The relationship between humans and dogs is well-known. Dogs were one of the first animals domesticated by humans, over 12,000 years ago, even before sheep and cattle. Today, there are an estimated 400 million dogs in the world and the oldest known breed is the Saluki. Art, literature, and history is littered with numerous instances indicating dog's association with mankind. No wonder that a dog makes the most loyal and affectionate pet, and (I am sure all cat lovers will strongly object to this) is called a man's best friend. Any dog lover can testify to the fact that hardly does a day pass when a dog does not bring a smile to its owner's face. With such a long association, it is not surprising that we humans know almost all there is to know about our canine companions. Or do we? Well, here are some interesting facts about dogs, some known and some little known, that are sure to amuse you if not enhance your knowledge about dogs.
Facts About Dog Breeds
The American Kennel Club recognizes 148 breeds which are divided into seven groups. The most common breed in the US, at least, is the Labrador Retriever while the rarest breed being Cesky Terriers with only 350 in the world.
Weighing only 4 pounds and standing at about 5 inches high at the shoulders, the Chihuahua is the smallest breed in the world. While the Irish wolfhound, standing around 39 inches at the shoulder, is the tallest. The St. Bernard is the heaviest dog breed weighing, on an average, about 200 pounds.
The Yorkshire terrier has hair that can be two feet long, while other breeds may have no hair at all, such as the Mexican hairless.
The oldest dog on record - an Australian cattle dog named Bluey - was 29 years, 5 months old. Zorba, an English mastiff, is the biggest dog ever recorded. He weighed 343 pounds and measured 8' 3" from his nose to his tail. The smallest dog on record was a matchbox-size Yorkshire Terrier. It was 2.5" tall at the shoulder, 3.5" from nose tip to tail, and weighed only 4 ounces.
The most intelligent dogs are reportedly the Border Collie and the Poodle, while the least intelligent dogs are the Afghan Hound and the Basenji.
The average dog can run about 19 mph. Greyhounds are the fastest dogs on Earth, and can run at speeds of 45 mph.
Can you imagine a small dachshund being a fearless hunter? Incredible as it may sound but dachshunds were bred to fight badgers in their dens. Its name is derived from the German word for badger dog wherein 'dachs' means badger and 'hund' means dog.
Dalmatians are known for their spots but an interesting fact is that they are born pure white. Their spots develop as the Dalmatian matures.
Uniqueness About Dogs
Dogs are known to be the only mammal species that exhibits the greatest diversity in body and shape, a collie's skull is different to a Pekingese's skull. Yet, all dogs are anatomically identical, and have 321 bones and 42 permanent teeth.
By using their swiveling ears like radars, dogs can locate the source of a sound in 6/100ths of a second.
Besides the regular eyelids, dogs are known to possess a third eyelid, called a nictitating membrane or 'haw'. This membrane lubricates and protects the eye.
You may have seen or heard owner's feed their dogs all types of food. But beware, chocolate, macadamia nuts, cooked onions, or anything with caffeine can be harmful for your canine. Small quantities of grapes and raisins are known to cause renal failure in canines.
Have you noticed the color of a dog's eyes when you spot it in the dark? Most dogs reflect a shade of green in their eyes but also show a shade of orange or red at times.
Though a dog is not known for its sharp eyesight, yet they have better low-light vision as compared to humans. This is because of a special layer present right behind their retinas that reflects light and enables them to see in low-light.
Interesting Facts and Trivia
The Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., followed by Rottweilers and German Shepherds.
An indication of trust and love that canines generate in their owners can be judged by the fact that an estimated 1,000,000 dogs in the U.S. have been named as the primary beneficiaries in their owner's will.
In 1957, Laika, a female mongrel, became the first animal to be sent into space in the Soviet spacecraft 'Sputnik 2'. Incidentally she also became the first animal to die in orbit.
Rocky' and 'Barco', two Belgian Malinois, employed by the US Customs were so good at their job of detecting smuggled drugs along the 'Cocaine alley' that Mexican drug barons put a $30,000 bounty on their heads.
A study carried out by the British Psychological Society found that walking with a dog increased the number of social interactions a person has by three times.
According to a poll conducted by the American Animal Hospital Association, around 33% of dog owners admit to leaving answering machine messages for their canines while away, and talking to their dogs on the phone.
In seventeenth-century England, many homeless animals would drown and float down the streets during heavy rainstorms. This gave the impression that it was raining cats and dogs giving rise to the phrase 'raining cats and dogs'.
In Nepal, the autumn festival of Kukkur Tihar sets aside a day to acknowledge the cherished relationship between humans and the dogs by offering dogs delicious food and garlands.
Apparently, a dog most likely interprets a smiling person as baring their teeth, which is an act of aggression.
Dogs can sense when a child has autism and are known to detect many other health problems too. They can also be trained to predict epileptic seizures.
For a dog lover, any kind of dog makes a good pet, whether it's tiny or huge or even a stray, struggling to survive by the roadside. The American humorist Josh Billings couldn't have summed it more aptly: A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.