101 Interesting Dog Facts for Dog Lovers

April 18, 2019 8 min read

Things You Don't Know About Dogs

  1. 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.
  2. A dog’s mouth exerts 150–200 pounds of pressure per square inch with some dogs exerting up to 450 pounds per square inch.
  3. A dog’s normal temperature is between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. A dog’s pregnancy lasts for approximately 60 days.
  5. A dog’s vision is not fully developed until after the first month.
  6. A German Shepherd named Orient accompanied her blind owner Bill Irwin as he became the first blind person to through-hike the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail in 1990.
  7. A Great Dane named "Just Nuisance" is the only dog to have officially enlisted in the Royal Navy.
  8. A one-year-old dog is as physically mature as a 15-year-old human.
  9. According to a study shared by Cornell University, dogs were domesticated between 9,000 and 34,000 years ago.
  10. All dogs can be traced 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 forbear of the genus Canis, which includes the wolf and jackal as well as the dog.
  11. Americans love dogs! 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 72.9 million homes.
  12. An American Animal Hospital Association poll found that 33% of dog owners admit to talking to their dogs on the phone and leaving answering machine messages for them while away.
  13. An estimated 1,000,000 dogs in the U.S. have been named as the primary beneficiaries in their owner’s will.
  14. At about 6 inches, the Chihuahua is the shortest breed.
  15. Bingo is the name of the dog on the box of Cracker Jacks.
  16. Bloodhound dogs have a keen sense of smell and have been used since the Middle Ages to track criminals.
  17. Cerberus was the tri-headed dog that guarded the underworld in Greek mythology.
  18. Dachshunds were originally bred for fighting badgers.
  19. 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.
  20. Dogs are capable of understanding up to 250 words and gestures, can count up to five, and can perform simple mathematical calculations. The average dog is as intelligent as a two-year-old child.
    cute puppy standing on wooden planks
  21. Dogs are natural pack animals.
  22. Dogs are naturally submissive to any creature with a higher pack status.
  23. Dogs are omnivores -- they eat meat, grains, and vegetables.
  24. Dogs can be trained to detect cancer and other diseases in humans.
  25. Dogs can learn more than 1000 words.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Dogs do dream! Dogs and humans have the same type of slow-wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) and during this REM stage dogs can dream. The twitching and paw movements that occur during their sleep are signs that your pet is dreaming.
  29. Dogs have twice as many muscles to move their ears as people.
  30. Dogs sometimes appear to smile -- much like humans -- with open mouths grinning. This may indicate a relaxed, submissive state.
  31. Dogs who bark the most: Miniature Schnauzers, Cairn Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, Fox Terriers, and West Highland White Terriers.
  32. Dogs with big, square heads and large ears (like Saint Bernard) are the best at hearing subsonic sounds.
  33. 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.
  34. Even with their poor eyesight, dogs can still see better at night than humans do.
  35. 'Frito Feet' is the name of the phenomenon in which the bacteria on a dog's paws cause them to smell like corn chips. Because a pup's feet are in constant contact with the ground, they pick up tons of microorganisms in their paws. When dogs cool off by sweating through the pads of their feet, the combo of moisture and bacteria releases a nutty, popcorn-like aroma. Basically it's dog B.O.
  36. Female dogs are only ready to mate–"in heat"–twice a year for roughly 20 days.
  37. French poodles did not originate in France but in Germany ("poodle" comes from the German pudel or Lundehund, 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.
  38. 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.
  39. Humans have kept dogs as pets for over 12,000 years.
  40. In 1969, Lassie was the first animal inducted into the Animal Hall of Fame.
    Interesting Dog Facts
  41. In ancient China, an emperor's last line of defense was a small Pekingese dog literally hidden up his sleeve.
  42. Laika, 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.
  43. Mastiffs wore armor and were sent after mounted knights in Roman times.
  44. Almost 2 out of 3 American households have at least 1 dog.
  45. More than 5,000,000 puppies are born in the U.S. every year.
  46. Most dogs have 18 or more muscles to tilt, rotate, and move their ears.
  47. 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.
  48. One survey reports that 33% of dog owners admit they talk to their dogs on the phone or leave messages on answering machines while they are away.
  49. One unspayed female dog, her mate and their puppies can produce 67,000 puppies in six years.
  50. Over half of dog owners include their dogs in annual holiday photos.
  51. Paul McCartney of the Beatles recorded a high pitched whistle at the end of "A Day in the Life" for his dog.
  52. 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.
  53. Perky-eared dogs hear sounds better than floppy-eared dogs. 
  54. Petting a dog can lower your blood pressure.
  55. President Calvin Coolidge owned at least a dozen dogs.
  56. President Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Terrier Pete ripped the pants off French Ambassador Jules Jusserand.
  57. Puppies grow to half their body weight in the first four to five months!
  58. Rin Tin Tin was the first Hollywood dog star and he really signed his movie contracts – all 22 of them – with a paw-print.
  59. Search and Rescue dog training begins as games played while puppies.
  60. 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.
  61. Some dogs have shown remarkable ability to detect certain cancers.
  62. Some stray Russian dogs have figured out how to use the subway system in order to travel to more populated areas in search of food.
  63. The American Kennel Club, the most influential dog club in the United States, was founded in 1884.
  64. The ancient religion Zoroastrianism includes in its religious text titled the Zend Avesta a section devoted to the care and breeding of dogs.
  65. The average city dog lives 3 years longer than a country dog.
  66. The average number of puppies in a litter is four to six.
  67. The Basenji is the world’s only barkless dog. Instead, they tend to yodel!
  68. The Border Collie, Poodle, and Golden Retriever are considered the world's smartest dog breeds.
  69. The Chihuahua was named after the state in Mexico where they were discovered.
  70. The first dogs were self-domesticated wolves which, at least 12,000 years ago, became attracted to the first sites of permanent human habitation.
  71. The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts both offer merit badges in dog care.
  72. The largest dog was an English Mastiff who weighed 343 pounds.
  73. The most popular dog breed in Canada, U.S., and Great Britain is the Labrador retriever.
  74. The most popular male dog names are Max and Jake. The most popular female dog names are Maggie and Molly.
  75. The Taco Bell Chihuahua is a rescued dog named Gidget.
  76. 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.
  77. The process of birthing puppies is called "whelping."
  78. The Russians trained dogs during WWII to run suicide missions with mines strapped to their backs.
  79. The smallest dog on record was a matchbox-sized Yorkshire Terrier. It was 2.5" tall at the shoulder, 3.5" from nose tip to tail, and weighed only 4 ounces.
  80. The U.S. has the highest dog population in the world.
    Dog wet nose
  81. The wetness of a dog's nose is essential for determining what direction a smell is coming from.
  82. The World Canine Organization recognizes 360 breeds of dogs.
  83. The world's oldest breed, the Saluki, originated in Egypt around 329 B.C.
  84. The world’s smallest dog breed is the Chihuahua.
  85. The world’s smartest dogs are thought to be (1) the Border Collie, (2) the Poodle, and (3) the Golden Retriever, and the dumbest dog is believed to be the Afghan Hound.
  86. There are almost 5 million dog bites per year; children are the main victims. Dog bites cause losses of over $1 billion a year.
  87. There are an estimated 400 million dogs in the world.
  88. There are nearly 14,000 animal shelters and rescue groups across North America.
  89. Toto in The Wizard of Oz was played by a female Cairn Terrier named Terry.
  90. U.S. Customs dogs "Rocky" and "Barco" were so good at patrolling the border that Mexican drug lords put a $300,000 bounty on their heads.
  91. When "Bobbie," a Collie/Shepherd mix, was accidentally abandoned on a family vacation, he traveled 2,551 miles over six months to return to his home.
  92. While not the best when it comes to sight, dogs have a keen sense of hearing and can hear sounds at 4 times the distance of humans.
  93. With love and a little patience, dogs can learn to walk backward, salute, and bow.
  94. Wow, check out those choppers! Puppies have 28 teeth and normal adult dogs have 42.
  95. One unspayed female dog, her mate and their puppies can produce 67,000 puppies in six years.
  96. All dogs are identical in anatomy, with 321 bones and 42 permanent teeth
  97. The Bible mentions dogs 14 times.
  98. Growing up. While the Chow Chow dogs are well known for their distinctive blue-black tongues, they’re actually born with pink tongues. They turn blue-black at 8-10 weeks of age.
  99. Flyball, a dog sport consisting of relays, hurdles, and ball retrieving, was developed in the late 60s, and the first tournament was held in 1983.
  100. The smallest known adult dog was a Yorkshire Terrier that was only 2.5 inches at the shoulder and weighed only 4 ounces.
  101. Dogs sleep for an average of 10 hours per day
    interesting facts about dogs