its posture and expression and listening to it, you'll be well on the way to successful communication with your pet and better equipped to solve any behavior problems that arise.
Following are some major canine attitudes and their typical outward manifestations".
I've got to go, my dog is mad at me for ignoring him this long. It's not any facial expression giving it away--he's hitting my leg with the food bowl in his mouth!
Peace, Hal/ Howl. They're just dogs and it was just a movie--a very-good example of the latter I might add. It's one of my favorites, although I was sorry to see 'Paul Newman' die at the end. Rumor has it that he was just acting, though, and went on to live and love another day. He even made more movies (and the popcorn to go with them)!
Ed, The Airgun Tune-Meister
"We can rebuild the squirrel. Make him stronger, faster...We have the technology"---Skyler M.