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100 Facts About Dogs, Puppies & Bitches

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and are one of the most popular household pets in the Western world.

After all, what’s not to love about our canine friends? They’re cuddly, fun-loving and have earned a reputation as man’s best friend over the centuries.

However, there are still plenty of facts we don’t know about our pooches.

  1. Although people have kept dogs as pets for many years, it was only in the 1960’s that they became increasingly popular in the West. After the Second World War, there was a big increase in the number of households with a pet canine.
  2. The phrase ‘man’s best friend’ was first used by Frederick the Great in the 18th Odgen Nash, an American poet, made use of the phrase in his work in the 1900s, thus making it a popular saying.
  3. Statistics show that more than 60% of US households have a pet dog, which proves just how popular they really are.
  4. Dogs only sweat through the pads of their feet. This makes it difficult to tell when a dog is very hot, but they will also pant and lie down when they are too hot or exhausted. Panting actually helps them to cool down.
  5. The Great Dane is the tallest dog in the world, while the St. Bernard is the heaviest, weighing up to 120kg when fully-grown.
  6. Due to their great size and strength, St. Bernards have been used for years as mountain rescue dogs. The most successful was Barry, who saved 40 lives during his time in service.
  7. Ever wondered why a dog can move its ears so freely? There are at least 18 muscles in a dog’s ear which all work separately, making movement in this area very easy.
  8. Dogs can hear higher pitches than adults when it comes to sound. The hearing of humans is most effective at 2000Hz (Hertz), while dogs can hear very clearly at 8000Hz. Paul McCartney apparently recorded a very high whistle sound in the song ‘A Day in the Life‘, so that his pet dog would be able to hear it.
  9. German Shepherds are the dogs which are often seen working with the police force. This is due to their high intelligence levels, desire to explore their surroundings, courage, agility and loyalty.
  10. The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog in the world. Its name is taken from the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, since this was the border which was crossed when they first came into the United States.
  11. When the Titanic sank in 1912, there were three dogs which survived. They had all been travelling with their owners in the First Class cabins.
  12. Dogs which live in the city will usually live longer than those who spend their lives in the countryside. On average, country dogs will die three years sooner than those within the cities.
  13. In a survey, 33% of dog owners admitted to chatting over the telephone to their dogs, while some even stated that they left voicemail messaged for their pets while they were away.
  14. In the 17th century, heavy rain in Germany would cause stray cats and dogs to be washed up in the streets or drowned. Thus, the term ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’ was formed.
  15. Newfoundland dogs originated in Canada, where their thick coats and webbed feet helped them to survive the cold weather and large bodies of water.
  16. Bassett Hounds, by contrast, cannot swim at all!
  17. In the Bible, dogs are mentioned a total of 37 times. They were often portrayed as unclean and, in certain instances, signified those who did not believe in God.
  18. Around 70% of dog owners see their pets as a part of the family. Birthday and Christmas cards to friends and loved ones will normally include the dog’s name along with the names of the family members.
  19. The world’s oldest dog lived to the grand old age of 29 years and 5 months.
  20. The world’s smallest dog was a Yorkshire Terrier, which weighed just four ounces.
  21. A dog was the first living creature to be sent into space. An earth satellite sent Laika to visit space in 1957, but she died when the cabin overheated.
  22. Afghan Hounds can often be seen showing off at dog competitions and events, but it seems they don’t have much more than their looks going for them – they are thought to be the world’s most stupid dog.
  23. George Washington was one of many historical figures to own pet dogs. In total, he had 36 of them, and they were all foxhounds.
  24. The fastest dog in the world is the Greyhound, which is why Greyhound racing is such a popular sport in certain parts of the world. They can run up to 45 mph, compared to the average dog speed of 19 mph.
  25. When puppies are first born, they will sleep for around 90% of the time. However, after a few weeks, this will gradually decrease, and fully-grown dogs only need 10 hours of sleep per day.
  26. Each year, 85% of dogs pay a visit to the vet for one reason or another.
  27. Dogs can often be seen chasing their own tails, but it isn’t always for fun. Sometimes, a dog will chase its tail if it is suffering from fleas or anxiety.
  28. Canines are incredibly smart animals, and they also have some special abilities that humans lack. For example, they can see in the dark due to a membrane which is in their eyes.
  29. Greek mythology also has a place for dogs. Cerberus, also known as the ‘Hound of Hades’, was the terrifying dog with three heads who guarded the underworld and stopped the dead from getting out.
  30. Bloodhounds are used as sniffer dogs in various countries because they have such an acute sense of smell. They can single out a scent, or recognise several scents all at the same time.
  31. Dogs are well-known for protecting their owners, and most of them will attack a predator at all costs. A 12-pound Yorkshire terrier once protected its elderly owner from another dog weighing 80 pounds.
  32. Dalmatians are most popular for their attractive and unique spotted coats, but when they are first born, they are completely white without a mark in sight.
  33. It is very important for dogs to have contact with humans during the first months of their lives. Domestic dogs should have regular contact with humans for the first three months in order to make friendly, safe and domesticated pets.
  34. The Siberian Husky is one of the dog breeds which resembles a wolf. Despite this fact, they are very friendly with families and strangers. However, they need plenty of exercise and can be difficult to care for.
  35. Dogs have 1,700 taste buds, which might seem a lot at first. However, when compared to the 9,000 which are on a human’s tongue, it seems a very small amount!
  36. In 2008, a study showed that, on average, 1.2 million puppies are born each day. Not all of these are lovingly homed, however, as many of them die and others are left abandoned.
  37. There were six films created in the ‘Beethoven‘ series – the story of a dog who was named after the musical composer. The dog who played the family’s pet was actually called Beethoven in real life.
  38. Dogs with pointed and long faces tend to live longer than those which have flatter faces, such as pugs.
  39. Plato once declared that dogs have the souls of philosophers.
  40. Pugs can only run at a speed of 3-5mph, but this doesn’t stop them being a popular breed with the celebrities. Jessica Alba, Hugh Laurie and Queen Victoria have all owned a pug in their time.
  41. In the UK, there are more than 1,300 puppies which are bred each year to become guide dogs. These dogs are trained by professionals and then spend their lives guiding and comforting their blind owners.
  42. When dogs are first born, they are completely blind and cannot hear anything either. The first sense which they develop is the sense of touch.
  43. Rottweilers are thought of as a scary breed, but they can make great household pets. Their protective nature makes them amazing guard dogs, and in the US, they are the 10th most popular dog breed.
  44. It is thought that there are more than half a billion dogs in the world in total. However, many of these are wild dogs or strays. Only 30 million (approx.) of these are kept as house pets.
  45. Humans have unique fingerprints, but dogs have unique nose prints. This is one of the ways which dogs can be identified if necessary.
  46. In the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, the most popular breed of dog is the Labrador. These dogs are loyal, smart and good with children, making them the perfect family pet.
  47. Around 2003, scientists in Croatia investigated why lampposts were falling down around the country. They came to the conclusion that a chemical in dogs’ urine was rotting the metal at the bottom of the lampposts.
  48. It’s not unusual for wealthy people to leave their money to their dogs when they pass away. In 1992, a German countess died, and left her $106 million fortune to her pet Alsatian.
  49. If you’re looking to get a date, a Pitbull is apparently the worse dog to have. A Golden Retriever, on the other hand, will help you to find your dream date.
  50. While dogs are friendly creatures most of the time, that doesn’t mean that nothing bad ever happens. There are nearly 5 million dog bites per year, with the majority of victims being young children.
  51. Dogs have a total of 42 teeth when they are fully-grown.
  52. A Labrador, named Nesbit, had a frequent flyer card with Delta Airlines. He managed to acquire more than one million air miles during his lifetime, which is more than most humans manage.
  53. Golfer Tiger Woods had a pet dog as a child, and used to talk to it for hours every day in an attempt to get rid of his childhood stutter.
  54. Dogs are able to protect their eyes, thanks to the three different eyelids which they have. They have an upper lid, a lower lid and a third lid (a ‘haw’). This helps them to retain moisture consistently.
  55. In New Zealand, visitors can find a building which is in the shape of a dog – the perfect sight for dog lovers!
  56. Bulldogs got their name from the cruel practice of bull baiting which they were involved in during the 1800s. This was banned in 1835, but they kept their name.
  57. The Great Dane is the national dog of Germany – the country from which it originated. Despite its name, this dog breed has nothing to do with Denmark.
  58. The Scottish Terrier is a difficult dog to train, but once trained, will greatly reward its owners. ‘Scotties’ are great with children and, despite their small size, make excellent watchdogs.
  59. A Beagle’s tail is known for the white tip, and when he is following a scent, the tail will be stuck up in the air.
  60. When dogs are asleep, they will curl up to keep warm and to protect themselves from predators. Even domesticated dogs will do this naturally, since they want to protect their abdomens and organs.
  61. Queen Elizabeth II has been the owner of more than 30 Corgis, and they often fly with her when she travels. They have been spotted in official photographs and on screen during the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.
  62. The Queen might like her Corgis, but Prince William and Catherine Middleton chose to adopt a Cocker Spaniel instead in 2012.
  63. Over the years, many people have believed that dogs are colour-blind and can only see things in black and white. However, this is not true, and dogs can see various colours, albeit not as clearly as humans or other animals might.
  64. The Poodle is one of the cleanest breeds of dog, making them a great choice for people with pet allergies. They don’t moult much at all, and they rarely smell either.
  65. We’ve all seen dogs wagging their tails before, but it does not necessarily mean that your pet is happy. Low wagging can mean insecurity, while faster wagging usually means aggression. Wagging their tail to the right will often mean happiness, while fear is shown by wagging their tails to the left.
  66. Dogs aren’t quite as different from humans as you might have thought. They are able to dream, and recent studies show that they are capable of loving too. A study showed that dogs release the love hormone, oxytocin.
  67. Walt Disney had a poodle named Lady. This was also the name of the Cocker Spaniel in Lady and the Tramp.
  68. If you’re looking to adopt a quiet dog, don’t choose a Beagle or a Border Collie. These two breeds are well-known for making more noise than the others.
  69. The Basenji, on the other hand, is the only dog in the world which doesn’t bark at all.
  70. Chocolate should never be given to dogs, since it is poisonous and can prove to be fatal. Dog chocolate can be bought in pet stores, however, and used as a treat for your pet.
  71. Dogs are allowed as pets in all countries of the world. In Iceland, it is completely illegal to keep a dog in your home as a pet unless you manage to get an exemption.
  72. There are also some strange rules around the world when it comes to pooches. In Palding, Ohio, police officers are allowed to bite dogs if they want them to be quiet.
  73. When dogs drink, they roll the back of their tongues in order to scoop up the water. They can be rather messy drinkers (and eaters!), but the way they drink is exactly the same as cats.
  74. The Pomeranian, also known as a Pommy or the Teddy Bear Dog, is a small and cuddly dog which loves attention. They come in a variety of colours, including the very rare Lavender.
  75. Everybody loves a good dog film, and in 2008, ‘Marley & Me‘ managed to rake in almost $143 million, becoming the top-grossing dog movie of all time.
  76. One of the most popular fictional dogs was Lassie, the dog featured in the novel ‘Lassie Come Home‘. The novel was first made into a movie in 1943, and Lassie was played by a Rough Collie named Pal.
  77. Poodles actually come from Germany, but the French people loved them so much that they were quickly adopted into their culture. It is now the national dog of France.
  78. The Cesky Terrier is the rarest breed of dog in the world. Around 350 of them exist in total worldwide.
  79. The word ‘Fido’ comes from the Latin word meaning ‘fidelity’. It’s no wonder that dogs are so loyal and trustworthy to their owners!
  80. Grapes and raisins might be good for the health of humans, but be careful if your dog comes in contact with them. Even a very small amount of these foods could cause kidney failure in your pet canine.
  81. Do you know a dog called Max, Molly, Maggie or Jake? If you do, that’s because those are the most popular dog names in the English-speaking world.
  82. Brian Griffin from Family Guy is a Labrador Retriever, he is eight years old, which is 56 in dog years.
  83. Dogs have a total of thirteen different blood types, and they are also able to donate blood to other dogs.
  84. In ancient Greece, people liked to look after their pets, and dogs were armed with spiked collars which protected them from wolves and other wild animals.
  85. Proving once again just how clever dogs can be, there are some strays in Russia which have managed to navigate their way around the subway system. Using this form of transport, they can visit different areas of Moscow in search of food and shelter.
  86. The most expensive dog in the world cost its owner $1.5 million. This pricey pooch was a Tibetan Mastiff sold in China.
  87. The Chow Chow and the Shar Pei are the only two dog breeds which have black tongues. All other dog breeds will have pink tongues when healthy.
  88. Studies have proven that petting a dog can reduce your blood pressure.
  89. Queen Victoria is thought to be the main reason that Dachshunds are so popular in the UK nowadays. Their popularity travelled to Munich for the 1972 Olympics, where the mascot was a Dachshund called Waldie. The marathon route was even designed to be the same shape as Waldie.
  90. It is thought that dog cancer can be prevented if your pet is spayed or neutered before the age of 6 months. However, this is not a guaranteed prevention of the disease.
  91. Tail docking is illegal now in many countries of the world, but it dates as far back as 4 A.D. The Romans believed that docking the tails of dogs would prevent rabies.
  92. Toy dogs (small dog breeds) usually live longer than the larger breeds. The smallest dogs are expected to live up to 16 years of age, while larger dogs have a life expectancy of 7-12 years.
  93. The dog who played Toto in the 1939 movie ‘The Wizard of Oz‘ was actually a female. Her real name was Terry.
  94. American presidents seem to love their dogs – President Lyndon Johnson had two Beagles named Him and Her, and Theodore Roosevelt’s Pitbull was called Pete. Abraham Lincoln also had a dog named Fido, who was assassinated.
  95. In South Carolina, it seems that the welfare of dogs is greatly protected. The punishment for beating your dog can be greater than the punishment for beating your wife.
  96. The Nazis attempted to teach dogs to talk and read, but of course, they never succeeded.
  97. During the First World War, dogs were used to send messages to the front line. The messages would be attached to their bodies and removed and read once they reached their destination.
  98. Eating dog meat is still legal in parts of the world, including Switzerland and China. Each day, 30,000 dogs are killed in China for either their meat or their fur.
  99. Dogs can learn and understand up to 200 words, which makes them as smart as 2-year old babies in this department.
  100. Even without being trained, dogs are thought to instinctively understand what is meant by pointing. They are the only animal, other than elephants, who are able to do this.

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About the Author

Lizzie Robinson
Lizzie Robinson has been a freelance writer since 2011. She studied English Literature at university and enjoys sailing & playing the piano in her free time. Lizzie enjoys writing about current issues & business.

Comments

One Comment
  1. Dan Hill - 26 November 2015 - Reply

    This is a funny one ”
    In the Bible, dogs are mentioned a total of 37 times. They were often portrayed as unclean and, in certain instances, signified those who did not believe in God.”

    What is “DOG” backwards? and also what’s “GOD” backwards? LoL
    plus I love me dogs so much they are the best in the world. ;-)
    yep even better than your’s……..

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