21 Dog Facts I Bet You Didn’t Know

You probably know a lot of stuff, don’t you? You might even know a lot of dog facts. Mans best friend is a title they have earned over the years. When did the first dog become mans best friend, or domesticated so to speak? It could have happened nearly 15,000 years ago. Other evidence suggests that it may have happened as much as 35,000 years ago!

If we’re being honest, we don’t really know for sure, but it’s been a long time. Bet you didn’t know how long, huh? A 20,000 year gap is a very long time and we haven’t been able to pinpoint an exact date. It’s still up for debate, and for this reason that question does not make this list of dog facts. Whether you have a dog in the family, or you’re curious about dogs, or you just love lists, lets begin with number one.

1. The Worlds Strongest Dog pulled 6,000lbs in 1974.

The breed was Saint Bernard and the load was on wheels. Generally, dogs can pull 3 or 4 times their own weight, which make 6,000lbs really impressive. I can tell my dog is strong when she pulls. I wonder how much she can pull?

2.  Nearly half of all dogs over the age of 5 are overweight.

This is shocking at first until you realize that we are the ones feeding them, and many humans are overweight as well. Please make sure your dogs are getting proper nutrients and plenty of exercise. We used to be active outdoor people just as dogs were/are active outdoor animals. You can get plenty of activity ideas from our site here. Dog facts are great, but we also need to know ways we can keep them active and healthy.  

3.  A common tooth that gets fractured in dogs is one of the canines.

When this happens the dog will need a root canal and a crown just like we humans. Otherwise, the area will become infected which will cause an abscess in the jawbone. The other option is pulling the tooth, but leaving the nerve exposed is not an option.

4.  80% of dogs show signs of oral disease by age 3.

This is the number one health problem in dogs. Can’t stand your dogs bad breath? Please pick up a toothbrush and get to work. The bad breath may be caused by something much worse than what they’ve been putting in their mouths. Since smaller breeds live longer and generally have more crowded teeth, their risk is even greater. I bet you’ll think twice before accepting that next kiss from your dog without brushing their teeth!

5.  Dogs dislike cats because they give them fleas.

Okay, I might have made that up. Dogs don’t dislike cats. In fact, they love to chase them. Some dogs may bite or attempt to eat a cat if given the chance, but they’re just trying to obey the food chain. Dogs do get what’s known as a cat flea, but it’s only known as that because it was first found on a cat in 1834. Both dogs and cats are likely to get the flea so please make sure your dogs are taking proper heart worm and flea medication.

6.  Dogs deal with health problems similar to Alzheimer’s disease.

One of these health problems is known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, which causes behavioral changes and loss of brain functions. A dog in this state may fail to recognize surroundings or loved ones. The dog may also sleep more and become confused or disoriented. Your veterinarian can prescribe medications and dietary changes if your dog is dealing with a similar health problem.

7.  Some dogs take Viagra.

This is not for the reason you may think. Some dogs and humans are prescribed Viagra to help with severe pulmonary hypertension. When a dog is unable to move from one area to another without falling down, he/she may be dealing with a disease causing high pressure in the vessels of the lungs. Don’t give your four legged friend any medicine unless directed by your vet.

8.  Dogs sweat from their feet.

Despite popular belief, dogs are capable of sweating, although it’s not the primary way they cool down.  Dogs have sweat glands in their paw pads.  This makes sense as they may have to walk on hot surfaces.  Have water on hand and consider using a collapsable bowl which they can carry around.  A dog that is too hot will lay in cold or shady areas.  Sudden anxiety, weakness and thirst may indicate overheating.  Heat stroke can be fatal and require veterinarian attention immediately.  

9.  Dogs can get sunburn.

You may think that just because dogs are covered in fur they are protected from harmful UV radiation.  However, dogs are at risk of getting burns and skin cancer just like humans.  Dogs with shorter hair and lighter coats are at a higher risk.  Our dog loves to sunbathe even though we live in San Antonio!  Consequently, we need to make sure she stays in shady areas when she wants to be outside (which is a lot).  

10.  A dogs nose stays wet because of tears.

Dogs are known for their noses, but they also rely on their eyes to detect movement.  To keep the eyes lubricated a dogs body produces tears.  The extra tears flow through and out the base of the nose.  The dog licks its own nose which keeps it cool and makes it even better at doing what it does best.  Sniff sniff.  A dry nose could signify dehydration and even sickness.  

11.  One dog year does not equal seven human years.

A one year old dog is sexually mature and close to physical and mental maturity.  In fact, six more months down the road and that dog will be comparable to an 18 year old human.  You see, dogs mature much, much faster than we humans.  Once they get close to that two year mark the gap begins to close and one dog year is closer to five human years.  

However, dogs age differently even among their own kind.  Large dogs may be considered seniors by age six, whereas smaller dogs might not be old until age 12.  Dog facts such as this can be confusing, which is probably one reason we simply use multiples of seven for their age.

12.  Dog nutrition became a great business opportunity after World War II.

America began to produce (and consume) mass amounts of food making each more convenient than ever.  Pet food companies opened up and initially provided the left overs.  However, today our pets have more options, some much healthier than others.  Do some research before you feed your pets.  Please don’t feed your pets the cheap junk on the shelf at the store.  They deserve better than that!

13.  Dogs have about 200 million scent receptors in their noses.

We all know dogs are good at smelling stuff.  In comparison to us humans, dogs have about 195 million more scent receptors in their noses than we do.  Moreover, some dogs are much better at smelling than others.  Bloodhounds have such skilled noses that their work is used as evidence in a court of law!  Sometimes it seems like my dog thinks her job is to smell stuff.  

14.  Cloudy days make dogs sad.

Alright, you got me again.  That’s not exactly true if we are discussing dog facts.  Dogs don’t deal with sadness and depression like we humans do, although sometimes the looks on their faces may imply otherwise.  However, their sleeping patterns do get impacted by the weather.  For example, dogs will sleep more on days that are cloudy/rainy and or cold.  I feel bad for your pup if you live in a region that’s typically cold and cloudy.  Dogs in those areas probably spend over half their lives asleep!  That’s not how we do it in San Antonio.  We are awake, active and adventurous (many of those adventures can be found on this site along with the hiking gear we use).

15.  Even good dogs obey pack mentality.Observe them in a pack and you will learn new things about dogs.

You may have seen studies done involving humans where an ordinary person behaves out of the ordinary (or badly) simply because that person is among a group.  Dogs are not immune to this mentality either, even good ones.  A good dog may go along with a bad crowd just like humans do sometimes.  Let a good dog loose with dogs that are barking, chasing, or fighting and that dog may do the same.  Even if the dog never does those things it may do so as part of the pack.  What’s the best way to keep your dog out of pack mentality?  Keep him/her away from a misbehaving pack.  

16.  One out of every three dogs will get lost.

There’s a reason we put identifying tags on our pets.  They’re curious, they go where their noses take them, and sometimes they run off out of fear.  In case the unexpected happens, make sure your furry family member does not get lost for good.  Use chips, tags, reliable equipment and monitor your pets while they are in the yard.  Loud noises can be scary and painful.  Don’t leave them out alone if you know it will get loud.  

17.  A barking dog is trying to tell you something.

There are many reasons why dogs bark.  Maybe your dog is bored and wants to play.  Maybe your dog is letting you know someone is outside.  Perhaps your dog has separation anxiety.  People are always trying to figure out why their dogs are barking.  Pay attention to your dog and figure it out. Dog facts are an important factor in helping us understand our friends better.  

In some cases a dog may bark just to hear itself barking.  They are comparable to people, you know?  If you can’t figure out the root of the barking ask your veterinarian for help.  Oh, and remember, you train a dog not to bark, by first training him to bark.  

18.  The fastest dog can run 45mph.

You have probably heard that the Greyhound is the fastest breed of dog.  With a top speed in the mid forties it can keep pace with horses, tigers and lions.  No, YOU can’t outrun a lion, but your dog might.  

19.  Some dogs compete in jumping contests.

Competitions known as dock jumping are taking place where dogs jump for distance, off a dock, into a pool.  Some dogs can jump 30 feet or more!  The highest vertical jump made by a dog is more than 6 feet.  Which leads to an important question.  Is our fence high enough?

20.  The Australian Shepherd is an American dog.

You can learn many dog facts while they have their fun at the dog park with each other.

The Australian Shepherd has a medium build and boasts a variety of colors and lengths of fur.  It has eyes that seem to glow and is used primarily for ranch herding.  According to the American Kennel Club it is the cowboy’s herding dog of choice.  You would recognize this dog if you had seen one.  I love the appearance of this dog, especially ones of various colors!  

21.  Dogs are our heroes too.

Dogs act heroically just as people do.  Some dogs spend their lives helping someone in need, such as a service dog.  Others are trained to help our troops in battle.  They may not be trained to fight, or shoot weapons, but they are able to detect “enemies” and explosives.  One German shepherd named Lucca, completed over 400 missions in the Middle East, and was awarded a Purple Heart (unofficially).  I recently read her story in the book, Top Dog: the Story of Marine Hero Lucca.  The book contained a lot of interesting dog facts, and information about military dogs.  I won’t spoil the story for you in case you plan on reading about her.  

There are many more dog facts to cover, but that’s it for now.  Hopefully you learned something new.  Let us know which one was your favorite and then subscribe to be notified of future posts similar to this.  

Source:  Why Do Dogs Drink Out Of The Toilet? by Marty Becker, DVM

I’m a certified personal trainer in San Antonio. After adopting Abbey, I created Places for Pups to help you get outside, exercise with your dog and have fun doing it. We have mastered hiking in Texas Hill Country. Though we emerge from the woods unharmed, we are not responsible for you or your pets. You are solely responsible for trying exercises, or places discussed on this site. Grab the best hiking gear and go dog friendly.  I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.

David Earley


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