More than 60 million U.S. families now own a dog, but how well do you really know your canine companion? In honor of National Dog Week, we’ve put together some surprising facts about man’s best friend.
15 surprising facts about dogs
- A Poodle’s traditional haircut is not actually for fashion purposes – the pom-poms were originally meant to keep the dog’s joints warm while swimming.
- The Basenji, a breed of dog from Central Africa, is the only breed of dog that doesn’t bark. Instead, it makes a noise which sounds more like a yodel!
- The Norwegian Lundehund is the only breed of dog which has six toes on each foot.
- While they may be known for their playful nature, a group of Pugs is called a “grumble”.
- Studies have found that dogs can fall in love! Their brains release “the love hormone”, oxytocin, when they interact with humans or other dogs.
- The average dog is as smart as a two-year old child. They can understand around 250 words and gestures and even count up to five!
- The Greyhound is the fastest breed of dog in the world, and can reach up to 45 miles per hour.
- The world’s oldest breed of dog, the Saluki, originated in Egypt around 329 B.C.
- A wagging tail doesn’t always mean that your dog is happy. Research shows that a dog’s tail wags more to the right when he is happy, but wags more to the left if he’s feeling frightened.
- A Russian dog named Laika was the first animal in space, travelling around Earth in 1957.
- A “dog year” does not equal seven human years. In fact, the rate that a dog ages depends on its size.
- The Lagotto Romagnolo is a dog which is bred to hunt truffles. However, to become trained in truffle-hunting, each dog and its handler must undergo a four-year course at the Barot University of Truffle Hunting Dogs in Italy.
- Dogs aren’t actually colorblind – they see primarily in blue, greenish-yellow, yellow and various shades of gray.
- Dogs only have sweat glands in their paws, and mostly rely on panting with their mouths open to cool themselves down.
- Studies have shown that people with dogs are healthier than those without. Overall, dog owners have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and are less prone to depression.