100 Fun Facts About Dogs
1. Dogs Have Existed Millions of Years!
Tracing of All dogs go back 40 million years ago to a weasel-like animal called the Miacis which dwelled in trees and dens. The Miacis later evolved into the Tomarctus, a direct forbearer of the genus Canis, which includes the wolf and jackal as well as the dog.
2. Ancient Egyptians
Ancient Egyptians revered their dogs. When a pet dog would die, the owners shaved off their eyebrows, smeared mud in their hair, and mourned aloud for days.
3. Dangerous Foods
Small quantities of grapes and raisins can cause renal failure in dogs. Chocolate, macadamia nuts, cooked onions, or anything with caffeine can also be harmful.
4. Arsenic Seeds
Apple and pear seeds contain arsenic, which may be deadly to dogs.
5. Man vs. Coyote
Rock star Ozzy Osborne saved his wife Sharon’s Pomeranian from a coyote by tackling and wresting the coyote until it released the dog.
6. Sweaty Paws
Dogs have sweat glands in between their paws.
In 2003, Dr. Roger Mugford invented the “wagometer” a device that claims to interpret a dog’s exact mood by measuring the wag of its tail.
8. Three Eyelids
Dogs have three eyelids. The third lid, called a nictitating membrane or “haw,” keeps the eye lubricated and protected.
9. Unattached Shoulder Blades
A dog’s shoulder blades are unattached to the rest of the skeleton to allow greater flexibility for running.
10. A Mother’s Love
Puppies are sometimes rejected by their mother if they are born by cesarean and cleaned up before being given back to her.
11. “Raining Cats & Dogs”
The phrase “raining cats and dogs” originated in seventeenth-century England. During heavy rainstorms, many homeless animals would drown and float down the streets, giving the appearance that it had actually rained cats and dogs.
12. Ready for Battle
During the Middle Ages, Great Danes and Mastiffs were sometimes suited with armor and spiked collars to enter a battle or to defend supply caravans
13. Servants to the Dogs
Pekingese and Japanese Chins were so important in the ancient Far East that they had their own servants and were carried around trade routes as gifts for kings and emperors. Pekingese were even worshipped in the temples of China for centuries.
14. Face Shape Correlated to Life Longevity
The shape of a dog’s face suggests how long it will live. Dogs with sharp, pointed faces that look more like wolves typically live longer. Dogs with very flat faces, such as bulldogs, often have shorter lives.
15. The Fall of Rome and Dog Breeding
After the fall of Rome, human survival often became more important than breeding and training dogs. Legends of werewolves emerged during this time as abandoned dogs traveling in packs commonly roamed streets and terrified villagers.
16. Peasant vs Hunting Dogs
During the Middle Ages, mixed breeds of peasants’ dogs were required to wear blocks around their necks to keep them from breeding with noble hunting dogs. Purebred dogs were very expensive and hunting became the province of the rich.
17. Guiness Book of World Records
The most dogs ever owned by one person were 5,000 Mastiffs owned by Kubla Khan.
18. The American Kennel Club
The American Kennel Club (est. in 1884), is the most influential dog club in the United States.
19. Most Popular Dog Names
The most popular male dog names are Max and Jake. The most popular female dog names are Maggie and Molly.
20. Toto & The God of Death
Scholars have argued over the metaphysical interpretation of Dorothy’s pooch, Toto, in the Wizard of Oz. One theory postulates that Toto represents Anubis, the dog-headed Egyptian god of death, because Toto consistently keeps Dorothy from safely returning home.
21. State Laws
Weird dog laws include allowing police offers in Palding, Ohio, to bite a dog to quiet it. In Ventura County, California, cats and dogs are not allowed to have sex without a permit.
22. First Dog Chapel
The first dog chapel was established in 2001. It was built in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, by Stephan Huneck, a children’s book author whose five dogs helped him recuperate from a serious illness.
23. Birth Sign
Many consider those born under the sign of the dog in Chinese astrology to be loyal and discreet, though slightly temperamental.
24. Dogs Banned in Iran
In Iran, it is against the law to own a dog as a pet. However, if an owner can prove the dog is a guard or hunting dog, this restriction doesn’t apply. Muslim reticence concerning dogs is perhaps due to the fact that rabies has always been endemic in the Middle East.
25. It’s A Celebration
The Mayans and Aztecs symbolized every tenth day with the dog, and those born under this sign were believed to have outstanding leadership skills.
26. An Ancient Dog Myth
The ancient Mbaya Indians of the Gran Chaco in South America believed that humans originally lived underground until dogs dug them up.
27. Wise Words
Plato once said that “a dog has the soul of a philosopher.”
28. Origin of the French Poodle
French poodles did not originate in France but in Germany (“poodle” comes from the German pudel or pudelhund, meaning “splashing dog”). Some scholars speculate the poodle’s puffs of hair evolved when hunters shaved the poodle for more efficient swimming, while leaving the pom-poms around the major joints to keep them warm.
29. Celebrity Names
The name of the dog on the Cracker Jacks box is Bingo. The Taco Bell Chihuahua is a rescued dog named Gidget.
30. Self-Domesticated Wolves
The first dogs were self-domesticated wolves which, at least 12,000 years ago, became attracted to the first sites of permanent human habitation.
31. Fighting Off The Badgers
Dachshunds were bred to fight badgers in their dens.
32. First Dog To Travel To Space
Laiki, a Russian stray, was the first living mammal to orbit the Earth, in the Soviet Sputnik spacecraft in 1957. Though she died in space, her daughter Pushnika had four puppies with President John F. Kennedy’s terrier, Charlie.
33. Dalmatians Minus the Spots
Dalmatians are completely white at birth.
34. “Dog Days of Summer”
The term “dog days of summer” was coined by the ancient Greeks and Romans to describe the hottest days of summer that coincided with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius.
35. The City, Peritas
Alexander the Great is said to have founded and named a city Peritas, in memory of his dog.
36. Dogs in Ancient Greece
In ancient Greece, kennels of dogs were kept at the sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidaurus. Dogs were frequently sacrificed there because they were plentiful, inexpensive, and easy to control. During the July 25 celebration of the kunophontis (“the massacre of dogs”) dog sacrifices were performed to appease the ancestors of Apollo’s son, Linos, who was devoured by dogs
37. Professional Dog Trainers of China
Dog trainers in ancient China were held in high esteem. A great deal of dog domestication also took place in China, especially dwarfing and miniaturization.
The ancient religion Zoroastrianism includes in its religious text titled the Zend Avesta, a section devoted to the care and breeding of dogs.
39. Oldest Dog Images
The earliest European images of dogs are found in cave paintings dating back 12,000 years ago in Spain.
40. Greek Art
The dog was frequently depicted in Greek art, including Cerberus, the three-headed hound guarding the entrance to the underworld, and the hunting dogs which accompanied the virgin goddess of the chase, Diana.
41. Renaissance Art
During the Renaissance, detailed portraits of the dog as a symbol of fidelity and loyalty appeared in mythological, allegorical, and religious art throughout Europe, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Diego Velázquez, Jan van Eyck, and Albrecht Durer.
42. A Puppy is Born
A puppy is born blind, deaf, and toothless.
43. The Only Dog That Doesn’t Bark
The Basenji is the world’s only barkless dog. They do make sound but it is more like a yodel.
44. Interpreting A Person’s Smile
A dog most likely interprets a smiling person as baring their teeth, which is an act of aggression.
45. Tails and Rabies
The origin of amputating a dog’s tail may go back to the Roman writer Lucius Columella’s (A.D. 4-70) assertion that tail docking prevented rabies.
46. Origin of the “Watchdog”
One of Shakespeare’s most mischievous characters is Crab, the dog belonging to Launce in the Two Gentlemen of Verona. The word “watchdog” is first found in The Tempest.
47. President Franklin Roosevelt
President Franklin Roosevelt created a minor international incident when he claimed he sent a destroyer to the Aleutian Islands just to pick up his Scottish Terrier, Fala, who had been left behind.
48. 9/11 Attacks
Within hours of the September 11, 2001, attack the World Trade Center, specially trained dogs were on the scene, including German Shepherds, Labs, and even a few little Dachshunds.
49. Certifying a Search & Rescue Dog
It costs approximately $10,000 to train a federally certified search and rescue dog.
50. The Smallest Dog
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.
51. Hollywood Superstar
Hollywood’s first and arguably best canine superstar was Rin Tin Tin, a five-day-old German Shepherd found wounded in battle in WWI France and adopted by an American soldier, Lee Duncan. He would sign his own contracts with his paw print.
52. Guides for WWII Soldiers
At the end of WWI, the German government trained the first guide dogs for war-blinded soldiers.
53. Enhanced Hearing
A dog can locate the source of a sound in 1/600 of a second and can hear sounds four times farther away than a human can.
54. The First of the Senses
Touch is the first sense the dog develops. The entire body, including the paws, is covered with touch-sensitive nerve endings.
55. Ear Muscles
Eighteen muscles or more can move a dog’s ear.
56. Egyptian Dog Historical Names
The names of 77 ancient Egyptian dogs have been recorded. The names refer to color and character, such as Blackie, Ebony, Good Herdsman, Reliable, and Brave One.
57. Egyptian Omens
In Egypt, a person bitten by a rabid dog was encouraged to eat the roasted liver of a dog infected with rabies to avoid contracting the disease. The tooth of a dog infected with rabies would also be put in a band tied to the arm of the person bitten. The menstrual blood of a female dog was used for hair removal, while dog genitals were used for preventing the whitening of hair.
58. Patron Saint of Travelers
In early Christian tradition, Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, is sometimes depicted with a dog’s head.
59. Ancient Dog Bones
The oldest known dog bones were found in Asia and date as far back as 10,000 B.C. The first identifiable dog breed appeared about 9000 B.C. and was probably a type of Greyhound dog used for hunting.
60. Dog Population
There are an estimated 400 million dogs in the world.
61. Largest Dog Population
The U.S. has the highest dog population in the world. France has the second highest.
62. Nose Prints
Dog nose prints are as unique as human finger prints and are useable for identifying them.
63. Bloodhound Dogs
This breed has a keen sense of smell. They have been using their powerful sense of smell since the Middle Ages to track criminals
64. Dogs Prefer Verbal Communication
Dogs can learn verbal commands much easier if they are given it in conjunction with hand signals or gestures.
65. Hunting in Packs
Dogs in a pack are more likely to chase and hunt than a single dog on its own. Two dogs are enough to form a pack.
66. Color Blind Vision
Dogs can see in color, though they most likely see colors similar to a color-blind human. They can see better when the light is low.
67. Health Benefits
Petting dogs is medically shows to lower blood pressure of dog owners.
68. Dogs and Humans
Dogs have lived with humans for over 14,000 years. Cats have lived with people for only 7,000 years.
69. Largest Dog
Zorba, an English mastiff, is the largest recording of any dog. He weighed 343 pounds and measured 8′ 3″ from his nose to his tail.
70. Impressive Speeds
The average dog can run about 19 mph. Greyhounds are the fastest dogs on Earth and can run at speeds of 45 mph.
71. A Breeding Machine
One female dog and her female children could produce 4,372 puppies in seven years.
72. Labrador Love
The most popular dog breed in Canada, U.S., and Great Britain is the Labrador retriever.
73. The Oldest Existing Breed
Greyhounds appear to be the most ancient dog breed. “Greyhound” comes from a mistake in translating the early German name Greishund, which means “old (or ancient) dog,” not from the color gray.
74. The Oldest Dog to Ever Live
An Australian cattle dog holds recording as the oldest dog. His name was Bluey who lived 29 years and 5 months. In human years, that is more than 160 years old.
75. Animal Domestication
Most experts believe humans domesticated dogs before donkeys, horses, sheep, goats, cattle, cats, or chickens.
76. Seeing From A Distance
A person standing still 300 yards away is almost invisible to a dog. But a dog can easily identify its owner standing a mile away if the owner is waving his arms.
77. Breeds With The Strongest Hearing
Dogs with big, square heads and large ears (like the Saint Bernard) are the best at hearing subsonic sounds.
78. The Power Of A Dog’s Scent
Dogs can smell about 1,000 times better than humans. While humans have 5 million smell-detecting cells, dogs have more than 220 million. The part of the brain that interprets smell is also four times larger in dogs than in humans.
79. The Power Of A Dog’s Scent: Part 2
Some dogs can smell dead bodies under water, where termites are hiding, and natural gas buried under 40 feet of dirt. Dog even have powerful detection capabilities. This includes cancer that is too small for detection by a doctor and lung cancer by sniffing a person’s breath.
80. Wet Nose
Dogs have a wet nose to collect more of the tiny droplets of smelling chemicals in the air.
81. Taste Buds
Dogs like sweets a lot more than cats do. While cats have around only 473 taste buds, dogs have about 1,700 taste buds. Humans have approximately 9,000.
82. Scenting Urine
Different smells in the a dog’s urine can tell other dogs whether the dog leaving the message is female or male, old or young, sick or healthy, happy or angry.
83. Marking their Territory
Male dogs will raise their legs while urinating to aim higher on a tree or lamppost because they want to leave a message that they are tall and intimidating. Some wild dogs in Africa try to run up tree trunks while they are urinating to appear to be very large.
84. Rotting Metal
In Croatia, scientists discovered that lampposts were falling down because a chemical in the urine of male dogs was rotting the metal.
Dogs are about as smart as a two- or three-year-old child. This means they can understand about 150-200 words, including signals and hand movements with the same meaning as words.
86. Dog Inheritance
Countess Karlotta Libenstein of Germany left approximately $106 million to her Alsatin, Gunther III, when she died in 1992.
87. Caught by a Catfish
A lost Dachshund was found swallowed whole in the stomach of a giant catfish in Berlin on July 2003.
88. The Crotch Sniffling Dog
In Australia, a man who was arrested for drug possession argued his civil rights were violated when the drug-sniffing dog nuzzled his crotch. While the judge dismissed the charges, they were later reinstated when a prosecutor pointed out that in the animal kingdom, crotch nuzzling was a friendly gesture.
89. History of the Beagle
The Beagle came into prominence in the 1300s and 1400s during the days of King Henry VII of England. Elizabeth I was fond of Pocket Beagles, which were only 9″ high.
90. The Power of Attraction
The best dog to reportedly attract a date is the Golden Retriever. The worst is the Pit Bull.
91. Enemy of the Insurance Companies
The Akita is one of the most challenging dogs to own. Some insurance companies have even characterized it as the #1 “bad dog” and may even raise an Akita owner’s homeowner insurance costs.
92. Loudest Dogs
The Beagle and Collie are the nosiest dogs, while the Akbash Dog and the Basenji are the quietest.
93. Technology Free One-On-One Time
One survey reports that 33 percent of dog owners admit they talk to their dogs on the phone or leave messages on answering machines while they are away.
Thirty percent of all Dalmatians are deaf in one or both ears. Because bulldogs have extremely short muzzles, many spend their lives fighting suffocation. Because Chihuahuas have such small skulls, the flow of spinal fluid can be restricted, causing hydrocephalus, a swelling of the brain.
95. Losing a Family Member
The grief suffered after a pet dog dies can be the same as that experienced after the death of a person.
96. Dog Bite Stats
There are almost 5 million dog bites per year; children are the main victims. Dog bites cause losses of over $1 billion a year.
97. Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Bite
A person should never kick a dog facing him or her. Some dogs can bite 10 times before a human can respond.
98. …And Most Intelligent Award Goes To
The most intelligent dogs are reportedly the Border Collie and the Poodle, while the least intelligent dogs are the Afghan Hound and the Basenji.
99. The Pekingese Breed
One kind of Pekingese is referred to as a “sleeve” because it was bred to fit into a Chinese empress’ sleeves, which was how it was often carried around.
100. Professional Dog Trainer Near Naperville, IL
…and of all the fun facts about dogs, this is one you definitely want to remember: Perfect Manners Dog Training is the best choice for you and your dog!