30 mind-blowing facts about dogs

Even the most experienced dog owner will be astounded by these completely mind-blowing facts about our beloved canine companions!

19th April 2015

Even the most experienced dog owner will be surprised by these completely mind-blowing facts about our beloved canine companions!

  1. Dogs can see in the dark because of the tapetum lucidum, a mirror-like membrane in dogs’ eyes. There are light-and-motion sensitive cells in the retina that are referred to as rods, which can tell the difference between light and shadow. The tapetum lucidum rebounds the light that the rods didn’t absorb into the retinas so they can take in more light. Dogs have evolved to be able to see better in dim light, yet they can’t do so as well as cats.
  2. When dogs howl, they adjust the pitch according to what other dogs’ howls sound like so that theirs can appear unique.
  3. A greyhound can run 45mph, compared to the average 19mph speed of most dogs. This makes them the fastest breed in the world, and the second fastest land animal behind the cheetah.
  4. The only dog unable to bark is the Basenji from Central Africa. It is thought the ability was bred out of them because a barking dog would have historically betrayed people’s presence to enemies. The noise they make when excited is often described as yodelling.
  5. The English term for a dog being ‘man’s best friend’ is also used in various other languages around the world.
  6. Dogs have been known to detect various ailments in humans, from cancer to diabetes. A study at the Schillhohe Hospital in Germany found that dogs may be able to smell many organic compounds in the human body that show it isn’t working properly.
  7. Dogs don’t like rain because the amplified sound hurts their sensitive ears.
  8. The reason why dogs sometimes take treats or food to another area or room is because they think you are the alpha of the pack, and would prefer to eat in private where you won’t attempt to steal their food.
  9. Licking is a way for a dog to demonstrate they are submissive towards someone who is more dominant than they are.
  10. Dogs enjoy rolling around in dirt or rubbish because the odour masks their own smell. This was useful in the wild when hunting prey and trying to avoid being hunted themselves.
  11. Although a dog only has 1,700 taste buds compared to the 9,000 a human has, some of them are sensitive to water. Since dogs are carnivores, it is thought their taste buds may have evolved in this way in order to maintain a balance of internal fluids after eating certain things, such as meat with high salt content. This is an ability that humans don’t possess.
  12. Dogs are able to smell week-old human fingerprints.
  13. The earliest European images of dogs date back 12,000 years ago to cave drawings found in Spain.
  14. The Chow Chow and Shar-Pei both have black tongues, but the reason why is a mystery. They are thought to be the only two dog breeds that do, as every other one has a pink tongue.
  15. It is thought that the shape of a dog’s face can indicate their lifespan. Those with flat faces are not considered to live as long as those with pointed faces.
  16. A study at the University of Manchester conducted in 2006 found that around 50% of dogs tend to be left-pawed whilst 50% are right-pawed. This is interesting compared with the fact that 90% of humans are right-handed, and only 10% are left-handed.
  17. Puppies have 28 teeth, after they have fully developed by eight weeks of age.
  18. Dogs have 42 teeth, with six incisors and two canines at the front of the mouth, and lots of molars and premolars at the back.
  19. The Newfoundland was originally bred to rescue people from drowning and assist fishermen with hauling their nets. As such, they have webbed feet and a water resistant coat.
  20. Kubla Khan owned 5,000 Mastiffs, the most dogs owned by anyone.
  21. A dog’s whiskers can sense minute changes in airflow. They are small, touch sensitive hairs are called vibrissae and are found above the eyes, on the muzzle and below the jaw.
  22. Dalmatians can often suffer from deafness in one or both ears, with 30% of them experiencing this. This is because they don’t have many mature melanocytes (melanin producing cells) in their inner ears, which is common in dogs with a piebald or albino coat. It has also been discovered that Dalmatians with blue eyes are more likely to be deaf than those with brown, but the reason why is not yet known. Furthermore, Dalmatians with larger patches of dark pigment are less likely to be deaf.
  23. Dogs can locate a sound source in 6/100ths of a second.
  24. The entire body of a puppy is covered with nerve endings that are touch-sensitive, so it is unsurprising that the first sense a puppy develops is touch. They are born blind, deaf and toothless.
  25. A dog’s shoulder blades are detached from their skeleton to allow for greater flexibility when running.
  26. Sitting on someone’s feet is a dog’s way of staking their claim over them, according to experts.
  27. Dogs have a third eyelid called a haw to protect the eye and help it to remain moist.
  28. Walking around in circles to make their sleeping area as comfortable as possible dates back thousands of years to when dogs would make nests in grass.
  29. Dogs have more than twelve separate muscles that control the movement of their ears.
  30. Sometimes dogs roll around in something because they want to take the smell of it with them, if they particularly like it.

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