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101 Things You Might Not Know About Your Dog

Written by Ella White

Updated

Smart collie raising his paw up

Maybe you’ve heard of some of these facts, if you’re an avid reader of our blog, you’ll definitely know a few. But even the most enthusiastic dog owner won’t have heard of all of these!

This list of 101 things you might not know about your dog could just shed some light on the traits and characteristics that have left you scratching your head and wondering what exactly is going on inside theirs.

Facts about dogs

  1. There are about 400 million dogs in the world.
  2. Dogs can learn more than 1,000 words, though most probably only know about 250.
  3. Dogs are able to understand time, and will miss their owners when they are left alone.
  4. Dogs can also smell time, so they know how long ago another dog marked their territory.
  5. Dogs can sense heat and thermal radiation with their noses.
  6. Dogs can sniff at the same time as breathing.
  7. Dogs communicate with both other dogs and humans through barking.
  8. Dogs have unique nose prints, just like human fingerprints.
  9. Dogs see best at dawn and dusk due to the structure of their eyes.
  10. Dogs have wet noses to help them smell better.
  11. However, a dry nose doesn’t mean your dog is sick – it’s totally normal in most cases.
  12. Dogs are sensitive to drops in barometric pressure.  
  13. No all tail wagging = happiness. A stiff, rapid, upright tail movement is actually a sign of focus in dogs.
  14. Dogs with perky ears can hear better than floppy-eared dogs.
  15. Dogs sniff each other’s bottoms to communicate through scents released from the anal glands – lovely!
  16. Dogs don’t kick backward after they go to the toilet to cover it up. They have scent glands in their feet to help mark their territory.
  17. A female dog only goes into heat twice a year.
  18. Whiskers help dogs to detect faint vibrations and changes in air movement.
  19. Dogs have 319-321 bones in their bodies.
  20. Dogs rarely get cavities thanks to their low-sugar diets and differing mouth bacteria.
  21. Around 21% of dogs snore.
  22. Dogs curl up to sleep to keep warm and protect vital organs – a hangover from their wolf ancestry. 
  23. Dogs have 1,700 taste buds.
  24. The carnassial tooth is the large tooth in the middle of a dog’s upper jaw. It helps them crush and shear meat.
  25. Dogs sweat through the pads of their feet.
  26. Dogs have three eyelids.
  27. Dogs can detect the planet’s magnetic field and usually defecate in line with it.
  28. Service dogs are recognized as “necessary medical equipment” in the U.S.
  29. Dogs don’t just lick humans to show affection. They also like the saltiness of our skin.
  30. Dogs use twice as many muscles to move their ears than humans.
  31. Dogs can learn to count and solve simple math problems.
  32. Dogs can be known to smell like popcorn or chips, due to the bacteria that lives in their skin and fur.
  33. Some dogs can learn to walk backwards.
  34. Some dog’s sense of smell is up to 10 million times better than humans’.
  35. Dogs probably dream about things they love, like playing, eating, and chasing.
  36. Dogs can get jealous.
  37. Dogs can learn sign language.
  38. Dogs can be trained to detect cancer in humans.
  39. 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the USA, and 20% of them are euthanized.
  40. Domestic dogs can breed with wolves.
  41. Dogs can move their ears independently, which helps them communicate.
  42. Dogs have between 6-24 bones in their tails.
  43. Dogs have a ‘preferred’ paw and can be left or right pawed.
  44. Dogs are among a small group of animals who show voluntary unselfish kindness towards others without reward.
Aussie Shepherd puppy prancing through grass

Facts about puppies

  1. Heat sensors in puppies' noses help them find their moms while their eyes and ears are closed.
  2. Puppies grow to half their body weight in the first four to five months.
  3. Small breeds are often fully grown by 8 months, while giant breeds don’t reach full size until they’re 18 months old.
  4. Puppies sleep 18 to 20 hours a day.
  5. Tired puppies can be cranky just like human kids.
  6. Puppies have 28 teeth, while adult dogs have 42.
  7. Puppies are born deaf, but adult dogs can hear 4 times farther than humans.
Dachshund trotting through grass carrying his frisbe

Facts about dog breeds

  1. The Greyhound can run up to 44 miles per hour and can outrun a cheetah.
  2. The Saluki is the world’s oldest breed, and is thought to have originated in Egypt around 329 B.C. 
  3. The Mastiff is the world’s heaviest breed and weighs around 200 pounds.
  4. Miniature Schnauzers, Cairn Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, Fox Terriers and West Highland White Terriers are the breeds that bark the most.
  5. The Newfoundland was designed to swim, with a water-resistant coat and webbed feet.
  6. The Alaskan Malamute can withstand temperatures as low as -70 degrees.
  7. The dog with the longest ears was a Bloodhound named Tigger. Each measured more than 13 inches.
  8. The Norwegian Lundehund has six toes on each foot.
  9. The Basenji is the only dog that can’t bark.
  10. Many Chihuahuas are born with soft spots in their skulls.
  11. The American Water Spaniel was the first breed developed to retrieve from boats.
  12. Dachshunds were originally bred to fight and hunt badgers.
  13. A Boxer named Brandy had the longest tongue, measuring 17 inches.
  14. A Pit Bull is not actually one breed, but a generic term used to describe a group of dogs that share similar characteristics and traits.
  15. A group of Pugs is called a “grumble”.
  16. Snoopy and Odie from Garfield are Beagles.
  17. The oldest dog in the world was a 21-year-old Dachshund called Chanel.
  18.  The Great Dane is the tallest breed, with the largest ever measuring in at 44 inches from foot to wither and stretching 7 ft 4 in when standing on its hind legs.
  19. Border Collies and Poodles are the smartest dog breeds in the world.
  20. The Bloodhound’s sense of smell is so accurate that its tracking can be used as evidence in a court of law.
  21. The Xoloitzcuintli or Mexican Hairless Dog is the least hairy dog breed.
  22. The smallest dog ever was a dwarf Yorkshire terrier that stood to just 2.8 in at the shoulder and 3.75 in from nose to tail.
  23. Snuppy, an Afghan hound puppy, was the first cloned dog to survive birth. He was born in South Korea in 2005, and lived 10 years.
  24. Thirteen U.S. states have designated state dogs
  25. There are 35 recognized species of wild dogs in the world.
  26. Chow Chows are born with pink tongues that turn to a deep purple or bluish black color as they age.
  27. Dalmatians are born with completely white coats and develop their spots as they get older.
back of dog and human enjoying a view over the water

Facts about humans and dogs 

  1. More than half of all U.S. presidents have owned dogs. In fact, only 13 have not.
  2. Stroking dogs and sharing eye contact with them releases the “feel good” hormone oxytocin in both the human and the dog being stroked.
  3. National Dog Day was founded in 2004 and is celebrated on August 26th.
  4. It’s believed that dogs were domesticated between 9,000 and 34,000 years ago.
  5. 45% percent of dogs in the USA sleep in their owner’s bed.
  6. There are 8,512 results found for “dog” in the Guinness Book of World Records.
  7. Americans spend a total of $1,201 on their dogs every year.
  8. Dogs can detect fear and stress in humans by smelling their perspiration.
  9. About 63.4 million households in the USA own at least one dog.
  10. People in ancient China put dogs up their sleeves to keep warm.
  11. Lassie was the first animal inducted into the Animal Hall of Fame.
  12. Petting a dog can help lower your blood pressure.
  13. It was once illegal to keep dogs as pets in Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik.
  14. Three of the 12 dogs on the Titanic survived.
  15. The USA has the highest dog population per capita in the world.
  16. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts can earn merit badges in dog care.
  17. Walt Disney’s family dog, Sunnee, was the inspiration behind Lady and the Tramp.
  18. In 1990, a German Shepherd named Orient accompanied her owner as he became the first blind person to hike the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail.
  19. Dogs are mentioned more than 35 times in the Bible.
  20. President Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Terrier, named Pete, ripped the pants off French Ambassador Jules Jusserand. 
  21. Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in the UK is the longest-running pet shelter on a single site. It opened on May 13 1871.
  22. As of 2022, 200 dog breeds are recognized by the American Kennel Club.
  23. 36 is the highest number of dogs walked simultaneously by one person.