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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Gouley

30 Fun Facts about our Canine Companions

30 Fun Facts about our Canine Companions

Some may be familiar, some obscure, but there’s nothing as delightful as learning, with a proverbial “woof” to the American Kennel Club (AKC), more than you ever thought paws-ible about our cherished canine companions.

1. The Labrador Retriever has been on the AKC’s top 10 most popular breeds’ list for 30 consecutive years -- longer than any other breed.

2. A dog’s nose print is unique, much like a person’s fingerprint.

3. Forty-five percent of dogs in the United States sleep in their owners’ beds.

4. Although ALL dogs dream, puppies and senior dogs dream more frequently than adult dogs.

5. Seventy percent of people sign their dogs’ names on their holiday cards.

6. A dog’s sense of smell is legendary, given that his nose has as many as 300 million receptors compared with a human nose that has only about 5 million.

7. Rin Tin Tin, the famous and much beloved German Shepherd, was nominated for an Academy Award.

8. Because a dog’s nose can sense heat/thermal radiation, both blind and deaf dogs are still able to hunt.

9. Only one breed, the Beagle, among the five most popular breeds in 1934, remains in the top five today.

10. A prevailing theory is that “Collie” is a dialectal form of “coaly,” “colley” or “coly” which means “coal-black” in reference to the sheep with black faces and legs that the breed once tended in Scotland.

11. Yawning is contagious -- even for dogs. According to research, the sound of a human yawn can trigger a responding yawn in dogs. And it’s four times more likely to happen when it’s the yawn of someone they know.

12. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is the only breed named for a fictional person, a character in the novel “Guy Mannering” penned by Sir Walter Scott.

13. Dogs curl up in a ball when they sleep to protect their organs. This characteristic is a holdover from their days in the wild when they were vulnerable to attacks from predators.

14. The Basenji is not technically as “barkless” as some may believe. They can yodel.

15. The Australian Shepherd is not from Australia, but is, in fact, an American breed.

16. Despite the name Labrador Retriever, this breed is originally from Newfoundland.

17. A person’s blood pressure goes down when petting a dog – and so does the dog’s.

18. There are over 75 million pet dogs in the United States, more than in any other country.

19. A person who hunts with a Beagle is known as a “Beagler.”

20. Contrary to common belief, dogs are NOT color blind. They can see blue and yellow.

21. All puppies are born deaf.

22. Dalmatians are born completely white and only develop their spots as they get older.

23. Dogs have approximately 1,700 taste buds. People have between 2,000 – 10,000 taste buds.

24. When dogs kick backward after going to the bathroom, it isn’t to cover it up but to mark their territory, using the scent glands in their feet.

25. A recent study shows that dogs are among a small group of animals known to voluntarily demonstrate unselfish kindness towards others without expecting a reward.

26. The Norwegian Lundehund is the least popular dog breed and the only one created specifically to hunt puffins or sea parrots (“lunde” is the Norwegian word for puffin). But, to help them navigate the steep and slippery rocks and peaks of their native Norway, they have six fully developed toes on each foot -- four pointing forward and two pointing inward like a human thumb.

27. Greyhounds can beat cheetahs in a race. Although cheetahs may start first and can run at 70 mph, they can only maintain that speed for about thirty seconds, while Greyhounds can maintain their slower speed of 35 mph for nearly seven miles.

28. The Bloodhounds' sense of smell is so accurate that the results of this breed’s tracking can be used as evidence in a court of law.

29. While some dogs may be taller or heavier, according to the Guinness World Records, a Mastiff named Zorba was the world’s overall largest dog ever and was described as being the size of a small donkey! Zorba weighed 343 pounds and measured over eight feet from his nose to his tail.

30. According to the Guinness World Records, the smallest dog ever recorded was Miracle Milly, a Chihuahua. Born in 2011, Milly was a miniscule 3.8 inches tall and weighed a mere one pound.

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