These Myths About Dogs Are Plain Wrong

Becoming a dog owner can be surprising enough without all of the misconceptions about the species and its many breeds. Thanks to the digital age, many myths are being debunked left and right, like the notion that Pitbulls are dangerous. However, many myths about dogs still permeate today, like that a dog with a dry snout or eating the grass is an indication that they’re sick. You may also believe that small dogs can’t be running companions, or that Great Danes can’t stand living in apartments. Get ready to have your breed-specific beliefs and dog-related assumptions put to the test.

Rottweilers Are Not Friendly Dogs

A Doberman lays on its stomach with its chin to the floor.
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

This myth probably stems from the fact that Rottweilers were bred to be guard dogs and have an intimidating bark. Dr. Brady Barr of National Geographic also found that compared to the German Shepherd and Pit Bull, Rottweilers have the strongest bite by far.

Despite their disposition, Rottweilers are very affectionate and trainable. One who has been well-socialized will be happy to say hello to guests like any other friendly pup, once its owner has given the okay. Their loyalty and protection is not to be confused with mal intent.

Long-haired Dogs Should Be Shaved

Two Samoyeds lounge on the concrete at a music event in sunny Australia.
Brendon Thorne/Getty Images
Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Though Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Alaskan Malamutes and the like have a coat built for cold temperatures, this doesn’t mean that they need a shave in the heat. In fact, their coats are built for the heat just as much as they are for the cold.

The long coats of certain breeds act as a shield against the sun’s rays and sunburn. Their coats also provide the cooling effect of air circulation, without which they run the risk of heatstroke. The best thing that out can do for your long-haired dog is keep them brushed to prevent the fur from matting and locking in heat.

Pitbulls Can Lock Their Jaw

A small baby leans against a pitbull lounging on the couch.
Ruaridh Connellan / Barcroft / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Ruaridh Connellan / Barcroft / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

This myth has lost popularity in recent years as researchers and pitbull lovers make their voices heard. But just for good measure, the answer is no, Pit Bulls cannot lock their jaw. The breed has the same jaw mechanics as other breeds.

Additionally, Pit Bulls do not have the strongest bite. Many of these rumors spread out of fear of the misunderstood animal. Though they aren’t as easygoing around other dogs as some breeds, they are not typically aggressive towards humans. Like many dogs, they are loyal to their family.

Pugs Aren’t Active

A pug sprints in a race.
CHRISTOPH SCHMIDT/DPA/AFP via Getty Images
CHRISTOPH SCHMIDT/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

Pugs look similar to a bulldog in that they have stubby legs underneath a large but compressed body. However, bulldogs look muscular and pugs look, well, out of shape. This might be why they are presummed to be lazy dogs.

In fact, pugs are more alert and generally more easily trainable than bulldogs. Though they don’t make for good running dogs, that has more to do with their build than a lack of desire. Pugs are active balls of energy who love to goof around and will adapt to whatever lifestyle suits their owner.

Greyhounds Don’t Like To Lounge

A smiling girl holds her greyhound in her lap.
Giovanni De SandreMondadori via Getty Images
Giovanni De SandreMondadori via Getty Images

It’s true that greyhounds were bred to race. Their aerodynamic head and lean shape enable them to reach tremendously high speeds. Their sprinting capabilities and long, graceful bodies are why they often are related to the cheetah.

However, like the cheetah, greyhounds won’t last long running around. Though their endurance is shot, they are sweet, gentle, and very affectionate. That’s what makes greyhounds such great snuggle buddies. You’ll often catch them lounging around the house when they aren’t being challenged to a race.

Mastiffs Are Intimidating

A toddler boys sleeps next to his Mastiff.
Getty Images
Getty Images

If you’ve ever seen the movie The Sandlot, you’ve seen this myth in action. The movie centered around young boys terrified of “The Beast,” aka an English Mastiff. In reality, and as the boys come to realize, the breed couldn’t be more friendly.

While the massive dog is strong and courageous, weighing more than many human men, they use their powers for good. The gentle giants are incredibly loyal and do well with training. While staying in control of the powerhouse breed may be a challenge, moderate exercise will wear these furry friends out.

Chihuahuas Are Yappy

A chihuahua peaks its head out of the driver's side car window.
Matthias Rietschel/Getty Images
Matthias Rietschel/Getty Images

When it comes to barking, Chihuahuas are like any other breed and need to be trained to control their impulse to bark. The myth about this breed being particularly fussy probably relates to their confidence, which is that of a dog giant.

Though their can-do attitude can make them sassy, they have a moderate temperament and can do well with training. The graceful dog will be happy to strut down the street and is more concerned with charming others than attacking them. At the same time, they will boldly challenge someone they see as a threat to their owner and need to be handled with care.

Great Danes Need Large Homes

A little girl on her knees looks up at her Great Dane.
Arthur Sidey/Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
Arthur Sidey/Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

It’s no surprise that Great Danes are one of the tallest dog breeds out there. One look at them and you’ll wonder if they give pony rides to kids. These large animals are active, but special attention needs to be taken due to their health risks.

Since they are prone to hip issues, serious digestive problems, and cardiac diseases, the breed will do fine in a small living space with a couple of walks each day. Additionally, their calm demeanor will make them less likely to reck the house than a spastic little dog.

Dobermans Will Turn On Their Family

A woman sits next to her doberman and holds its paw.
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

While it’s true that Doberman’s are known to be fearless and keenly intelligent, they are also tremendously loyal. The myth that a Doberman is secretly vengeful and waiting to attack its owner is likely related to its willingness to stop at nothing to protect, even itself.

If they are mistreated by their owner, they will not hesitate to fight back. Far from timid, these dogs will stand up for themselves and for those they love. However, a Doberman with a loving and committed owner would never want to harm them.

Jack Russells Can’t Run With You

A Jack Russel is midair as it sprints towards the camera.
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

While it’s commonly assumed that only medium-sized to large dogs can be running companions, Jack Russell Terriers prove that this isn’t always true. These animals are full of energy and have greater endurance than many of their small-breed counterparts.

Since they are smaller dogs, they’ll expel more energy to keep up. This can actually be an advantage when looking to tire out the spazzy dog. However, it’s important to ease into longer runs, be sure they stay hydrated, and give them proper time to rest between runs.

Poodle Mixes Won’t Cause Allergies

A man looks distraught as he holds a small poodle in each hand.
Stanley Bielecki Movie Collection/Getty Images
Stanley Bielecki Movie Collection/Getty Images

Nowadays, allergies are at the forefront like never before. When it comes to pet allergies, many have looked to poodles and poodle-mixed breeds as a cure to dog allergies. However, just because a dog is hypoallergenic (meaning unlikely to cause symptoms), doesn’t mean they can’t cause symptoms.

What makes the poodle generally suitable for those with pet allergies is that the dander that causes an allergic reaction is less likely to escape when the dog hardly sheds. In other words, the allergens are still there but are significantly less bothersome.

Shelties Are Miniature Collies

A woman holds and smiles at her sheltie.
Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images

If you’ve ever seen the movie franchise Lassie, you may recall that the primary dog looked like the one pictured. Though they share a common ancestor, the two are actually completely different breeds. The one pictured is a Shetland sheepdog, aka Sheltie, not a collie.

Many confuse the two due to their similar look: long snout, fluffy coat, similar color patterns, etc. Shelties are much smaller, hence being mistakingly referred to as miniature collies. The fact that the two have similar temperaments only adds to the confusion.

Akita Inus Are Easy Going

An Akita Inu stands in the middle of a grass expanse looking serious.
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Japanese breed Akita Inu seem like they couldn’t hurt a fly due to their adorable look and almost permanent smile. However, these dogs were bred to hunt bears, boars, and deer. Though they’ve become popular family dogs, they’ve retained their dominant character.

Intelligent and independent, the Akita Inu will take their time observing a situation and will appear calm and quiet. However, its attacks are sudden and difficult to predict. They don’t do well with other pets due to their aggression but are loyal and protective guardians. So long as its owner powerfully leads this dog, they will remain faithful and trustworthy.

Dogs Wag Their Tails When They’re Happy

A Golden retriever sticks its head under a bus and its tail high in the air.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

While it’s true that dogs wag their tail due to excitement, that isn’t always a positive thing. If they’re wagging as they run-up to their owner who they haven’t seen all day, it’s obviously out of happiness.

However, if they do it while nearing someone they find to be a threat, it may be anxiety. Tail wagging is their way of communicating, kind of like a human waving their arms. It can be a sign of fear, a precursor to aggression, or a way to jump for joy.

One Human Year Is Seven Dog Years

A dog in glasses appears to be reading newspaper comics.
Bettmann/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images

Dog years is a myth in and of itself. It’s a simplified way of trying to explain the aging process of dogs. One way that you can easily debunk this myth is by considering how quickly dogs take to reach full maturity and start reproducing (about a year).

Furthermore, many small breeds live to be 15 to 20, which would be more than 100 in “dog years.” Finally, dogs age differently depending on the breed. A dog’s true age is best determined by their health and demeanor.

Dogs Eat Grass When They Need To Vomit

A pup chews a stick near another pup whose nose is pointed in the grass.
Simon Lees/PhotoPlus Magazine/Future via Getty Images
Simon Lees/PhotoPlus Magazine/Future via Getty Images

As far as we know, dogs aren’t capable of self-inducing vomiting. The myth stems from the notion that dogs who eat grass suffer from an illness and are attempting to rid their stomach as a symptom. While eating grass does cause a dog to vomit, it doesn’t mean that it was planned.

Scientists speculate why some dogs have a taste for grass, despite the fact that it irritates their stomachs. One theory is that some dogs simply like to graze rather than chomp. Regardless, it’s best to break the habit through training.

Dogs Are Color-Blind

A black and white photo shows two dogs putting their noses together.
The Montifraulo Collection/Getty Images
The Montifraulo Collection/Getty Images

It may be shocking to hear, but recent studies have lead scientists to retract the notion that dogs only see in black and white. According to Pedigree, they see the world in yellow, blue, and gray and lack the ability to see colors ranging from green to red.

This might explain why your dog has a hard time retrieving certain toys in the grass, but will probably have no probably snagging the tennis ball again and again. While their noses are far more impressive than ours, their eyes contain 20% of the cone photoreceptors as ours do.

A Dry Nose Indicates Sickness

A close-up image is focused on the nose of a dog facing the camera.
Tim Graham/Getty Images
Tim Graham/Getty Images

According to the American Kennel Club, there are a host of reasons why a dog’s nose might be dry that are not an indication of sickness. It’s true that cold, wet noses help the dog’s sense of smell by sticking to particles, and usually, when the dogs licks its nose it is trying to get a better feel for what it’s smelling.

When a dog is sleeping, it’s nose dries up since they aren’t licking it. Warm airflow in winter months can also dry the nose. The nose can also become dry as a result of aging or because it has a shorter snout.

Dog Mouths Are Cleaner Than Ours

A woman squints while a dog licks her chin.
Yuri SmityukTASS via Getty Images
Yuri SmityukTASS via Getty Images

According to researchers at Harvard, comparing the two are like comparing apples and oranges. While human mouths and dogs mouths are riddled with almost the same number of bacteria, much of it is entirely different organisms.

The bright side, and probably where the myth originated from, is that you aren’t likely to get sick from a doggy kiss. Most of the stuff in a dog’s mouth won’t negatively impact a human, making it generally safer to kiss a dog than a human. However, there are exceptions so pay attention to what your dog puts in its mouth.

Dogs Should Eat Raw Meat And Ditch Grains

A young boys squants down next to his eating dog.
SuperpowerDogs/Barcroft Media via Getty Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
SuperpowerDogs/Barcroft Media via Getty Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Dogs, like humans, are omnivores who need a well-balanced diet. While meat provides some of these nutrients, giving your dog a slab of raw beef every day will leave them devoid of vitamins and at risk of ingesting harmful bacteria and parasites.

In addition, dogs actually can ingest grains, according to WebMD. While some will frown upon dog foods that contain “fillers” like corn and rice, these ingredients actually enhance their diet. The important thing is that the grains are pre-cooked.