Dogs! Aren’t they cute? We have for long wanted to create a post on this spectacularly beautiful and loveable animal but we really don’t know what stopped us from doing so. Anyway, here we are… So, how much do you know about dogs? Do you have a dog at home? If yes, have you ever noticed the strange behaviors of your Fido apart from his or her playful nature? You may have, you may not have…whatever! Let us ride along on a journey to learn 90 interesting dog facts. Are you all geared up?
Interesting Dog Facts: 1 to 10
1. The earliest known ancestors of dogs lived some 40 million years ago. Scientists have named the ancestral animal as Miacis which looked similar to weasels and used to dwell in dens and trees. Miacis then evolved into Tomarctus from which the canines descended. Jackals, wolves and dogs all descended from Tomarctus.
2. Ancient Egyptians would mourn for days once their pet dogs died. They would smear their hair with mud, shave off their eyebrows and would audibly mourn for days.
3. You will never find a dog sweating all over its body. The only place where they have sweat glands is between their paws.
4. There are three eyelids in dogs – the upper and lower eyelid and the third one is known as ‘haw’ (nictitating membrane), which is responsible for lubricating and protecting their eyes.
5. There is a device known as ‘wagometer’. It was invented by Dr. Roger Mugford in 2003. Mugford claims that the device is capable of detecting the exact mood of a dog measuring its tail’s wag!
6. Prevent your dog from munching on pear and apple seeds because they contain arsenic and even small amounts of arsenic can turn out to be fatal for dogs.
7. Raisins and grapes are known to cause renal failure in dogs. Caffeine, cooked onions, macadamia nuts and chocolate are also harmful for dogs.
8. The shoulder blades found in a dog are not attached to the remaining skeleton and thereby increases its flexibility while running.
9. Kubla Khan was the only person in recorded history to have owned the maximum number of dogs ever. He owned 5,000 Mastiffs!
10. Plato, one of the most famous philosophers in the world, once said – “a dog has the soul of a philosopher”.
Interesting Dog Facts: 11 to 20
11. Some mama dogs may simply reject their puppies that are cesarean born and cleaned before returning them back to their mothers.
12. After the collapse of the mighty Roman Empire, men became busier with survival and neglected dogs. It is then that dogs started roaming in packs and terrified villagers for their own survival. That is where the legend of werewolves started.
13. It was 17th century England where the phrase ‘raining cats and dogs’ emerged. During those days, stray dogs and cats would drown because of heavy rains and the dead bodies would float down the streets. It appeared as if dogs and cats rained!
14. In Far East during the ancient times, the Japanese Chins and Pekingese were extremely important and these dogs used to have their own human servants. The servants would carry those dogs to trade routes so that they (the dogs) could be gifted to emperors and kings.
15. In China, there were many temples where Pekingese were literally worshiped and this was actually centuries-old tradition.
16. Mastiff and Great Danes during Middle Ages were suited up with nice body armors and even spiked collars so that they could enter battlefield or even defend caravans.
17. The credit of inventing spiked collars goes to ancient Greeks. These collars were meant to protect the throats of the dogs during wolf attacks.
18. During Middle Ages copulation between noble hunting dogs and peasants’ mixed breed dogs was forbidden and the later had to wear blocks around their necks.
19. In Chinese astrology there is something known as ‘dog sign’ and those who are born under that sign are considered to be very loyal but with slightly abrupt temperament.
20. Iranians are forbidden by law to have pet dogs. Dogs are allowed as pets only if they are meant to be hunting or guarding dogs and the owners need to prove that. Muslims are usually shy of pet dogs because of widespread rabies endemic in Middle East.
Interesting Dog Facts: 21 to 30
21. South America’s Gran Chaco’s ancient Mbaya Indians used to believe that humans lived underground. They came up only after dogs dug them out.
22. In California’s Ventura County dogs and even cats are forbidden to have sex without permit! In Ohio’s Paulding, police officers are allowed to bite dogs to make them quiet.
23. Ancient Aztecs and Mayans had their every 10th day symbolized by dogs. According to them, those who are born under those signs had extraordinary leadership skills.
24. Ancient Greeks used to store dog kennels at sanctuary of Asclepius which was located at Epidaurus. The reason for doing so was to sacrifice dogs. On every 25th of the month which is now known as July, the ancient Greeks used to celebrate Kunophontis (which in English means “the massacre of dogs”). On that day they used to sacrifice dogs in order to please Linos (Apollo’s son) who was devoured by dogs.
25. In Zend Avesta – the religious text of ancient religion Zoroastrianism – there is a whole chapter that is devoted to dog breeding and caring.
26. In ancient China, dog trainers were highly respected. Dwarfing, miniaturization and other forms of domestication were widespread in China during ancient times.
27. Ancient Greek art frequently depicted dogs. The most famous of them was Cerberus – the 3 headed hound – that was responsible for guarding the underworld’s entrance.
28. The earliest records of dog paintings in Europe can be traced back to the cave paintings in Spain that dated 12,000 years ago.
29. Renaissance was the period when detailed dog portraits were created to symbolize loyalty and fidelity. Those portraits appeared in religious, allegorical and mythological art throughout Europe. Painters like Albrecht Durer, Diego Velázquez, Leonardo da Vinci and Jan van Eyck created many such portraits.
30. Lucius Columella, a Roman writer (AD 4-70) was the first person to write about amputating the tail of a dog. His writings suggested that tail docking was instrumental in preventing rabies.
Interesting Dog Facts: 31 to 40
31. Basenji is the only barkless breed of dog to live on earth.
32. A newborn puppy is not only toothless but is also deaf and blind.
33. The German government was the first to train what is known as a guide dog so that it could guide soldiers blinded during war. Germans did that after WWI.
34. The smallest ever dog in history was a Yorkshire Terrier that was as small as a matchbox. From tail tip to nose tip it was only 3.5” long and was 2.5” tall at the shoulder. It was incredibly light at only 4 ounces of weight.
35. Compared to a human, a dog is capable of hearing 4 times farther away and is capable of locating or detecting a sound source in 1/600th of second.
36. There is a breed of dog with webbed feet and water-resistant coat. It is the Newfoundland breed and is known for helping fishermen to haul their fishing nets and even rescuing drowning people.
37. The polka dot style Dalmatians look super cute but when they are born, the puppies have completely white coat. The black spots start appearing only when they start growing.
38. Dogs often chase their tails and that’s either they are anxious or curious or they need exercise. They may also chase their tails out of their predatory instincts.
39. Just like humans, dogs dream too! They have both REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and SWS (Slow Wave Sleep) stages like humans. Just like humans, dogs dream in their REM stage of sleep and are often found moving their paws or twitching.
40. An adult dog will have 42 teeth while a puppy will have 28 teeth. A newborn puppy is toothless!
Interesting Dog Facts: 41 to 50
41. A dog may eat grass either because it is an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or it is trying to get the nutrition that it fails to get from processed food. It may also much on grass simply because it needs to throw up!
42. A dog spins before pooping because it needs to align its body to north-south axis of earth because they prefer calm magnetic field conditions to poop. They are highly sensitive to changes in polarity of earth.
43. A dog may roll on grass simply because its back itches. Similarly, it may roll on poop simply because it wants to get attention.
43. Dogs may roll on dead animals because of predatory instincts. Canines have a habit of killing their prey and then rolling on the dead prey in order to claim their kills. By rolling on the dead prey they get the scent of their kill on their back and carry it home to prove their victory. Yet another reason why dogs are found rolling on dead animals is that they want to mask their own scent before they go out for a kill.
44. Dogs sniff the butts of other dogs because that’s their method of greeting other dogs. Also, they carry glands in their rectum capable of producing strong odor. This odor tells them the mood of other dog. Also, butt smelling is their calming mechanism. They are often caught doing this when they come from some stressful situation.
45. Dogs are often found humping just about anything they find like furniture, toys and even the legs of their owners. They usually do this when they are afraid or nervous or want to assert dominance or when they reach sexual maturity.
46. Around 72% of dog owners, according to Petside.com/Associated Press poll, believe that their dogs are capable of sensing upcoming stormy weather and hence, they often act funny when going out.
47. Nose prints of dogs are as unique as human finger prints.
48. Dogs are very capable of seeing at night without the aid of any night vision devices simply because they have tapetum lucidum – a special eye membrane that allows them to see clearly at night.
49. Dogs have only 1,900 taste buds as compared to 10,000 in humans but their sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 more powerful than that of humans.
50. Contrary to the popular belief that dogs can see only in black and white, they can actually see different colors primarily yellow, greenish yellow, blue and different shades of grey.
Interesting Dog Facts: 51 to 60
51. Did you ever notice that your Fido’s ears are extremely expressive? That’s because they have 18 muscles that control their ear movements.
52. Dogs are capable of hearing high-pitched sounds of 8,000 Hz whereas humans can hear sound of up to 2,000 Hz.
53. Dogs scratch the ground using their hind legs after bathroom because that’s an additional way of marking their territory using the scent glands that are present on their paws.
54. Did you ever think why dogs curl up when they sleep? That’s not because they want to look adorable (which they are anyway even without curling) but because that’s their instinct. They do so to protect their vital organs and abdomen from predators and also because they can keep themselves warm by doing so.
55. Dogs pant heavily after rigorous exercise and that yet another mechanism of cooling themselves apart from sweating through their paws.
56. Dogs hang their tongue out after exercise or running. That’s because their tongue lengthen in size. It is a cooling mechanism for them.
57. Only Shar-pei and Chow Chow are the two dog breeds that have black tongues. All other dog breeds have pink tongues.
58. The whiskers of dogs (scientifically known as vibrissae) – those that look like moustache and long eye brows – are actually very touch sensitive hair capable of detecting very minute changes in airflow.
59. The entire body of a dog, including its paws is covered with nerve endings that are touch-sensitive. Touch is the first sense that a dog develops.
60. Dogs are very capable of learning spoken commands when those commands are given in conjunction with gestures or hand signals.
Interesting Dog Facts: 61 to 70
61. Scientists have proven that dog owners with high BP can control their blood pressure simply by petting their dogs.
62. The biggest dog to be ever recorded in history was an English Mastiff named Zorba. It weighed an incredible 343 pounds and from tail tip to nose tip it measured 8’3”!
63. The oldest dog in terms of age was a cattle dog from Australia. That dog named Bluey lived for 29 years and 5 months. For humans that is like 160 years!
64. According to many experts, dogs were domesticated by humans before they domesticated chickens, donkeys, cats, sheep, horses, cattle or goats.
65. Any average dog can run at a speed of 19 miles an hour but the fastest dog on earth is the Greyhound that can run at a top speed of 45 miles an hour.
66. If a man stands completely still at a distance of 300 yards from a dog, the dog will fail to even see the person. However, if its owner waves his or her hand from a distance of 1 mile, the dog will immediately identify him or her.
67. Dogs have 220 million olfactory cells and the part of the brain that processes smells in dogs is 4 times larger than humans. No doubt dogs have better sense of smell compared to humans.
68. Scientists have found out that dogs have the incredible ability to detect cancer in humans which doctors consider too small for detection. Dogs can simply sniff a person’s breath and detect lung cancer.
69. Dogs are capable of smelling natural gas buried 40 feet under dirt. They can even smell dead bodies lying submerged in water.
70. Dogs have wet nose so that they can collect more scent molecules from air.
Interesting Dog Fact: 71 to 80
71. A dog can decipher, from the smell of urine of other dogs, whether the dog that left a message is male or a female dog, a young or an old dog, a happy or an angry dog and a healthy or a sick dog.
72. Male dogs have a habit of lifting their legs while urinating so that they can aim higher on a tree trunk or a lamppost. They do so simply because they want to leave a message that they are intimidating, tall and big!
73. Croatian scientists discovered that male dogs release a type of chemical in their urine that was responsible for rotting the metal used in lamppost and that was the reason for the unexplained falling down of the lampposts.
74. An average adult dog is capable of understanding 250 gestures and words, making it as intelligent as a two-year old child.
75. In Russia, some stray dogs have figured out how to travel using subway system so that they can move to more crowded areas in search of food!
76. Dogs really hate it when they are hugged by both primates and humans because for them, hugging is an act of putting limbs on top of them which they count as an act of dominance.
77. The moment a harness is put on a service dog, he or she immediately knows that it is business time and hence, they become absolutely serious. They are not at all playful when they are supposed to work. The moment the harness is taken off, they will immediately become playful.
78. Seeing Eye dogs are known for peeing of pooping only when they are given command to do so. Male Seeing Eye dogs will even pee without lifting their legs.
79. Dogs often suffer with what is known as ‘Frito Feet’. That is actually a condition where their paws get the smell of corn chips. This happens because their paws are home for millions of microbes and when dogs sweat, the sweat mixes with the microbes release that smell. Some owners really love that smell even though it is not really healthy.
80. The most preferred dog breed in this world is the Labrador Retriever because it is intelligent, patient and has almost unlimited energy which make them excellent work dogs.
Interesting Dog Facts: 81 to 90
81. Golden Retrievers are also pretty popular and studies say that owing a Golden Retriever increase his or her chances of attracting a date but owning a Pit Bull can do exactly the opposite!
82. The two most intelligent dog breeds are Border Collie and Poodle and the two least intelligent dog breeds are Basenji and Afghan Hound.
83. A person should never kick a dog right on its face and that’s because dogs are capable of biting up to 10 times even before a person responds.
84. Studies show that when a pet dog dies, a person experiences the same level of grief that he or she experiences when a human relative or a person he or she loves dies.
85. Basenji and Akbash Dog breeds are the quietest of all dog breeds on earth while Border Collie and Beagle are the noisiest of all dog breeds.
86. Akita is the most badass dog breed of all. It is the most challenging breed to be owned and insurance companies often charge higher costs for homeowner insurance for owners of Akita.
87. In a period of 7 years, a female dog and her female children can produce and incredible 4,372 puppies!
88. Subsonic sounds are best heard by dogs with large ears and square and big heads. The best example would be Saint Bernard.
89. A dog’s face can tell about the length of life of a dog. Dogs having pointed and sharp faces live longer in general compared to dogs with flat faces like the Bulldog.
90. There are around 400 million dogs (probably more) present in the entire world.
Bonus Fact: The average temperature of a dog is 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. That kind of temperature in humans is considered to be high temperature!
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- Riddle, Maxwell. 1987. Dogs throughout History. Fairfax, VA: Denlinger’s Publisher, Ltd.
- Merlen, R. H. A. 1971. De Canibus: Dog and Hound in Antiquity. London, UK: J. A. Allen & Co. Ltd.
- Fogle, Bruce D.V. M. 1995. The Encyclopedia of the Dog. New York, NY: DK Publishing, Inc.
- Coren, Stanley. 2004. How Dogs Think: Understanding the Canine Mind. New York, NY: Free Press.
- Choron, Harry and Sandra Choron. 2005. Planet Dog: A Doglopedia. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Co.
- Budiansky, Stephen. 2000. The Truth About Dogs: An Inquiry into the Ancestory, Social Conventions, Mental Habits, and Moral Fiber of Canis familiaris.New York, NY: Penguin Putnum, Inc.
- Brewer, Douglas, Terence Clark, and Adrian Philips. 2001. Dogs in Antiquity: Anubis to Cerebrus The Origins of the Domestic Dog. Warminster, UK: Aris & Phillips.
- Bailey, Gwen. 2002. What Is My Dog Thinking? San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press.