We all know our dogs are amazing. Their loyalty, intelligence and ability are renowned. If you weren’t already impressed with your pooch, here are 10 facts about dogs that will blow your mind.
1. Sense of smell
The area of cells in the brain that detect different smells is around 40 times larger in dogs than humans. Even though the canine brain is much smaller than the human, relative to size. A human’s brain is about 1/40th of their body weight while a dog’s brain is only 1/125th. Don’t feel too smug, though — an ant’s brain is 1/7th its body weight. This means that your dog can pick up on way more smells than we ever could. This is why we use them to do the sniffing for us. To sniff out people, drugs, money and even illness!
That’s right…medical detection dogs are a thing. Used to diagnose a particular condition. Or to alert their owners if they need more medication. Some are even trained to sniff out Covid-19!
Depending on the breed, your dog has between 125 million to 300 million scent glands. Compared to only 5 million for humans.
Your pup can pick up on subtle changes in your scent, which can help him figure out how you are feeling. Such as by smelling your perspiration when you become nervous or fearful. It’s also likely how dogs can detect certain diseases or know that a household member is pregnant.
2. They make great swimmers
So, not all dogs like water, but the ones that do, tend to be pretty good swimmers. Generally big chested dogs have a harder time in water. My Doberman won’t swim but I couldn’t keep my Lab out of the water. Again, not all are so keen. Always keep an eye on your dog in case they decide to take a dip.
Newfoundlands are so good in the water that for years they’ve been used as water rescue dogs.
Newfoundland dogs are the ultimate doggy lifeguards. They have water resistant coats and webbed feet. They were bred as fisherman’s helpers and to rescue people from drowning. Some owners have even reported that their Newfoundland tries to “rescue” them when they’re swimming!
3. They are one of the fastest land animals
Most dogs could outrun a human. Some can even out run the Cheetah – they’re built to run and chase! The fastest breed of dog by far, though, is the Greyhound. These speedy sight hounds can reach a top speed of 45 mph within seconds of starting to run. They will even beat a cheetah.
‘But how does this beat a cheetah?’ you ask. Well, while a cheetah can get up to almost 70mph, they can only keep this going for around 30 seconds. Greyhounds can run at speeds in excess of 35mph for seven miles. So despite the cheetah’s head start, they’d soon overtake!
4. Dogs sweat but not like us
While dogs do sweat, don’t expect them to be getting damp armpits any time soon. Humans sweat a watery liquid to cool down, dogs produce a pheromone laden oily substance. One that us humans can’t detect (dogs know it’s there because of that great sense of smell). The only place that dogs sweat like us is on their paws, so instead they pant to cool down. This is why it’s so important to keep your dog cool on those warmer days to make it easier on them.
5. They can be: left or right handed, sorry…pawed
There have been a few studies around this and it turns out that like us, dogs have a preferred paw to lead with. From a sitting or lying position watch which paw they lead with when they get up and take a step. This will tell you whether your dog is a lefty or righty.
6. They have amazing hearing
We all know dogs can hear much higher frequencies than us, but did you know they can also hear further? Generally, dogs can hear much softer sounds than we can, so they can hear things that are much further away.
If you have a dog, you might notice that their ears move around a lot. They actually have around 18 muscles responsible for moving their ears. These help them to change the direction of their ears to hear noises around them better. Ear movements play a big part in telling us how our dogs are feeling. A lot of a dog’s body language is expressed through what their ears are doing. So a dog’s ears are vital in helping them communicate both with us and other dogs
7. Careful what you say…they probably know more words than you think
Studies have shown that dogs can learn over 100 words and gestures. Which puts their intelligence and understanding of us on a par with a two year old. Next time you say ‘don’t worry the dog won’t understand’…don’t be so sure! They’re used for all sorts of jobs. From military roles to assistance dogs. Because they’re both clever and extremely loyal animals. In Russia a Mastiff dog used in border and crowd control, are trained to pick out certain words from a crowd. Words that may be used to incite trouble etc. It is believed that they are also trained to be bilingual!
8. The dog has been domesticated and our companion for a long time
Studies reveal that dog domestication can be traced back 11,000 years, to the end of the last Ice Age. Thought to have evolved from wolves that ventured into human camps. Perhaps sniffing around for food. These were not the grey wolf we know today, which derive from a separate genetic group from the dog. Results suggest all dogs derive from a single extinct wolf population. An extinct Late Pleistocene wolf may have been the ancestor of the dog. As they were tamed, they could then have served humans as hunting companions or guards.
There are also carvings found in Southern Iraq of a dog that looks similar to a Saluki which dates back to 7000BC.
9. 3 eyelids?
Many owners haven’t heard of this interesting dog fact. Did you know that your four-legged friend has three eyelids? The third lid is called the ‘haw’ or nictitating membrane. It’s responsible for keeping the eye protected and lubricated.
10. They have a bite
A study showed an average bite force of 269 PSI.
The tests were carried out on a German shepherd, American pit bull terrier, and Rottweiler. In this test the Rottweiler topped with 328 pounds. Though some breeds including Mastiffs have a higher bite force. In particular the Kangol, a Turkish Mastiff which has a bite of 743 PSI. In comparison; human beings exert 120 pounds. White sharks exert 600 pounds, and crocodiles exert a whopping 5,000 pounds! BTW – Dogs also have ten more adult teeth than humans — 42 versus 32.