20 Mind Boggling Facts About Dogs
Dog are everywhere and are frequently referred to as “man’s best friend”, but the truth is we know very little about what dogs are truly capable of, given the correct training.
Here are 20 mind-boggling facts about dogs and dog ownership:
2) Between 75% and 85% are Strays or Feral
The vast majority of dogs in the world are strays or feral, up to 85% in fact.
Western Europe and North America have the lowest number of strays, while in Eastern Europe, Hungary and Romania have well documented stray dog populations.
You’ll often see strays and feral dogs in Asia, South America, Russia, FSU countries and Africa.
The United States of America has the largest dog population in the world with an estimated 90million dogs which is just ahead of China.
The number of dogs per 1000 people in the US is currently 274, which is just over 1 dog for every 4 Americans.
Unlike many other large countries, most of these dogs are kept as pets.
4) The Country With the Fastest-Growing Dog Population
India once had one of the lowest dog populations globally, but as of 2021, it now has the fastest-growing population of dogs.
Improved economic conditions, more disposable income and an acceptance of western traditions and attitudes to dogs are leading causes of this rise.
Source: Focusing Future
6) 12 – 14 Hours of Sleep
Dogs need more sleep than humans; in fact, the average dog requires up to 14 hours of sleep.
While dogs do reach a deep sleep known as REM (rapid eye movement), they also wake up far more often than humans do, usually to check their surroundings before falling back asleep.
This gradual in-and-out of REM sleep allows the dog to get the rest it needs while also allowing it to be alert enough to threats.
7) The Most Dog-Friendly Countries
Western Europe has some of the most dog-friendly countries in the world.
Americans are often surprised to see dogs in restaurants in the UK as this practice is illegal in all 50 states. In the UK, as in much of Europe, dogs aren’t allowed in food preparation and cooking areas but are allowed in eating areas if the restaurant owner permits it.
Some western countries allow leashed dogs onto public transport, into hotels, bars and holiday lets.
Source: Best Life Online
8) The Chinese Aren’t a Nation of Dog Eaters
The annual dog meat festival in south China often grabs headlines in many western countries and draws the ire of animal rights groups the world over, but the tradition isn’t reflective of Chinese dietary habits.
There is no evidence that dogs are farmed like cattle; in fact, most of the dogs seen at the festival are street dogs or stolen dogs.
It’s also nearly impossible to find dog meat on sale in shops and supermarkets, and only a few specialist restaurants serve it.
The Chinese government has also taken steps to end dog meat consumption in recent years due to the health risks.
9) Dog Walking is Big Business in the UK
In the UK, one in three surveyed admitted to using the services of a professional dog walker at least once per week.
Back in 2015, the Evening Standard reported that dog walkers can earn £10k ($14k) more than the national average wage.
In London, earnings are considerably higher.
11) Cancer Detection
A dog’s ability to smell illegal drugs is well known but in recent years, their skills have been put to use in the medical sector.
In a controlled study, trained sniffer dogs had a 98-99% success rate in detecting prostate cancer, which beat lab analysis of the same samples.
Source: The Scientist
12) Why Dogs Pant
Contrary to popular belief, dogs don’t pant to get more air into their lungs.
Dogs sweat through their paws, not their skin, so this heat rises to their neck, throat, and tongue when they get hot. Panting is a dog’s natural heat exchanger; in with cool air and out with hot air.
13) Fun Facts at the White House
Despite its name, the White House has a colourful past when it comes to pets.
President Roosevelt’s pet dog once chased a French Ambassador down a corridor at the white house and partially ripped his trousers off.
Fast forward to 2021, and President Biden’s dog has been terrorising White House staffers, biting two of them within a month.
14) Space Travel
No, neither Captain Kirk nor Spock was the first.
Neither was it Armstrong.
It was, in fact, Laika.
An interesting fact; dogs travelled into space before humans did and the first was a Russian dog called Laika.
15) The Cold War Romance
During a thaw in relations between the US and the USSR during the cold war, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gifted a puppy to JFK.
The puppy, called Pushinka, was the daughter of Strelka, the first dog to go into space and return safely.
A cold war romance soon blossomed as Pushinka mated with Kennedy’s dog Charlie, resulting in 4 puppies.
16) The Average Cost to Own a Dog
In many western countries, dogs are seen as one of the family and treated to good quality food, health insurance, clothing and all the love a human can give.
In 2021 a study revealed that the typical cost to own a dog for its entire life in the United States is $25,000.
Source: Quotation Check
17) Dogs Aren’t Colourblind
Dogs aren’t colourblind and can see a vast array of colours and shades.
While they don’t see colours in the same way as humans, they can tell the difference between some differently coloured balls, for example. They can’t, however, see the difference between blue and purple.
Dogs see colours in a similar way to humans at dusk, with most of the colours muted and far less vivid and less vibrant.
They are also somewhat short-sighted, with objects at a distance appearing blurry or distorted.
Source: VCA Hospitals
18) Moscow Stray Dogs and the Metro
In Moscow, stray dogs have taught themselves to use the metro underground system to travel to more populated areas looking for food.
They remember stations by smell and sounds and often travel in pairs or small groups. It’s not unusual to see a dog taking a nap on a seat or two.