50 Fun-to-Learn Dog Facts!
From the littlest Yorkshire Terrier to the biggest, brawniest Mastiff, all dogs are one species...and a fascinating one at that! dogs are arguably the most variable animal on the planet, showing an abundance of differences across breeds. Each dog breed has its own unique set of talents and characteristics, providing oodles of fun dog facts worth reading up on. Here are some of our favorites.
- A flesh-colored dog nose is called a "Dudley nose."
- During the Imperial Era, Chinese emperors included four Pekingese in their entourage. Two of them would announce the emperor's approach by barking, and the other two would hold the hem of his royal robe in their mouths.
- The word "schnauzer" comes from a German word meaning "mustached."
- The most treats balanced on a dog's nose at one time is 29 and was achieved by a Husky crossbreed named George.
- The plural of Komondor, a "mop dog" also known as the Hungarian Sheepdog, is Komondorak.
- As a tax collector in a dangerous area, Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann decided to breed the Doberman Pinscher for protection.
- Agility, a competitive sport designed to test a person's dog training and handling skills over a timed obstacle course, was created in the late 1970s.
- Irish Water Spaniels have "rat tails"—tails where the root is thick and covered with soft curls, yet the tip is hairless.
- The name of the Xoloitzcuintli, or Mexican Hairless Dog, is a combination of two Aztec words: "Xolotl," the god of monsters and magicians, and "itzcuintli," which means "dog."
- The largest inheritance given to a dog was $15 million, bequeathed by Ella Wendel of New York to her Standard Poodle Toby in 1931.
- Brindle is a coat pattern that occurs when black hair is layered on lighter-colored areas of the coat, producing tiger-striped markings.
- Many Chihuahuas have a "soft spot" on the top of their head. This spot is called a molera and is the same as that found on human babies.
- Italian Greyhounds were favored by Catherine the Great of Russia, King James I of England, and Queen Victoria.
- The normal number of dog teeth for an adult dog is 42 and for a puppy is 28. In comparison, most adult humans have 32 teeth, four of which are wisdom teeth.
- The largest known litter size of puppies is 24. They were born in 2004 to Tia, a Neapolitan Mastiff.
- The long hair on the extremities (including head and tail) of certain breeds, like Schnauzers, is called "furnishings."
- Dogs are digitigrades, meaning they walk on their toes.
- There are two major subgroupings of hounds: scenthounds and sighthounds. They're distinguished depending on the primary means they use to track their quarry.
- During World War I, the Airedale Terrier aided the Red Cross in carrying messages and locating personnel in need of help.
- An American Eskimo Dog named Stout's Pal Pierre walked on a tightrope in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, popularizing the breed.
- The English word "terrier" is derived from the Latin word "terra," meaning "ground."
- The first diabetes-detection dog was Armstrong, a yellow Labrador Retriever trained in California in 2003.
- The Boston Terrier gained the nickname "The American Gentleman" because the breed possessed such a refined disposition and was free of its ancestor's fighting temperament.
- Thirteen U.S. states have designated an official state dog breed.
- The Chinook breed is named after one dog that accompanied an Antarctic expedition in the late 1920s.
- The word "pinscher" describes a dog's method of working and refers to the way they jump on and bite, or pinch, their prey.
- In 2020, Finley the Golden Retriever set the record for the most tennis balls held in a dog's mouth: an impressive total of 6!
- The Norwegian Lundehund earned its name from its talent of hunting "lunde," or puffins.
- Legend says that lamas (Tibetan priests) who failed to reach Nirvana came back reincarnated as Lhasa Apsos.
- In the 18th century, it was stylish for Poodles to be clipped to show a family's coat of arms, an owner's monogram, or the fleur-de-lis (a symbol often seen in classic French design).
- The Rhodesian Ridgeback has a symmetrical ridge that runs along its spine, created by fur that grows in the opposite direction from the rest of the coat.
- Pictures of dogs resembling the Chinese Shar-Pei have been found on pottery dating back more than 2,000 years.
- Papillon puppies from the same litter can be born with either drop or erect ears. Those with drop ears are called Phalènes, named after a type of moth that drops its wings.
- An Otterhound can pick up an otter's "drag," or scent trail, up to 10 hours later.
- The Barbet, an ancient breed of water dog, got its name from its defining "barbe," or beard, that grows under its chin.
- The Parson Russell Terrier is similar to the Jack Russell Terrier but is longer-legged and more squarely built.
- In both humans and dogs, there is a strong connection between teeth and hair. As a result, many hairless dog breeds lack teeth.
- Before the 20th century, European travelers driving cattle and carting goods to market often tied their money belts around their Rottweilers' necks to avoid being robbed.
- The world record for most alternating paw shakes by a dog in 30 seconds is 43.
- Dachshund means "badger dog" in German. In fact, the long, low Dachshund was originally bred to follow badgers into their underground burrow.
- There have been more than 2,000 documented snow rescues by Saint Bernards.
- Scottish Terriers became popular in the United States during the Great Depression because of the public prominence of President Franklin Roosevelt's Scottie named Fala.
- A "dewclaw" is an extra claw or digit on the inside of a dog's leg.
- The longest dog tail measured is 30.2 inches and belonged to Keon, an Irish Wolfhound, in 2015.
- In the early 1900s, Lancashire textile workers emigrated to New England and brought their Whippets, introducing the breed and the sport of Whippet racing to the United States.
- The U.S. Army relied on the Siberian Husky during WWII for arctic search and rescue missions.
- The world record for most "sit" actions performed by a dog in one minute is 35.
- The longest sled-dog race ever was the Beringia-92, which covered 1,270 miles in eastern Russia in 1992.
- All Shih Tzu dogs alive today can trace their lineage back to a group of seven male and seven female Shih Tzu.
- A "pompon" is a rounded tuft of hair left on the end of the tail when the coat is clipped, often seen in Poodles.
i Diane Morgan, Sneeze-Free Dog Breeds (Neptune City: T.F.H. Publications, 2006).
ii Dominique De Vito, Heather Russell-Revesz, and Stephanie Fornino, World Atlas of Dog Breeds 6th Edition (Neptune City: T.F.H. Publications, 2009).
iii Guinness World Records (London: Guinness World Records, 2021).
iiii Laurie Leach, The Beginner's Guide to Dog Agility (Neptune City: T.F.H. Publications, 2006).