27 things you didn't know about dogs
Man's best friend is furry, fun, and fascinating. How so? Well, here are just a few things you might not know about your four-legged BFF.
1. Dogs like rolling in smelly things as a status symbol.
No one knows exactly why they do it, but it could be that dogs see marking themselves with strong odors as a way to impress other dogs and humans with their overpowering scent. (Source)
2. Corgis are Vikings.
These little dogs probably descended from spitz breeds Vikings brought with them when they settled in what is now the United Kingdom, meaning corgis are likely cousins of Swedish and Norwegian hounds. (Source)
3. Corgis have the most accurate name ever.
Their name derives from two Welsh words: "cor," meaning "dwarf," and "ci," meaning dog. Hence, corgi -- dwarf dog. (Source)
4. Dogs' noses are powerful and unique.
A dog's nose is as unique as a human fingerprint and can be used to identify it. Each one also has over 300 million smell receptors, whereas humans have only five million.(Source)
5. Dogs curl up when they sleep to protect their bellies.
It's an instinct left over from their wild ancestors, who slept curled up to protect their vital organs from predators who might attack them while they slept. (Source)
6. Dogs aren't actually colorblind.
Dogs don't see a wide range of colors, but they do see blue and yellow. (Source)
7. . . . which means you should choose blue and yellow toys.
Because dogs can only distinguish blue and yellow, you can help your pup out by choosing toys in those colors. A yellow tennis ball stands out sharply to them; a bright red ball doesn't. (Source)
8. French poodles aren't actually French.
In fact, they're German. The word "poodle" derives from the German "pudelhund," meaning "splashing dog." (Source)
9. Dogs kick backwards after using the bathroom to mark their territory.
They use the scent glands in their paws to mark the territory as theirs. (Source)
10. Dogs are among the only animals to show voluntary, unselfish kindness.
One study shows that dogs voluntarily display kindness to others, even strangers, without the promise of reward. However, they're much more likely to help out their human and dog friends first. (Source)
11. A German shepherd named Orient guided a blind man across the Appalachian Trail.
Bill Irwin, the first blind man to navigate the 2,100-mile hike, spent eight months in 1990 making the trek with his faithful seeing eye dog, Orient. (Source)
12. Dogs' noses are wet to help absorb scents.
The wetness is a thin layer of mucus that aids in absorbing scent chemicals. Dogs then lick their noses to taste the chemicals. (Source)
13. Dogs' noses also help regulate temperature.
Dogs don't have sweat glands like we do, so they sweat from their nose and the pads of their feet. That's why your dog's nose is often cool and wet during warm weather. (Source)
14. A dry nose doesn't mean a sick dog.
And finally, many people believe a healthy dog always has a cold, wet nose, but that isn't always the case. That could just be normal for that dog. It's more important to know what is and isn't normal for your dog. (Source)
15. A Russian dog was the first live mammal to orbit space.
Laika, a stray dog, went up in the Soviet Sputnik in 1957. She died during her journey, but in an unexpected twist, her daughter Pushnika mated with President Kennedy's terrier, Charlie, and had four puppies. (Source)
16. Disney's 101 Dalmatians lied to us.
Dalmatian puppies aren't born with spots. They're born completely white and develop their spots as they grow. (Source)
17. Your dogs can have stinky sweat, too.
Just like your underarms stink when you sweat, your dogs' paws can smell too. They have sweat glands in their paws, and their natural sweat odor just happens to smell like corn chips. (Source)
18. The U.S. has the highest pet dog population.
Other countries have more wild and stray dogs, but the U.S. has the largest population of pet dogs, with approximately 70 million. Brazil comes in a distant second at about 36 million. (Source)
19. The "dog days of summer" is a Greco-Roman phrase.
Ancient Greeks and Romans used this term to refer to the hottest Mediterranean summer days, which usually occur when Sirius, the "dog star," rises. (Source)
20. You and your dog can make each other yawn.
You already knows yawns are contagious, but did you know you and your dog can trigger that response when you see each other yawn? (Source)
21. Dogs hike their legs when urinating to fake being taller.
They'll try to aim as high as possible on the tree or other vertical surface to tell other dogs that someone tall and intimidating was there. In Africa, some wild dogs even try to run up trees in an effort to urinate higher up and appear much taller than they are. (Source)
22. Kirsch, a service dog, got a degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2013.
The golden retriever attended all of his owner's classes in the university's mental health counseling program. When Carlos Mora graduated, his faithful friend was awarded an honorary master's degree as well. (Source)
23. Greyhounds are ancient . . .
The first bones belonging to an identifiable breed were those of an early greyhound from 9,000 BC. Greyhounds were probably used as hunting dogs. (Source)
24. . . .and also misnamed.
The name "greyhound" comes from a mistranslation of the German word "greishund," meaning "ancient dog." Greyhounds actually come in a variety of colors, not just gray. (Source)
25. Dogs can be left- or right-handed, er, pawed.
Unlike humans, who tend to use one hand over the other, dogs are equally skilled at using both front paws. However, they usually show a preference for either their left or right paw. (Source)
26. The Irish wolfhound is the tallest dog in the world.
Irish wolfhounds reach at least 32 inches tall at the shoulder. When standing on their hind legs, they can reach seven feet tall. (Source)
27. The largest dog on record was an English mastiff.
Zorba weighed 343 pounds and measured 8 feet, 3 inches from nose to tail. (Source)
- Jennifer M