Since dogs first became domesticated by humans thousands of years ago, they have grown to earn the title of "man's best friend." Not only were they helpful to ward off predators or track animals while hunting, but they also developed a close bond with humans that has spanned generations.
Today, dogs are an integral part of our society with many people not able to imagine their lives without their loyal companion by their side. These canine facts that will give you even more appreciation for our tail-wagging friends.
Your Dog Can Smell Your Feelings
Dogs are known for their incredible sense of smell, yet it goes beyond scents that humans are capable of smelling. Dogs actually have the ability to pick up subtle changes in your scent, which allows them to smell what you are feeling emotionally.
They can smell your perspiration when you become nervous or afraid which affects their behavior as well. Dogs have also been known to be able to detect if their owner is sick and even if someone in the house is pregnant.
The First Known Dog Is Really, Really Old
From fossils found in Russia, scientists concluded that the first-known domesticated dog lived 14,000 years ago. However, after a shocking discovery in 2008, it is believed that that the first dog actually lived 31,700 years ago.
The remains of a canine were unearthed in Belgium which suggested that the Aurignacian people of Europe from the Upper Paleolithic period first domesticated dogs. The dog is said to have resembled a Siberian husky although larger, living off of a diet of horse, musk ox, and reindeer.
Dogs Aren't Colorblind
Contrary to popular belief, dogs aren't actually colorblind like the myth says. They do see in color although not as vividly as humans. A dog's eyesight has been described as a human who is colorblind or the vision of someone with regular eyesight at dusk.
However, they do surpass us when it comes to low-light vision. This is because they have a special light-reflecting layer behind their retinas which captures light better than humans can.
They Can Get Jealous
A study at the University of California San Diego showed that dogs really do feel jealousy when their owner gives another dog attention. The experiment had people engaging with three different objects in front of their dogs: a book, a jack-o-lantern, and a realistic stuffed dog that moved and made noises.
When the owner would interact with the fake dog, their dog would be much more engaged and aggressive in trying to get their owners attention, getting in between the two of them. This occurred more so than if the owner interacted with the other objects.
They Lift Their Leg To Appear Bigger
When a male dog is urinating, you may have noticed that they'll raise their leg and do their business on a nearby structure, tree, or lamppost.
They do this in order to get their urine as high as possible on the on the object so that other dogs that smell it will think that they're large and intimidating. In Africa, some dogs have been known to run up tree trunks so that they appear extra-large to all the other animals.
Why Their Noses Are Wet
We're all familiar of that tickling feeling when your dog's wet nose comes into contact with your skin. But why are their noses always so wet? Well, dogs' noses are wet because they constantly produce a thin layer of mucus.
They do this as well as frequently lick their noses to help them absorb scent chemicals. Their moist noses are also used as a way to cool down their body temperature along with panting and sweating through their paws.
More Than Half Of US Presidents Have Had Dogs
With pet dogs having the highest population in the United States, it's no wonder that over half of the United States presidents have owned dogs while in office. In fact, 32 out of 45 US presidents have owned a dog during their stay in the White House.
George Washington even had seven dogs. He had three American Staghounds named Sweet Lips, Scentwell, and Vulcan, as well as four Black and Tan Coonhounds named Drunkard, Taster, Tipler, and Tipsy.
Dogs Are About As Smart As A Two-Year-Old
Have you ever wondered why dogs and little children sometimes have such a deep connection? Well, it's because they are essentially on the same frequency. After years of research, it has been assumed that dogs have the intelligence relative to a two-year-old child.
While they may differ emotionally, each is capable of recognizing around the same amount of words and gestures. While this estimate may seem like it's underestimating your dog's intelligence, it's important to remember that toddlers are much smarter than most people realize.
Stray Dogs Have Learned To Use The Subway In Russia
In Russia, it's not uncommon to see stray dogs on the subway. This is because they've learned how to use it to get from point A to point B. There are as many as 35,000 stray dogs in Moscow and although not all use the complex underground system, those that do get off and on at their regular stops looking for food.
What's particularly fascinating is how they're able to handle the crowded spaces, movements, and loud noises much better than most pet dogs.
Yawning Is Contagious Among Them
Just like humans, yawning is contagious among dogs. If they see or hear a human yawn, it can trigger the dog to do the same. In a study by psychologist Ramiro Joly-Mascheroni and colleagues from the University of London, 21 out of 29 dogs responded to someone yawning by doing the same.
However, interestingly enough, a dog is four times more likely to yawn if they see someone they know like such as their owner yawn first.
Spiked Collars Go All The Way Back To Ancient Greece
While today, some people might put a spiked collar on their pup either as a joke or to make their dog look more formidable, the origin of that style of collar comes from ancient Greece.
Back then, the Greeks had no shortage of dogs and appreciated and loved them as we do today. So, in order to protect them from wolves and other predators, they fashioned spiked collars so their throats would be protected in case of an attack.
Their Whiskers Help Them See In The Dark
A dog's whiskers, which can be found on their muzzle, are actually known as vibrissae. They are touch-sensitive hairs which allow them to sense changes in airflow. This is what helps them to navigate in the dark.
While it doesn't give them superpowers to see clearly in the dark, being able to pick up on subtle changes in air currents gives them the information of the size, shape, and speed of things in the dark.
Dogs Actually Have A Very Good Sense Of Time, Which Means They Know How Long You've Been Gone
If you think that your dog lives out their days with no real idea what time it is or how much time has passed, you're sadly mistaken. It's actually quite the opposite. Dogs pick up on their owner's routines and habits and form their own routines around them.
Ever notice how your dog knows exactly when it's time for dinner or their daily walk? It's because they're aware of what time of the day it is. Although it's sad to hear, they also know how long you've been gone for when you leave them.
The United States Has The Highest Dog Population
Unsurprisingly, the United States has the highest population of pet dogs in the world, approximately 75.8 million. Now that's a lot of dogs. Due to the massive population of dogs, numerous laws have been passed both state-specific and country-wide regarding the treatment of dogs, selling of dogs, breeding of dogs, and more.
In addition, out of necessity, dog parks, grooming parlors, and pet stores have been springing up all over the place, especially in major cities or heavily populated areas.
Dogs Have Sweat Glands, But Not Like Humans
Dogs don't sweat like humans, but they do sweat. They have two types of sweat glands; merocrine and apocrine glands. While the merocrine glands function similar to human sweat glands, they are located in a dog's paw pads. This is why you might see damp paw prints on the ground on a hot day.
Instead of sweating like humans, in order to regulate their body temperature, they rely on panting. The action evaporates moisture from their tongues and their lungs, which cools them off as the air passes over their tissue.
The Legend Of The Werewolf
After the fall of Rome, human survival once again became more important than breeding, owning, or taking care of dogs. Although dogs were popular in ancient Roman culture, many people were forced to leave their animals behind as they were no longer capable of caring for them.
During this time, legends of werewolves began to spread although they were just packs of stray dogs that harassed the people and livestock in the struggling villages and towns.
Dogs Can Hear Four Times As Far As Humans
While puppies are born blind and deaf, their hearing certainly improves over time and far surpasses our own capabilities. Not only can they hear significantly further than us, they also can hear pitches that the human ear cannot.
Dogs can detect a frequency range of 67 to 45,000 hertz with humans only having a range of 64 to 23,000 hertz. They also are capable of locating the source of a sound in 6/100ths of a second thanks to the shape of their ears.
They Have Been Used In The Military Throughout History
Much like how dogs are used today in police forces and the military, medieval armies utilized them in warfare as well. It was not unheard of to have dogs such as Great Danes and Mastiffs wearing armor and spikes charging the field with the other soldiers.
However, if they weren't being used on the open field, they were often used as defenders of the supply caravans. Not only could they bark to sound an alarm but they were also fierce fighters that few people were willing to go up against.
They Have Interesting Ancestors
Although there are many different breeds of dogs, all dogs can be traced back 40 million years to the now extinct Miacis. The Miacis was a carnivorous and weasel-like animal that lived in the canopy of trees and dens.
They first appeared in the late Paleocene period and continued through the Eocene period. Eventually, they evolved into the Tomarctus, a direct ancestor of the genus Canis, which includes the wolf, jackal, as well as the dog.
Why They Curl Up In A Ball
Although they may not do it all of the time, while they're sleeping, most dogs will curl up into a ball. This is an instinct that has been passed down to them from their ancestors who would curl up to protect their vital organs while they slept in the wild.
In addition, it is a way for them to stay warm. Tucking their nose under their tail while in a ball conserves body heat, which is what many dogs sleeping outside will do.