Dogs have been our loyal companions for thousands of years, but how much do we really know about them? In this fascinating article, we uncover some little-known dog facts about our furry friends that will leave you amazed and address some myths we've believed for far too long.
In the world of pets, there are few creatures as captivating as dogs. Their loyalty, intelligence, and unique personalities make them extraordinary companions, enriching our lives in countless ways. But behind those wagging tails and soulful eyes lies a fascinating world of cool dog facts that many of us have yet to explore.
Dogs are man's best friend for a reason. They are excellent companions, loyal protectors, and a great source of entertainment and comfort. Though our fuzzy pals have been domesticated, they are still driven by instinct, and that contributes to their behaviour, personality, and quirky habits.
Why do dogs hate the mailman? Why do they greet other dogs nose to butt? These are all inherently canine behaviours that are driven by a subconscious instinct to protect and explore.
Join us as we delve into the secret lives of dogs and uncover some fascinating facts about dogs that help explain their behaviour. Get ready to be captivated by the incredible world of our beloved four-legged friends.
Dog Breed Facts
Every dog breed has its own quirks. Some are natural-born hunters, some prefer a pampered lifestyle. Some are big and muscular, others are slender and athletic. Some breeds have unique traits and abilities that no other breed has.
For example, Basenjis are the only breed that doesn't bark. Instead, they yodel. The Norwegian Lundehund can bend its head backwards so far that the top of his head touches his back, like some sort of contortionist. And that doesn't even scratch the surface of weird dog facts and abilities.
To get started with our list of fascinating dog facts, let's start with some of the most basic dog breed facts:
✔️ There are 360 official dog breeds according to the FCI - the World Canine Association. The AKA recognizes only 200 breeds, and the CKC, only 187.
✔️ What is the largest dog breed? The Great Dane is sometimes considered to be the largest dog breed, but it is neither the tallest nor the heaviest. Irish Wolf Hounds are known to grow up to 35 inches tall, compared to 32 inches for the Great Dane.
✔️ When it comes to weight, the Mastiff tips the scale, with males weighing up to 220 lbs. The heaviest dog on record was an Old English Mastiff named Zobra who clocked in at 345 lbs back in 1989. Truly a giant among canines.
✔️ Taking the top position for the smallest dog breed is the Chihuahua. This pooch has a huge personality stuffed into a teeny tiny body. The average Chihuahua weighs only 4-6 pounds and stands 6-9 inches tall. Surprisingly, that is huge compared to the actual smallest recorded dog. Milly the Chihuahua weighed only 1 lb and stood less than 4 inches tall. Now that's a pocket pooch!
✔️ The oldest recorded dog breed is the Saluki. Dating back to 329 B.C. in Egypt. They were loved for their speed and stamina, which made them adept hunters. They are actually one of the fastest dogs in the world too, just behind the popular greyhound.
Interesting Dog Facts About Their Anatomy
Dog bodies are weird, cool, fascinating, and confusing sometimes. Breed plays a big role in how their bodies grow and what physical abilities they will have, but some traits are universal among all dogs.
Here are some fun dog facts about their anatomy that might surprise you:
Who doesn't love puppies? They're cute, they're little, and they give us that much-needed dopamine fix that makes life worth living! Let's explore some unique and interesting facts about puppies:
✔️ Puppies are born deaf and blind. Most puppies' eyes don't open until around 2 weeks of age, and ears until 3 weeks. This means for the first few weeks of life, puppies are completely dependent on their mothers.
✔️ A litter of puppies can have more than one dad. During a heat cycle, female dogs will mate with more than one stud if possible, leading to a variety of buns in the oven.
✔️ Dogs can reproduce a lot. Much more than you think. One female dog, one male dog, and one average litter of puppies can produce as much as 66,000 offspring over the course of 6 years. That is so many puppies and a great argument for neutering or spaying your pooch.
✔️ Puppies need a lot of sleep. Young puppies need as much as 15-20 hours of sleep a day. Though it may not seem like they are doing much, they are growing constantly, and that requires a lot of energy.
✔️ Why are puppies so heckin cute? It's actually an evolutionary trait. Many baby animals are cute when they are young to help them survive. Their unbelievable adorableness actually triggers a nurturing response from their mother or caregiver. So, next time you lose your mind at the sight of a cute puppy, just remember, you fell right into their trap!
Dog Nose Facts
Dogs tend to explore the world nose first. They walk with their snout to the ground and will follow their nose almost without question. Here are some wild and fun dog facts about your dog's most important sense:
✔️ Your dog's sense of smell is over 1000 times better than yours, which is fortunate because they have fewer taste buds. This means that the smell of your dog's food plays a big role in how it tastes to them. Dog foods with a stronger scent, like raw food or wet food, will likely be more appetizing to a picky pooch.
✔️ Dog noseprints are unique, like human fingerprints. Dog nose prints are so unique, that there is technology being developed to use nose prints for the identification of lost pets.
✔️ Your dog's nose can sense more than just smells. Dog noses can detect heat and thermal radiation, making them capable hunters even in low light. Even blind dogs can hunt to some extent because of this nasal superpower.
✔️ Is butt-sniffing really like the dog version of a handshake? Actually, no. It's more like a dog reading another dog's resume. Dogs release a variety of pheromones through their anal glands, so when your dog takes a whiff, he's actually getting valuable information about their potential new friend.
✔️ Dogs can smell your feelings. Sort of. You give off different pheromones depending on your mood, and in cases of extreme emotion, your dog will be able to smell that. If you've ever found your dog to act oddly clingy when you are sad or frustrated, it's likely because you unconsciously communicated your mood through your sweat glands.
Dog Vision Facts
Some dogs can chase a ball for 100 yards and snatch it out of mid-air, and others sit in the yard and wait for the ball to bonk them on the head. These cool dog eye facts might help explain your dog's aptitude for fetch or lack thereof:
✔️ Dogs see the yellow and blue spectrum the best. Choosing dog toys that use these colours will be easier to see and make playtime more exciting. Dogs are red-green colour-blind too. So throwing a red ball in green grass may not make for the best game of fetch.
✔️ Dogs can't see in the dark, but they are better equipped to see in low light than us. They have a light reflective layer, called tapetum lucidum, behind their retina to help improve their night vision.
✔️ Another dog eye quirk is their third eyelid. This inner lid acts as a protective layer and lubricates the eye by sweeping back and forth to spread moisture.
✔️ Dogs have a wider field of vision than people but also have a smaller overlap of the left and right eyes, which is needed for depth perception. This means dogs have worse depth perception than humans.
✔️ Dogs typically have 20/75 vision. This means that what they see at 20 ft is similar to what we can see at 75. This doesn't mean can't see long distances, it just means it won't be as clear and details would be difficult to make out.
Dog Behaviour Facts
The way your dog acts is largely determined by their training, their environment, their routine and their natural canine instincts. Habits and routines can be taught at any age, and dogs are always learning by watching you, but some lessons are just built into the breed and species.
These fun facts about dog behaviour might just shine some light on your dog's goofy personality and explain some of their funny but less endearing qualities.
✔️ Have you ever seen your dog running in his sleep? It's not a coincidence. He is dreaming. It's widely believed that dogs dream in much the same way that we do. So if he looks like he's chasing a ball in his sleep - he just might be!
✔️ If you yawn in front of your dog, don't be surprised if he yawns back. The social phenomenon of mirroring behaviour is not limited to people. In addition, yawning is not exclusively an indication that your dog is sleepy. Dogs yawn to express anxiety, anticipation, and excitement.
✔️ How does your dog always know when his dinner is late? Much like us, dogs have a circadian rhythm that gives them somewhat of an ability to tell time. They recognize and predict daily events like meals, walks, and bedtime.
✔️ Doggy potpourri, AKA when your dog rolls in something smelly, actually has a purpose. It has two. Either your dog is picking up the scent to show off to other animals the treasures he has found, or he's trying to mask his own scent from predators. It may be gross to us, but for them, it is a symbol of either pride or security.
✔️ Dogs take, what seems like forever to find the perfect spot to poop, but why? This is probably one of the silliest dog facts, but we promise the theory has merit. A study shows that dogs try to poop in alignment with the Earth's magnetic fields. It's unclear why or if it's a conscious effort, but under calm magnetic field conditions, dogs prefer to align on a north-south axis. Weird, right?
Funny & Weird Facts About Dog Ownership
With 35% of Canadian households owning a dog, it's clear that these creatures make us happy, keep us entertained, and provide much-needed companionship.
Owning a pet can be challenging, rewarding, fun, and frustrating. Dogs require daily attention, exercise, and a proper diet. Pet ownership is hard work, but the payoff is an adorable cuddle buddy who thinks you are the bee knees.
Here are a few random dog facts that every pet owner should know:
✔️ Petting your dog is good for you. This bonding experience can lower your blood pressure (and theirs too), reduce stress, and help your body release the feel-good hormone, oxytocin.
✔️ 45% of dogs generously allow their humans to share the bed with them. Unfortunately, approximately 21% of dogs snore, and 25% of people snore, so it may not be the most restful sleep.
✔️ Tripping over your dog is the second most common injury related to owning a dog, with dog bites being the first. Your clingy pooch isn't trying to hurt you, but their debilitating case of FOMO causes them to often be underfoot, especially if you are holding food.
✔️ Dog Owners are more active. In general, dog owners end up being more active in pursuit of providing their dogs with a healthy and active lifestyle. It could be as simple as daily neighbourhood walks or summer activities like hiking with dogs.
✔️ Dogs are chick magnets. Studies have shown that when accompanied by a dog, men were more successful at getting women's phone numbers. That's right guys, man's best friend is now man's best wingman!
Common Dog Myths That Most of Us Believed Were True!
In the years before the internet, we used to hear a "fact" and just ran with it. For an embarrassingly long amount of time. Now that we know better, it's time to bust a few myths and misconceptions about dogs that we chose to believe for way too long.
Some of these are silly and inconsequential, while others were used to help us make health decisions for our pups. It's time to separate dog fact from fiction to help you better understand your dog:
❌ Dogs are colorblind: This was a common belief held even by the scientific community for a long time. But now we know that dogs do see some colour pretty well. Yellow and blue for example are the easiest for dogs to see, though still not as vividly as we do.
❌ Some Dogs Are Hypoallergenic: One of the most common misconceptions about dogs is that some breeds are hypoallergenic and won't affect people with pet allergies. While this isn't completely false, it's far from true. Hypoallergenic breeds are often dogs that don't shed fur or don't have fur.
While this is surely one possible trigger for dog allergies, dander and saliva are much more likely to be the cause of your itchy eyes and runny nose around Fido. There is no guarantee that a "hypoallergenic dog" will not be an issue for allergy sufferers, and this misconception contributes to dogs being returned or left in shelters.
❌ A Dry Dog Nose Means Your Dog is Sick: False. While your dog's nose will be moist more often than not, a dry nose is not an indicator that your dog is ill. A dry nose can be caused by illness or dehydration but does not indicate illness or dehydration.
Dog noses are wet for a reason. The moisture helps to absorb scent chemicals better. Though there is a purpose for wet noses, it's not a suitable way to measure your dog's health.
❌ A Dog's Mouth is Cleaner Than a Human's: As a pet owner, you see the things your dog puts in his mouth. Most of them are pretty gross. Dogs don't brush their teeth twice a day, or floss, and many even enjoy the taste of poop. There is zero chance that dogs have clean mouths.
❌ Shaving Your Dog in the Summer Helps to Keep Them Cool: Dogs that have hair instead of fur can be trimmed and shaved, but it's not the most effective way to keep your dog cool on a hot day. In fact, a shave can be counterproductive for most breeds and coat types.
In addition to possibly damaging their coat, fur can be a useful thing in summer too. It protects them from the sun, preventing dog sunburns, and acts as a barrier against pests, like mosquitoes. Most importantly, dog fur is insulating.
This means it not only keeps the cold out in the winter but aids in thermo-regulation. Shaving a dog in the summer can make it more difficult to prevent heat stroke and maintain a safe body temperature.
❌ Mutts are Healthier Than Purebreds: This is another one that makes sense but isn't necessarily true. It stems from the fact that not all purebreds are bred responsibly, and some breeding practices have led to the creation of health issues in certain breeds. Mixed breeding can be used to help reduce certain breed issues when done properly, but there is no evidence that the standard heinz 57 from the shelter is going to be free from common breed issues and illnesses any more than a purebred is.
❌ Barking is Bad: This is less of a myth and more of a human preference. Unwanted barking is annoying, but it's not the sign of a bad dog. Barking is actually a natural behaviour for dogs and a common form of expression. People tend to take the all-or-nothing approach and try to curb dog barking entirely.
Instead, it's best to teach your dog appropriate times and situations to bark in. Are you playing? Then barking, as long as it's not aggressive, is totally fine. Barking during play is fine. Barking at 3 a.m. is not so fine. If you get annoyed that your dog barks at the mailman, try to consider why he's doing it.
Is it because the mailman is obviously part of an evil scheme to steal all the dog treats? Maybe, but more likely your dog is alerting you to a stranger approaching your house. If a stranger approached your house in the middle of the night, I bet you'd be much more appreciative of the heads-up.
❌ Dogs Need Regular Baths: Dogs get smelly and dirty, so sometimes a bath is warranted, but overbathing your pet can cause problems. Bathing your dog too often just because you don't want them to smell like a dog could lead to skin issues like dandruff, hot spots, and even infection.
Even the gentlest dog shampoos will strip away some of your dog's natural skin oils, disrupting the pH balance and leading to skin and coat issues over time.
❌ Long-Haired Dogs Don't Need a Coat in Winter: Not all dogs indeed need a winter dog coat, but if it gets cold enough, most of them do, even the fluffy double-coated breeds. Many dogs can handle mild and even moderate winter temps, but if you live in the Canadian Prairies, you don't know the meaning of mild winter.
Even a quick walk around the block when it's -35 can be too much for a dog, no matter how bushy their fur is. It's important to be able to spot signs that your dog is cold so you can keep them safe.
❌ You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks: Dogs never stop learning. No matter how old or lazy your dog gets, they never stop being capable of learning. Older dogs may not be as nimble or motivated, but with the right incentive and appropriate training, your dog can still learn new tricks.
Appreciating the Fascinating Lives of Dogs
From the loyal service dogs that dedicate their lives to helping others, to the incredible talents of working dogs, to the lazy couch potato that takes up most of the bed and tries to steal our food, we love dogs.
While we often take them for granted these amazing creatures are capable of so many amazing things. They can be trained to detect diseases, search and rescue, perform awe-inspiring tricks, and provide emotional support.
The canine-human connection is truly amazing. Now that you understand the interesting factors behind their seemingly superhuman abilities, you can use them to help strengthen your bond with your furry pal.
Or at the very least you'll have an answer when your dog does something weird and goofy and you think "What is the matter with you?"