Do We Really Know Everything About Dogs?
Before you automatically answer with an emphatic ‘yes!’ consider this: Did you know dogs bow to each other at the dog park to ask if the others want to play?
Scientist and author Alexandra Horowitz discovered that and many other mind-blowing findings as she did research and wrote Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know.
It makes sense that there is more to know about our canine besties but just how much more is there?
Well, take a look at these crazy dog facts we’ve compiled to scratch the ears – oops, we mean the surface – of the issue.
The Most Surprising Facts
If you let your dog sleep in your bed, you might be surprised that there’s anything you don’t know; part of what’s surprising is how little current research is done on dogs because the general consensus is that we know most of what there is to find out.
We started digging (lol) and think you’ll be as surprised by these facts as we were.
In the Freakonomics Radio Podcast, Horowitz was asked, “The sense of smell is to a dog as blank is to a human” and she answered with, “vision”. I bet you knew sniffing is important to dogs but did you know it was that important? It is apparently a way dogs measure distance and even time.
- The oldest breed of dog is likely the Basenji or the Saluki. The Basenji’s name actually means “little bush thing”, and the Saluki appeared in Egyptian tombs dating back to 2100 B.C.
- Socializing adult dogs isn’t really a thing. The timespan of socialization for dogs refers to when puppies are 8-20 weeks old and are getting acclimated to various sights and sounds involved in their daily routine.
- The American Kennel Club (AKC) acknowledges 179 dog breeds but the Fédération Cynologique Internationale recognizes more than 300 breeds
The Cutest Facts
Puppy dog eyes have magical powers that tug on your actual heartstrings. Okay, we might’ve made up that fact but these endearing facts are sure to get an ‘awe’ from you:
- Dogs can fall in love with other dogs, and they love, love, love their families (even though we knew that last part). Professor Paul Zak says that dogs release oxytocin when having intimate experiences like play or snuggling other dogs.
- They can be actual twins! Yes, lots of puppies in the same litter look similar but this study found that puppies can also genetically be twins.
- The AKC says 45% of dogs in the U.S. sleep on their owner’s beds.
- Boxers get their name from their playful stance that mirrors jabbing movements with their front paws.
- Dogs dream similarly to humans, according to scientists studying brain activity of sleeping pups; but, did you know small dogs are found to dream more often than big ones? How adorable.
The Wildest Facts
If you picture a chunky, sleeping pug on a couch it’s hard to keep in mind that their ancestors were terrifying predators. Wild wolves and dogs still exist of course and have some pretty fierce attributes.
- The African wild dog can run at speeds topping 44 miles per hour (mph)– that’s less than 10 mph difference in speed to that of a Cheetah!
- Alphas of a wolf pack are actually just the parents – asserting dominance in order to become the leader or taking over the chain of command in a wolf family for any reason really usually happens because the oldest wolf perishes or a young wolf branches off to make their own family.
- Originating from the Grey Wolf, domesticated dogs continued to evolve through time both naturally and due to selective breeding. Interestingly, dogs evolved to have more expressive eyes and eyebrows to show their emotions more clearly to humans.
- Dire wolves were a thing! They existed roughly 9,000 years ago; being believed to weigh on average 242.5 lbs (average wolves today weigh about 123 lbs). Made popular by Game of Thrones, by George Martin, these gigantic creatures gained exposure when he used them as the basis for his creature “direwolf”.
The Funniest Facts
These had us rolling over.
- Dogs do their business in accordance with the Earth’s magnetic fields, according to a study by Frontiers in Zoology.
- Tigger, a bloodhound from Illinois, holds the record for the longest ears on a dog measured 34.9 cm (13.75 in) and 34.2 cm (13.5 in) for the right and left ears, respectively, on 29 September 2004 according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
- There are rich dogs. In 1992, the will of a German countess dictated that when she passed away, her $106 million inheritance should be given solely to her pet Alsatian. No, we’re not kidding.
- Pomeranians come in a variety of colors, including “Beaver”; which is essentially a light brown color with orangey hues and used to be called “Biscuit”.
The Weirdest Facts
Sometimes it’s weird to think about how one day you adopted a furry animal, put it in your house, and now love it more than life itself – check out some other weird dog facts below:
- Newfoundlands have webbed feet!
- Dogs have three eyelids.
- George Washington had a favorite fox hound named Sweetlips and a dalmatian coach dog named Madame Moose.
- Filling your mailman in on your pet’s name can actually calm them down, and it also helps if you act super friendly towards them so your dog feels like they are a friend instead of a potential threat.
- Dogs have 3x the amount of ear muscles as humans; dogs have 18 and we have 6!
- Yes, dogs’ sense of smell is mind-blowing but did you know this sense is actually more advanced than current technology? Dogs can actually smell and detect multiple different chemicals within the same scent which makes them more advanced at smelling than our highest-grade military explosive detectors.
Dogs never cease to surprise us, but one thing is for sure – they’ve wagged their way into our hearts and are a huge part of families across homes worldwide.