Throughout history, dogs have been our best friends, a valued member of the family, loyal companions and even a man’s best co-worker. Dogs have always been one of the most fascinating creatures on this planet, and we’re learning more about our four-legged friends every day. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite fun facts about dogs, from having the ability to predict upcoming weather, being a valued resource for law enforcement to…being able to run for office? (Yes, you read that correctly)
Here are some fun and interesting facts about our furry friends:
1. Dogs have incredible hearing
As well as having a sensitive nose, dogs also can hear sound at higher frequencies than humans. (Fun fact – The Beatles’ song “A Day in a Life” contains a high-frequency sound at the end of the track which dogs can hear, but not humans). Dogs have 18 muscles in their ears, which enables them to contort their ears in different directions to help them hear better. This is why they’re able to hear very faint noises and distant sounds much more clearly than an average human.
2. Dogs can be literal lifesavers
Dogs have been an integral part of public service, most commonly within law enforcement. But their unique abilities can save people’s lives too. Within the medical field, dogs have been trained to sniff out certain medical conditions (a medical detective, called Pal, once saved their diabetic owner’s life by detecting a change in their blood sugar levels).
3. A city in California elected a dog as mayor
A less conventional career for dogs – how about a job in politics? A Golden Retriever named Max became the very first mayor of Idyllwild, California in 2012. Sadly Max passed away the next year but was succeeded by Max II who has been running the town ever since. He has our vote!
4. Dogs sweat through their paws
A dog’s sweat glands can be found on their paws, and is one of the ways they can cool down, other than panting. Their paws can be sensitive to heat, which means stepping onto hot ground is painful, so keep an eye out for your furry friend when you take them out on a walk on a sunny day.
5. A guide dog once guided his blind owner through the Appalachian Trail
In 1990, a 50-year-old blind man, Bill Irwin, and his German Shepherd guide dog, Orient, hiked the 2,100-mile Appalachian trail together, taking 8 months. Irwin became the first ever blind person to hike the trail, and the pair were given the nickname the ‘Orient Express’ by reporters who covered their incredible story.
6. Dogs don’t have much taste
Ever wondered why your dog will gladly eat rotting food scraps from the trash? Despite having a strong sense of smell and hearing, a dog’s taste is less refined when compared to humans. While humans have around 9,000 tastebuds, dogs only have about 1,700 – that’s just about a sixth of our tastebuds.
7. Respiratory disease
Breathing issues such as laryngeal paralysis, infections, and cancer could all contribute to excessive panting. Diagnostics like x-rays might be needed, with treatment depending on the cause
8. Dogs can predict a storm
According to a survey in 2010, about 67% of dog owners claimed their dog could predict an oncoming storm. There is actually some scientific evidence to support this. Studies have found that dogs can use their senses to detect a change in barometric pressure (air pressure and electrical charge) alerting them to a coming storm long before humans notice.
9. Dogs are dreamers, just like us
Researchers have found that dogs are likely to have vivid dreams just like we do while sleeping. Studies have shown that dogs have a similar sleep pattern and brain activity as a human. According to Psychology Today, it’s likely that they are dreaming about their normal activities such as playing and running outside, which would explain why some dogs twitch or even act out their dreams when they’re snoozing.
10. Dogs yawn to calm themselves down
When humans yawn it usually means that we are tired. When dogs do it, it’s actually a way for them to calm down. Dogs who may yawn repeatedly are likely to be stressed and anxious, so take note if you notice your furry friend doing this.
11. Dogs aren’t actually color-blind
Despite what you may have been led to believe, dogs don’t see the world in black white. They can see a spectrum of greys, browns, blues and yellow tones. But they do have trouble distinguishing between the colors red and green.
12. The tallest dog in the world
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the tallest dog in the world is a Great Dane, Freddy from Stoneman, Essex, UK. Standing at 3ft 4 inches tall, Freddy was about the same height as an average-sized 5-year-old.