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.

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