In honor of National Dog Day, which is coming up on August 26th, we’ve put together a list of 10 facts you may not know about your canine best friends. Some of these facts are funny, some are surprising, but all will make you appreciate the dog in your life even more – if that’s possible!
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Each year the American Kennel Club shares a list of the most popular breeds in their registry and the Labrador Retriever has held the number one spot for 29 years straight! Experts surmise that this popularity is due to their great temperaments, friendliness, trainability, and of course, the fact that they’re downright adorable.
The Basenji is best known for being a “barkless” breed but this isn’t quite accurate. While they don’t bark like other breeds, they are not unable to vocalize. The sound they make is called a yodel and sounds similar to the whining your dog does when they’re excited.
If you’ve ever wondered why your dog has a wet nose, you’ll be interested to learn that it plays a vital role in their sense of smell. Dog noses secrete a special mucus that helps absorb scent chemicals, which they then lick off to help them identify the smell. It’s an odd method, but it clearly works well. In fact, a Bloodhound’s sense of smell is so accurate it can be admitted as evidence in court!
Studies have shown that dogs can dream, but recent studies have concluded that these dreams are similar to those that humans have, in that they replay moments from their day. What’s more, scientists have also found that puppies and senior dogs dream more often than their middle-aged counterparts.
Not only do these sighthounds have the most beautiful long-haired ears, but they also hold the record for being the oldest known dog breed. The Saluki dates back to 329BC where they were kept as pets by royal families in Ancient Egypt.
Researchers have concluded that dogs are one of the few types of animals who will show kindness towards others without the expectation of a reward. In their study, they found that dogs show “prosocial behavior” – voluntary actions that benefit others – without expecting to get anything in return for doing so. What’s even more interesting is that this behavior increases between dogs who know each other.
With 300 million smell receptors in their noses, compared to the 6 million humans have, dogs certainly have us beat when it comes to sense of smell. But when it comes to a sense of taste, humans win. Humans have approximately 9,000 taste buds, whereas dogs have only around 1,700. The taste buds they do have also work differently than ours. In addition to the normal taste buds for sweet, salt, sour, and bitter, dogs have ones for meats, fats, meat-related chemicals, and water!
We know that service dogs do amazing things for their owners, and a study published this year has confirmed this fact. Researchers found that regardless of demographics, pet dog ownership, and disability variables, individuals with a service dog had higher psychosocial health than those who were on the waiting list for one – this included higher overall emotional, social, and work or school functioning. The area where service dogs offered the biggest improvement in the lives of their pet parents was actually at school or work. Here, they helped improve their pet parent's engagement, daily interactions with others, and overall functioning.
You can tell a lot about what your dog is thinking or feeling by taking a look at their ears. Dog’s have 12 separate muscles that control their ear movements, so they can make small movements that result in countless expressions. Dogs with pointy ears are easier to read, but floppy-eared dogs have these muscles as well – the trick is to look at the base of their ears rather than the whole ear.
Have a fun or interesting dog fact of your own? We’d love to hear them in the comments!