Written by Michael

Modified & Updated: 30 Dec 2023

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

  1. Kingdom: Animalia
  2. Class: Mammalia
  3. Family: Canidae
  4. Diet: Primarily carnivores
  5. Behavior: Similar to the social and cognitive skills of a 2-3-year-old human
  6. Lifespan: 10 to 13 years on average
  7. Dogs in the World: 525 million
  8. Number of Dog Breeds: 340
  9. Largest Breed: Irish Wolfhound
  10. Smallest Breed: Chihuahua
  1. Behavior: Dogs Are Smarter than You Think
  2. Breeds: There Are Hundreds of Types of Dogs
  3. Behavior: Dogs Can Be More Mature than Humans
  4. Behavior: Dogs Can Run at Speeds of up to 45mph
  5. Identity: Every Dog Has a Unique Nose Print
  6. Nature: Dogs Really Are a Man’s Best Friend
  7. Breeds: Dogs Come in an Incredible Variety of Sizes
  8. History: Dogs Are Descended from A 15-Million-Year-Old Species
  9. History: A Dog Was One of the First Space Travelers
  10. Scientific Name: The Scientific Name for a Dog Is “Friendly Dog Wolf”
  1. Lord Byron, Prevented from Bringing His Dog to Cambridge, Brought a Bear Instead!
  2. Former Beatle Paul McCartney Recorded Music for Dogs
  3. Dogs Were Used as Suicide Bombers During WWII
  4. Today’s Dogs Are Getting Fatter and Fatter
  5. Chocolate Has a Chemical in It that Can Kill Dogs
  6. There Are Many Famous Dogs in Mythology
  7. The Labrador Is the USA’s Most Popular Pet Dog
  8. Dogs Love the Smell of Poop!
  9. Dogs Can Feel Both Simple and Complex Emotions
  10. Dogs Exhibit Behavior Linked to Ancient Nesting Instincts
Table of Contents

Dogs Are Smarter than You Think

Dog facts reveal that dogs are highly intelligent! They are able to understand up to around 250 spoken words, and can understand mathematical calculations. Some stray Russian dogs were even observed to have figured out the subway system, working out how to get to places with food they could scavenge! Dogs have a certain degree of emotional intelligence too and can pick up on their owners’ moods. Some people even believe that their dogs can detect weather patterns. The average dog is believed to have the intelligence of a 2-year-old child.

There Are Hundreds of Types of Dogs

There are hundreds of different kinds of dog breeds in the world and even more hybrids of different breeds. Each breed has its own distinctive traits and personality. An Afghan Hound, for example, is supposed to be intelligent, loyal and just a little bit aloof, while a Norfolk Terrier is friendly, sociable and loves to have fun. While most breeds are domesticated, dog facts teach us that some canines are used for herding (like the Australian Shepherd) and others, like the English Setter, are used for sports.

Dogs Can Be More Mature than Humans

We all know that dogs age faster than us – but did you know that a 1-year-old dog is as mature as a 15-year-old human? In general, dog aging mimics the stages of a human’s development. Puppies are fun-loving and a bit crazy, while adolescent dogs are prone to being moody and unpredictable. Adult dogs tend to be quite confident, while older dogs get tired more easily and enjoy naps. Smaller dogs mature faster than larger dogs and they also live longer.

Dogs Can Run at Speeds of up to 45mph

Flash Dog
Flash Dog

Greyhounds win the prize for being the fastest dogs on Earth: they are able to run at speeds up to 45 miles per hour. Interestingly, there are indications in tombs that Greyhounds were kept by the Ancient Egyptians. Other speedy dog breeds include the Hungarian Vizsla, the Doberman Pinscher and, perhaps more surprisingly, the Jack Russell Terrier. When it comes to other activities dogs excel at, Newfoundlands are great swimmers – they even have webbed feet designed to make them faster in water, a bit like ducks.

Every Dog Has a Unique Nose Print

If you think many dogs look the same, think again. One of the most fascinating dog facts reveals that a dog’s nose print is as unique a pattern as a human’s fingerprint. If you take a magnifying glass and look closely at a dog’s nose, you will see a series of bumps and ridges that are completely different than any other pet. Cats also display this unique characteristic. You could try taking a paper print of this special nose print if your pet will let you!

Dogs Really Are a Man’s Best Friend

There is a special relationship between human beings and their dogs, perhaps unlike that of any other pet. Humans have kept dogs as pets for over 12,000 years. Many people talk to their dogs; some people are entirely dependent on them for company and love. A third of pet owners admit to talking to their furry friends on the phone and leaving them messages on the answering machine. About 70% of people sign their pets’ names alongside theirs in Christmas and birthday cards, and over half include their pet in significant family photos. And did you know that dogs are the number one beneficiary in over 1,000,000 US owners’ wills?

Dogs Come in an Incredible Variety of Sizes

The largest breed of dog is the Irish Wolfhound which can grow to almost one meter in height and can weigh up to 120lbs – similar to a small human. The smallest breed, on the other hand, is the Chihuahua, which is closer to the size of a cuddly toy. This breed is around 20cm tall and weighs 2-6lbs at the most. A more average-sized dog, like the English Cocker Spaniel, grows to 40cm tall and weighs around 30lbs.

Dogs Are Descended from A 15-Million-Year-Old Species

It is thought that all the different types of dogs on Earth are descended from a strange species called Tomarctus that lived a cool 15 million years ago. The oldest known specific breed was called Saluki. These dogs were pets belonging to the Ancient Egyptians. The earliest dogs are thought to have emerged at around the same time as human hunter gatherers, and more modern dogs are also descended from wolves.

A Dog Was One of the First Space Travelers

Laika Space Dog
Laika Space Dog

One of our saddest dog facts concerns the Soviet Union sending the first dog into space in 1957. Laika was the first animal to be launched into space by satellite. The mission was designed to test the safety of space travel, but for Laika it was a suicide mission as the testing did not include the return trip. She was found later to have died hours after takeoff from a combination of panic and intense heat. Worldwide media coverage of the events, criticizing the use of the dog, forced the Soviets to defend themselves and release a statement saying that the experiment was to benefit humanity.

The Scientific Name for a Dog Is ‘Friendly Dog Wolf’

One of our more obscure dog facts regards this animal’s scientific name: Canis Lupis Familiaris, which means friendly dog wolf. This makes reference to the fact that dogs are actually descended from wolves. The split between the two types of animal occurred between 10,000 and 100,000 years ago. It is not really possible to domesticate wolves in the same way as dogs, though. Typically, wolves are much more aggressive and unpredictable. Wolves require a lot more space than dogs and avoid socialization.

Lord Byron, Prevented From Bringing His Dog to Cambridge, Brought a Bear Instead!

A leading figure in the Romantic movement, Lord Byron was famous for his great poetry, his travels and fighting in Greece, and an eccentric lifestyle which included mounting up huge debts, enjoying great love affairs and living in self-imposed exile. He caused some controversy when he was not allowed to bring his pet dog, Boatswain, a Newfoundland, to live with him in halls in Cambridge University. After carefully checking through the rules, he decided to bring a pet bear instead. He later commissioned a large marble gravestone for Boatswain after his beloved pet’s death, despite being deeply in debt at the time.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney Recorded Music for Dogs

Former Beatle Paul McCartney recorded a special high pitched sound at the end of ‘A Day in the Life’ – the last song on the Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album – that would be audible only to dogs at 15 kilohertz. Dogs are able to detect frequencies of sound that are inaudible to the human ear. Paul McCartney is a dog lover and animal activist; this was a fun prank to make dogs really pay attention to the album!

Dogs Were Used as Suicide Bombers During WWII

During WWII the Russians trained a group of dogs to go on missions of death with mines fixed to their bodies. The dogs were taught to associate the underside of tanks with food, so they would crawl underneath the tank, where the bomb would detonate and explode, blowing up the tank and unfortunately killing the dog, too. However, as they had been trained using Soviet tanks, the dogs were more inclined to crawl under these than the German equivalents.

Today’s Dogs Are Getting Fatter and Fatter

fat dog meme
Fat Dog Meme

The number one health problem that is emerging in the dog population interestingly parallels a growing problem for humans and is no doubt caused by overly enthusiastic owners. That’s right – obesity. Obesity occurs when dogs are over nourished and not given enough exercise. It occurs most commonly in middle aged dogs and can lead to health issues in all of the organs of the body and even lead to early death.

Chocolate Has a Chemical in It that Can Kill Dogs

Be careful what you feed your dog. Chocolate has a substance in it, a bit like caffeine, that can kill dogs or at least make them very sick. It is the number cause of dog poisoning. Usually a dog will vomit, but may need to be given hydrogen peroxide to induce this. The stimulants in chocolate can cause dogs to have extreme thirst, start pacing, have seizures, or have too much energy that can lead to shaking, panting and diarrhea.

There Are Many Famous Dogs in Mythology

Cerberus Dog Costume

Cerberus, the well-known three-headed ferocious dog from Greek mythology, guarded the gates of the underworld. He is best known for his part in one of Hercules’ labors, where Hercules had to drag him without aid to the surface of the Earth. Dogs are also prevalent in Chinese myths, appearing as heroes, being magical, or enabling harvests. The eleventh symbol in the cycle of the Zodiac in South East Asia is the dog, and people born in the year of the dog are supposed to have similar qualities to dogs – such as loyalty and energy.

The Labrador Is the USA’s Most Popular Pet Dog

The Labrador has long been the most popular dog among American owners. Perhaps this is because these canines are aesthetically pleasing as well as good natured and quite fluffy. They have had some stiff competition over the decades, though. Poodles enjoyed great popularity from 1960-1982. The Beagle and the Cocker Spaniel have also enjoyed periods of popularity. The American Kennel Club announces statistics on the most popular dogs every year, based on owners who register their pets.

Dogs Love the Smell of Poop!

We all know that dogs love to roll in poop – their own or someone else’s’, they’re not very fussy. But the reason for this, according to dog facts, is that they have a very different sense of smell to humans. While we are reaching for a sick bag, they are having a great time because to a dog the smell of poop is fantastic! Their sense of smell is very pronounced which is why they can even track humans through our footprints.

Dogs Can Feel Both Simple and Complex Emotions

Dogs have the capacity to feel a range of emotions. Some emotions – like happiness or anger – are known as primary, while others are more complex and require greater cognitive ability. Dogs can feel both, including even the complicated feeling of jealousy. When they see their owner petting some other dog, this can kick in and often leads to dog fights! An experiment at the University of Vienna verified this. Groups of dogs were taught to perform tricks, like shaking hands, with rewards being given to only one dog. Without a reward, the others soon stopped participating.

Dogs Exhibit Behavior Linked to Ancient Nesting Instincts

If you see your dog spinning around in circles before settling down for a nap, don’t worry about his sanity. This is actually a nesting instinct that is passed down from his ancient ancestors. Dog facts reveal that these animals exhibit a number of strange behaviors that link to this instinct, like furious digging, marking territory, shredding items of material or pawing at things. Giving them a bed of their own, perhaps with loose cedar chips to play with, will allow them to do this in a domesticated environment.

Dog Facts – Facts about Dogs Summary

Dog-FactsDog facts include this animal’s history, revealing that dogs are descended from an ancient species and have been friends of man since at least the time of the Ancient Egyptians. They enjoy a long history of mutual affection with humans, perhaps more than any other domesticated pet. They are intelligent beings, both rationally and emotionally, and can be trained to detect things, take care of the blind and understand language. Their sense perceptions are vastly superior to those of humans. There are hundreds of different breeds of dog, and even more mixed breeds, ranging from the tiny handbag varieties to the super-speedy and massive.

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