45 Fascinating and Interesting Facts About Dogs

facts about dogs

There is so much to learn about dogs. Do you know which is the rarest dog breed? What is the most expensive dog ever sold and for how much? Do dogs laugh, sweat or dream? Continue reading for more fascinating and interesting facts about dogs.

1. What is the rarest dog on earth

The New Guinea singing dog is the rarest dog breed.

The Cretan hound and the Stabyhoun are also very rare. Others on the list are Norwegian Lundehund, Lagotto Romagnolo, Azawakh, Otterhound and, Mudi.

2. How many dogs are in the world

As you can imagine, it’s really hard to figure out since not all dogs are owned. We can only estimate that there are approximately 900 million dogs around the world and 200 million of those are stray dogs.

3. What is the most popular breed in the U.S

According to Rover’s database of more than a million pet parents, the most popular breeds in the United States are mixed breeds, Labrador retrievers and, Chihuahuas.

Based on the 2019 AKC registration statistics of purebred, the Labrador Retriever takes the top spot for the 29th year in a row.

4. How old is the oldest dog in the world

I couldn’t find any information regarding the oldest living dog as of February 2021.

There was Maggie, an Australian Kelpie, who lived to be 30 years old and lived on a farm. Because her owner had lost her papers, she couldn’t be entered into the Guinness World Records.

The current world record holder for the oldest dog in the world is Bluey, an Australian cattle dog, who lived from 1910 to 1939 and died at the age of 29 years and five months.

In June 2020, Augie was declared the oldest Golden retriever in history at age 20! I couldn’t find any information as to whether she was still alive today.

5. Which is the tiniest dog breed

The smallest dog breed is the Chihuahua. These dogs will weigh around four to six pounds and measure five to eight inches tall, per the AKC.

You can also find “teacup” versions of dog breeds, such as the Yorkshire Terrier, the Bichon Frise, the Pug, the Shih Tzu, and yes even the Chihuahua.

6. Which is the tallest dog breed

The AKC says the Irish Wolfhound is the tallest dog breed on its list of recognized breeds, with a minimum height of 32 inches, but could typically reach 35 inches.

The tallest dog ever in the Guinness World Records history is Zeus, a Great Dane, measuring 44 inches tall. He passed away in 2014.

7. What are the largest dog breeds

Some dog breeds qualify as ‘gentle giant breeds’.

The Great Dane is amongst the tallest dog breeds.

The Irish wolfhound is the tallest of all dogs, even the Great Dane. It is equal to a donkey in height.

The English mastiff is one of the largest dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club. Growing to a height of 30 inches, these dogs can weigh as much as 250 pounds. 

The Newfoundland dog stand between 27-30 inches tall and weigh as much as 150 pounds. 

The Saint Bernard dog can stand between 25-30 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 140 to 180 pounds.

The Leonberger measures between 27-31 inches tall and can weigh up to 170 pounds.

8. Which dogs live longer

Here’s the average lifespan of breeds that live the longest.

Up to 15 years: Maltese, Beagle, Australian Shepherd, Lhasa Apso, Bichon, Italian Greyhound, Yorkshire Terrier

Up to 16 years: Australian Cattle Dog, Cockapoo, Jack Russell, Toy Poodle, Dachshund, Havanese, Papillon, Pomeranian

Up to 18 years: New Guinea Singing dog, Chinese Crested, Shih Tzu,

From 16 – 18 years: Chihuahua, Manchester Terrier (toy),

From 15 – 19 years: Coton de Tulear

From 13 – 15 years: Finnish Spitz

From 12 – 16 years: Miniature Pinscher

From 12 – 18 years: Rat Terrier

From 12 – 14 years: Toy Poodle

9. Which dog is the smartest

The Border Collie is considered the smartest of all breeds of dog. He can learn a new command in under five repetitions.

Other smart breeds are: Poodle, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Shetland Sheepdog, Labrador retriever, Papillon

Did you know: a dog is as smart as a two-year-old!

10. Who is the most famous dog in history

Rin Tin Tin was a German Shepherd who was rescued in France during World War I by an American soldier. After the war, Rin Tin Tin trained to star in movies. He was featured in 28 films.

In more recent years, Smiley, the adorable Golden Retriever, was a celebrity on Instagram and Facebook. He was born without eyes and was raised in a puppy mill. He was so loving and full of joy that he became a therapy dog to mentally ill and disabled patients. He always had an irresistible grin. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2017, at the age of 15.

11. What is the oldest dog breed

The answer is up for debate. There is no conclusive evidence.

Based on science, it is believed that the Akita Inu is the world’s oldest breed. Researchers can tell by its DNA that its ancestry dates to around 10,000 years ago.

The Basenji is another one of the oldest dog breeds. There’s evidence that it has been around for about 8,000 years.

The Afghan Hound is also one of the oldest dog breeds, as its origins date back at least 8,000 years ago. 

The Alaskan Malamute also falls into the category of the oldest dog breeds. They were named by a tribe that lived in Alaska around 2000-3000 years ago.

12. What is the most expensive dog breed

In 2014, a Tibetan Mastiff was sold for $1.95 million in China and was the most expensive dog ever sold.

The popularity of a dog breed changes over the years meaning that the supply and demand will determine how expensive a dog breed will get.

Lately, some of the most expensive dogs in the world are ‘designer dogs’. These are a mix of two breeds, such as Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, etc.

13. Top dogs breeds with the best sense of smell

Bloodhounds: The bloodhound has the most olfactory sensors of any breed, close to 300 million scent receptors. They can be used to track on the ground as well as in the air.

Basset Hounds: their large ears help bring scents up from the ground, and the fold under its chin will traps scents near his nose.

Beagles: will follow their noses extensively if we let them. Beagles are trained and work for USDA and US Customs to sniff for contraband food and other undesirable items at airports.

German Shepherds: These dogs use air-scent tracking to find what they’re looking for. They’re well known for their search and rescue abilities to find live victims. German Shepherds are also used by the military, airport security, and law enforcement.

14. A dog’s sense of smell is amazing

A dog’s sense of smell is between 10,000 – 100,000 times more acute than humans.

Dogs can smell up to 40 feet below the ground.

Dogs can detect explosives, drugs, cancer cells, and infectious diseases.

15. Each dog has a unique nose print

A dog’s nose prints are as unique as a human’s fingerprints. You can see lines, and the patterns they form can be used to identify each dog.

16. Why dogs sniff each other’s butt

The main reason is to know if they met before! 🙂

Thanks to the vomeronasal organ located in their noses, dogs sniff to find the other dog’s apocrine glands.

These glands will then help them learn the dog’s gender, mating status, mood, health, what they’ve eaten lately. It’s like checking out someone’s profile on Facebook or Instagram.

17. Why is your dog yawning

Yawning is a way for dogs to communicate, with humans and other dogs. Dogs will yawn for different reasons and situations.

A dog will yawn when he’s excited about what they’re going to do, such as getting ready for a walk.

Yawning can also indicate stress and anxiety. The dog is feeling uncomfortable.

The yawn is used as a calming signal. For example, dogs don’t really like hugs and it would be their way to tell you how he needs space.

18. Dogs can understand words

Experts say that dogs can understand between 100 and 200 words, similar to a 2 or 3-year-old child. Service dogs for deaf persons can furthermore understand hand signals.

Dogs can also learn more than 1000 words.

19. Dogs have three eyelids

Humans have an upper eyelid and a lower one. All dogs, on the other hand, have three eyelids per eye. It is located in the inner corner of their eyes under the lower lid. That’s why you don’t really see it, but you might notice it as your dog is falling asleep.

The third eyelid is there for four reasons:

  • Protect the eye from injury
  • Keep the cornea clean
  • Protect against infection
  • Produce additional tears

20. Dogs have a sense of time

In my house, we don’t need a watch to know it’s 6:30 am or 4:30 pm because our dogs tell us it’s feeding time!

It’s more a sense of time than a concept of time. Yes, habit and repetition are part of it, but may also be the result of neurons in an animal’s brain which would activate when he is “waiting”.

21. Newfoundlands have the longest toes of all breeds

And Labrador retrievers come in second.

22. Chocolate can be deadly to dogs

Why is it dangerous for a dog to eat chocolate?

It’s because it contains toxic substances. Depending on the amount of chocolate ingested, it can cause diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, irregular heart function, and death.

The previous owners of our Chocolate Lab had put him in his crate while they were going out. Unfortunately, the latch of the door was not closed properly and he escaped. Although he was confined to the basement, a bag of chocolate chips and a Toblerone tablet were easily accessible on a shelve and he ate a lot of it. He was very sick that night and had to be monitored closely. Thankfully he recovered and he’s still with us at 13 years-old.

23. Do dogs dream

Yes they do! Researchers concluded that animals, dogs included, have complex dreams.

All our dogs either twitch or make noises when they’re sleeping. The senior dog usually moves his hind legs as if he was running. Since he rarely runs now, I’m thinking in his dream he’s younger and can run fast like he used to do.

24. Do dogs laugh

Sort of! It’s more like a harsh pant that sounds like a laugh, which the dog exhibits during a fun moment.

We’ve seen pictures of dogs smiling, but are they really?

A dog appears to smile when it opens its mouth and pulls back its lips. This “dog smile” usually occurs when a dog is relaxed and seems happy.

25. Do dogs sweat

Yes dogs do sweat but not the same way humans do. Dogs have sweat glands located in your dog’s paw pads. When a dog is hot, these glands will activate to help him cool down. 

26. Do dogs see colors

Dogs’ ability to see colours is limited to yellow, blue, and gray.

To a dog, red is a dark brownish-gray or black. Yellow, orange, and green appear yellowish.

On the other hand, they see blue very well. Purple to a dog is the same as blue.

27. Do dogs think

Yes, dogs think, but since they can’t use words, we can figure it out by their expressions and body language.

If you’re sad, your dog will notice and think that putting his head on your lap will comfort you.

If he wants to play with another dog, he will take the posture of extending his front legs and show excitement.

If he’s confused, he’s trying to think what you want and will tilt his head.

If he’s left alone, he might start howling because he doesn’t want to be alone.

28. Some dogs can’t swim

It’s a myth that all dogs are natural swimmers.

If a dog has a large and heavy chest, or short legs, or a short muzzle, then he most probably cannot swim. Amongst those are: The BulldogPugDachshundPekingeseBasset HoundBoxer, Chow Chow, Corgi, Staffordshire Bull Terrier,  Shih Tzu.

Our first dog, a Golden Retriever, was literally afraid of the water. I took her to the beach and tried to get her in the water but all she did was run parallel to it and was determined not to get in.

It took lots of practice of throwing a stick in the water, at first very closed to the beach. She got her paws wet to get it.

It took weeks. I would throw the stick a little further every time. And one day, as she walked in to retrieve it, all of sudden she couldn’t touch the bottom anymore and had no choice but to start the dog paddle.

I still laugh remembering the look on her face. From that point on, there was no stopping her. She loved swimming.

29. Which dog breeds have webbed feet

All dogs have webbed feet, sort of.

Some breeds though have more webbing between their toes, which helps them be faster and stronger in the water.

Newfoundlands, Labrador retrievers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Portuguese Water Dogs, Standard Poodles, American Water Spaniels, German Wirehaired Pointers, Weimaraners, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers all are web-footed.

30. Dogs can sense death

Dogs have the ability to sense death through body language cues and smells because a sick or deceased person’s odor changes.

Cadaver dogs are trained to detect human remains on land and water. These dogs help find the missing and dead in disasters, accidents, murders and suicides. 

From search and rescue dogs to comfort dogs to bomb detection dogs, more than 300 came to help on 9/11. As the days went on, sadly rescues became recovery missions using cadaver dogs.

31. Where does the name K-9 come from 

K-9 is short for ‘canine’ which means dog.

On March 13, 1942, the Quartermaster Corps (QMC) of the United States Army begins training dogs for the newly established War Dog Program, or “K9 Corps.” (source: https://www.history.com)

The term is mostly used now to refer to police dogs. Law enforcement agencies use their K-9 units to assist in a variety of tasks.

32. Do police dogs get paid

Police dogs do not get paid. All expenses for their upkeep, as well as their medical expenses, are covered.

33. What is the Westminster dog show

The first Westminster show took place on May 8, 1877. The show was started by a group of hunters who met regularly at the Westminster Hotel, in Manhattan. They decided to create the Westminster Kennel Club specifically to hold a dog show.

Each February, dogs compete against other dogs of the same breed.  They are judged on the ideal specimen of their breed. In 2021, it will be held in June and outdoors.

The top prize is called “Best in Show”. In 2020, the Standard Poodle won it.

34. Which breeds have never won in the Westminster show

There is a list of 158 dog breeds that never won. Of those, the most popular breeds below are on that list.

Labrador retriever, Golden retriever, French Bulldog, Rottweiler, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Dachshund, Australian Shepherd,Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Great Dane, Miniature Schnauzer, Shih Tzu

35. Which dog breeds have a black tongue

The Chow Chow and the Chinese Shar-Pei purebreds have a blue-black tongue, which is different than black spots that can appear in any breed.

36. Did you know Dalmatian puppies

Are born all white and get their spots as they grow older.

37. Longest ears on a dog

Holding the Guinness World Record for the longest ears is Tigger. When measured in 2004, his right ear measured 13.7 in and the left, 13.5 in. He held the record until he passed away in 2009. 

38. Dog ears vs human ears

Dogs have twice as many muscles to move their ears as humans!

39. Dog with the longest tail

40. The Alaskan Malamute 

Can withstand temperatures as low as 70 degrees below zero.

41. Petting a dog is good for you

Petting a dog can help you relax, lower your heart rate and blood pressure as well as stress.

42. When puppies are born

They are blind, deaf and toothless.

43. Labrador retrievers can have different colored puppies

Not only can a litter have puppies of different colors, but they can also have different coat colors than their parents.

44. Obesity is the top health problem in dogs

Obesity in dogs is linked to arthritis, chronic kidney disease, bladder/urinary tract disease, liver disease, low thyroid hormone production, diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure, and cancer.

45. Which dog breeds have blue eyes

Yuki with one blue eye and one brown eye

The most well-known dog breeds with blue eyes are the Siberian Husky and Australian Shepherd

Weimaraners can have amber or blue eyes.

Border Collies and Great Danes with merle coats can have blue eyes.

Dachshunds and Corgis with a merle coat can have full blue, one blue and one brown, or even both colors in one eye.

And you’ll also see mutt dogs with one brown eye and one blue eye like my dog Yuki. He is a Husky/English Setter/Border Collie mix.

The rarest eye color in dogs is green.