Dogs are, perhaps, the most beloved animal in this world. Their key characteristics of loyalty and friendliness have long defined them as the perfect companion for humans and countless of funny videos, pictures, and art are there to back up that claim. However, there’s definitely more to them than just the title of a ‘man’s best friend’ and there are some things out there that you might not be aware of. That’s why we dug around and compiled some interesting facts about this canine species for your interest (and entertainment). So scroll down below and see for yourself if any of the facts listed were previously unknown to you. Oh, and don’t forget to comment and vote on the most interesting ones!
#1 Shelter Dogs Served As ‘Ball Boys’ At Brazil Tennis Open To Bring Awareness To Brazil’s Street Animals And Promote Their Adoption
Image credits: AP
#2 There Are Vending Machines For Dogs
There are vending machines in Istanbul that dispense food and water for stray dogs. The price? An empty recyclable bottle.
Image credits: boredpanda
#3 A Dog Once Accidentally Finished A Half-Marathon And Finished In 7th Place
A bloodhound went outside to pee, accidentally joined a half marathon, and ended up in the 7th place. Ludivine was let outside by his owners for a doggy break when he saw people running by, decided to sneak out the fence and join in on the fun. The event led the marathon organizers to change its name to “Elkmont’s Hound Dog Half” and they put Ludivine on their logo.
Image credits: Elkmont's Hound Dog Half
#4 FBI Tracks Animal Abusers
The FBI believes that animal abuse is a serious enough crime to be tracked right along with homicide, arson, and assault. National UCR Program of 2015 stated the FBI’s planned to collect data on animal cruelty: “Beginning January 1, 2016, the national UCR Program will add the offense of Animal Cruelty to the NIBRS as a Group A offense and as a Crime Against Society”.
Image credits: FuN_Lucky
#5 Cheetahs Are Nervous Animals, So Zoos Give Them Their Own Emotional Support Dogs
While cheetahs might be quite the big cats and the fastest animal on the Earth to add to that, actually, they are very sensitive beings. They get so anxious; they don’t know how to socialize with each other and get too stressed to procreate. Seeing that cheetahs need some assistance, for years now zookeepers have been assigning these animals their very own emotional support dogs. “When you pair cheetah cub with a guide dog, the cat looks to the dog for cues and learns to model their behavior. It’s about getting them to read that calm, happy-go-lucky vibe from the dog” explains Janet Rose-Hinostroza, animal training supervisor at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Image credits: Columbus Zoo
#6 There Is An Island Where Dogs Guard A Colony Of Tiny Penguins
There’s an island off the coast of Australia where a pair of Maremma Guardian dogs guard a colony of tiny penguins after they were almost wiped out by foxes. The ‘Little Penguin’ colony was nearly extinct until 2006, when trained dogs were put on the island to protect them. There’s a movie based on the story called “Oddball”. The synopsis of the film reads: “Oddball” is the heart-warming true story about an eccentric chicken farmer (Shane Jacobson) who, with the help of his granddaughter, trains his mischievous dog to protect a wild penguin sanctuary from fox attacks and in the process tries to reunite his family and save their seaside town.”
Image credits: warrnambool
#7 Sergeant Stubby Is The Most Decorated War Dog Of WWI, And The Only Dog To Be Nominated For Rank And Then Promoted To Sergeant Through Combat
He served for 18 months and participated in seventeen battles on the Western Front. He saved his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks, found and comforted the wounded, and once caught a German soldier by the seat of his pants, holding him there until American soldiers found him. Sgt. Stubby is the subject of an animated film, Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero.
Image credits: wiki
#8 Chaser The Border Collie Had The Largest Tested Memory Of Any Non-Human Animal
According to Wikipedia, “Chaser could identify and retrieve 1,022 toys by name, which was the foundation for her vocabulary. She began to understand that objects have names at five months of age.” The dog could also recognize common nouns such as house, tree and ball, as well as adverbs, verbs and prepositional objects.
Image credits: Pilleybianchi
#9 There’s A Festival In Nepal And India Where Humans Thank Dogs For Their Loyalty And Friendship
Tihar also known as Deepawali and Yamapanchak, is a festival celebrated in Nepal and some parts of India. It last five days and each day has its name and festivities. Second day of the festival is called Kukur Tihar and celebrates dogs all over the country. People offer garlands, tika and delicious food to dogs and acknowledge the cherished relationship between humans and dogs.
Image credits: Animal People Forum
#10 Dogs Love The High-Pitched “Baby Talk” Some People Do When Interacting With Them
A research revealed that dogs like the silly, high-pitched “baby talk” human do when interacting with them. The study conducted at the University of York showed that dogs favored speakers with a high-pitched manner than those who talked in a normal adult voice.
Image credits: goodfreephotos
#11 In 2017, A Black Lab Got His Photo In A School Yearbook For Helping His Owner Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
A black Labrador named Alpha was put next to his owner A.J. in a yearbook for helping his human out. A.J. has Type 1 diabetes and Alpha helps to monitor his blood sugar levels.
Image credits: dianalbloom
#12 In Welsh Folklore, Corgis Were The Preferred Method Of Transportation For Fairies
According to a Welsh legend, woodland fairies gifted this breed to the humankind and that the breed’s markings were left on its coat by fairy harnesses and saddles.
Image credits: Michel_van_der_Vegt
#13 When Police Dogs Retire In Some Countries They May Have The Chance To Receive A Pension Plan For Their Contribution
English police forces even set up a retirement plan for dogs. According to Wikipedia, “police dogs in Nottinghamshire, England, now have the opportunity to retire with a form of security since their government forces now offer $805 over the span of three years to cover any additional medical costs”. Not only do they now receive a pension plan but they also get to retire and reside with their original handler.
Image credits: fantareis
#14 When Playing With Female Puppies, Male Puppies Will Often Let Them Win
Puppies exhibit behavior that’s been previously recorded in some other species too, like red-necked wallabies, squirrel monkeys, hamadryas baboons and even humans. Researcher Camille Ward and her team collected data showing that male puppies tend to let female puppies win and speculated that they do so in order to not discourage female puppies to play with them in the future as female puppies tend to choose other females as playmates.
Image credits: Counselling
#15 Dog Brains Link The Smell Of Their Owners With Pleasure
According to Gregory Berns, a neuroeconomist at Emory University in Atlanta who led a study on brain-imaging, dogs respond to their owner’s scent in a similar way humans do to their loved one’s perfume. The research team ran MRI scans on 12 dogs while exposing them to five scents on gauze pads: a familiar human, an unfamiliar human, a dog that lived in their household, an unfamiliar dog, and their own scent. The research found out that dogs’ caudate nucleus, an area of the brain associated with positive expectations, was most activated by the scent of the familiar person.
Image credits: Bennilover
#16 Bomb-Sniffing Dogs Never Scratch, Paw Or Bark At The Luggage When They Detect Explosive Materials
All bomb-sniffing dogs are trained to calmly stop and sit down when they detect the scent of explosive materials.
Image credits: Marianne O'Leary
#17 Some Australian Shepherds Try To Herd Small Children Out Of Instinct
Untrained Aussies may nip at the feet and heels of small children, like they would with sheep, but this is usually out of boredom or lack of boundaries set by their owners.
Image credits: Ted Van Pelt
#18 There’s A Prison Program That Allows Inmates To Train Service Dogs
There is a program that makes prison inmates responsible for training and raising seeing-eye dogs. Many of the inmates reported that they felt like they were making amends for their past actions by working with the puppies. NEADS has a “Prison PUP Program” and its information page says: “90-95% of NEADS puppies are trained in 7 correctional facilities throughout New England. Our statistics show that, under the guidance of NEADS staff, inmates are able to provide consistent training at a high level simply because of the amount of time they are able to devote to the dogs. This enables us to place dogs faster with people in need.”
Image credits: My Photo Journeys
#19 Ancient Greeks And Romans Mourned And Buried Their Dogs
According to “Mourning Animals– Rituals and Practices Surrounding Animal Death” book, people of the Ancient world sometimes buried their dogs with gravestones that survived the upcoming centuries. One of the surviving epitaphs reads:”I am in tears, while carrying you to your last resting place as much as I rejoiced when bringing you home in my own hands fifteen years ago.”
Image credits: Margo DeMello
#20 Dogs Who Have Negative Experiences Tend To Lie Awake At Night Worrying
A study published by The Royal Society scientific journal found that dogs, quite like humans, have trouble sleeping when they’ve had negative experiences beforehand. The research studied dogs’ sleeping patterns after they were subjected to different positive (being called a good boy, getting head scratches) and negative (being approached by a stranger) treatments. The study showed that dogs had difficulty sleeping and were prone to tossing and turning while asleep after having experienced negative treatment.
Image credits: Bennilover
#21 Dogs Have The Biggest Heart Relative To Their Body
Even though the largest heart in the animal kingdom belongs to Blue Whale (one weighed in 2014 was 440 pounds (199.5 kilograms)), the biggest heart-to-body-weigh ratio was recorded with no other than the good boys (and gals)!
Image credits: Manoela Padilha
#22 The Dogs React To Humans Crying The Same Way They Do To A Dog Whining
Annika Huber of the University of Vienna’s Clever Dog Lab and her colleagues conducted an experiment that observed a number of dogs reacting to various sounds. Dogs showed to be responding more to emotional sounds (dogs whining, people laughing or crying) than neutral sounds (birds chirping, water running). They also appeared to react more to negative emotions than positive and the reactions were identical when exposed to humans crying and dogs whining. The researchers explained that it’s likely an evolutionary reaction. “If an animal is displaying negative emotions because it’s in a dangerous situation, it would be wise for nearby animals to pick up on those feelings.”
Image credits: Eddie~S
#23 Dogs Can And Will Use Deception To Get A Tasty Treat
Since it’s quite well known that dogs are capable of recognizing emotions, one has to ask if they’re also capable of manipulating them. Well, one research shows that dogs can definitely be sneaky and are capable of using deceptive tactics to get their favorite treats. Led by Marianne Heberlein of the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Experimental Studies at the University of Zürich, the study paired 27 dogs with two different partners. Some would hand dogs treats while others would show a tasty snack, but it in the pocket. Naturally, dogs preferred the generous partners and would start to approach them spontaneously. Researches crafted a more elaborate system to see if dogs would try to get a tasty snack and a higher reward by playing the system. And it turns out that, yeah, they would!
Image credits: livingdeadgirl
#24 Dogs That Are Elderly, Small Or Short-Haired Actually Need Sweater For Cold Temperatures
PetMD suggests that dogs that were not genetically “designed” for colder temperatures, as well as older dogs and dogs with weaker immune systems do need a sweater, especially dogs that have to go outside.
Image credits: funkblast
#25 There Is A Terrioty In Costa Rica Called Territorio De Zaguates That Is A Huge No-Kill Dog Shelter
Territorio De Zaguates (Land of the Strays) is home to over 1.300 wagging tails. Their belief is that every dog deserves a chance at life and their mission is to either find home for the pooches or provide them a safe sanctuary. The shelter used to let visitors wander the fields with dogs for free, but has since closed for renovations and plan to open for public in the upcoming year.
Image credits: territoriodezaguates
#26 Before Laika Was Launched To Space, One Of The Scientists Took Her Home To Play With His Children
Laika was the first animal to orbit the Earth and while her achievement might be extraordinary, her story was tragic. Soviets, preparing to launch Sputnik 2 knew very well that Laika’s trip was going to be one-way. Despite many accepting her sacrifice for science as worthy, some had their reservations. In a book chronicling the story of Soviet space medicine, Dr. Vladimir Yazdovsky wrote, “Laika was quiet and charming … I wanted to do something nice for her: She had so little time left to live.” He took the dog home before the launch so she could play with his children. Also, one of the technicians who was preparing Laika’s capsule for final liftoff stated that “after placing Laika in the container and before closing the hatch, we kissed her nose and wished her bon voyage, knowing that she would not survive the flight.”
Image credits: wiki
#27 There Have Been Numerous Cases Of Dogs Shooting Their Owners In America
Although dogs, obviously, have no knowledge on how to operate a firearm and don’t intentionally use them, they occasionally do end up pulling a trigger on a loaded weapon. Between 2004 and 2015 there had been more than 10 cases of dogs shooting a person reported in the USA. They were most often hunting accidents, however with the country where firearms are so widely owned it’s no surprise such accidents occur outside of the hunting grounds. The dog-on-owner shootings rarely end up with fatalities, however it’s not the case with one Texas hunter who, in 2008, took a shotgun blast to the thigh after his dog jumped on the gun in the bed of his truck. The man later died of blood loss, unfortunately.
Image credits: Staff Sgt. Christopher Sofia
#28 In 2014, An Estimated 2.8 Million Dogs In America Were On An Antidepressant Drug Like Prozac
According to the National Pet Owners Survey of the American Pet Products Association, an estimated 2.8 million dog owners give their dogs calming and anxiety medicines like Prozac each year. The medicine could be given for a number of reasons, starting from separation anxiety and ending with increased aggressiveness to mellow them out.
Image credits: Matt Phillips
#29 According To Facebook Data, Dog People Have More Friends While Cat People Get Invited To More Events
According to data collected by Facebook, “on average, dog people have 26 more Facebook friends than cat people”. However, cat people, while having less friends, are more likely to be invited to various events, meaning that they’re putting those friendships to good use. Unsurprisingly, cat people tend to be friends with other cat people and dog people with other dog people.
Image credits: Francesco Doglio
#30 In Bronze Age, Boys Killed Pets To Become Warriors In Early Russia
Archaeologists Dorcas Brown and David Anthony were excavating the Bronze Age site of Krasnosamarkskoe in Russia’s Volga region when they unearthed the bones of at least 51 dogs and 7 wolves. At first puzzled, they soon investigated and found out that “all the animals had died during the winter months, judging from the telltale banding pattern on their teeth, and all were subsequently skinned, dismembered, burned, and chopped with an ax”. Following the clues, as well as combining knowledge about culture and mythology they soon pieced together a possible explanation. The dogs were killed by their own boy owners, as part of a ritual to become warriors. Grim, isn’t it?
Image credits: Denish C