Dog people are my people. Dog people are also incredibly well versed in canine knowledge and love learning canine facts. Are you a dog person? Dogs are fun, sweet, kind, loyal, and so much more. They are also a bit unique and there is a lot that we have left to learn about them. I can also recognize that being a dog person is extremely interesting. For example, every single time I learn something new about dogs, I can just nod my head and think “okay, yeah, that makes sense.” I don’t even question things that I probably wouldn’t have believed before. There are so many unique, quirky, and weird canine facts that only dog people understand, because there is nothing quite like a dog. Thank goodness!
Table of Contents
- 1 20 weird canine facts that only dog people understand
- 2 There were canine survivors of the sinking of the Titanic
- 3 Dogs absorb scent chemicals through their wet noses
- 4 The song, A Day in the Life by the Beatles, features a frequency only heard by dogs
- 5 Dogs paws can smell like corn chips
- 6 A guide dog helped a blind man hike the Appalachian Trail
- 7 Dogs were the inspiration for Ewoks in Star Wars
- 8 Almost a third of Dalmatians are deaf in one ear
- 9 The world’s tallest dog is a Great Dane that stands 44” tall
- 10 All dogs have three eyelids
- 11 The sense of smell of a Bloodhound is recognized by the courts
- 12 Dogs are the best hunters
- 13 Dogs date back to 7000 BC
- 14 Newfoundlands make great lifeguards
- 15 There’s a breed that yodels instead of barks
- 16 Dogs can go to the bathroom on command
- 17 Dogs have a poop preference
- 18 Dogs know when you are coming home
- 19 Tripping over your dog is a real danger
- 20 Female dogs don’t always squat when they pee
- 21 Dogs are very presidential
20 weird canine facts that only dog people understand
Do you feel like you know everything there is to know about dogs? I bet there are at least one or two things on this list that might be new to you!
There were canine survivors of the sinking of the Titanic
We all know how resilient dogs can be, but did you know that there were three canine survivors of the Titanic disaster? There were! These survivors include two Pomeranians (one was a puppy whose owner pretended it was her baby) and a Pekinese.1 I just recently learned about these weird canine facts, but was not at all surprised by. Dogs are amazing!
There is a story that First Officer William McMaster Murdoch’s pet Newfoundland dog, Rigel, swam for three hours in the freezing water searching for him to no avail. Rigel did manage to help save the people in lifeboat number four by swimming next to them and barking loudly to signal to the Carpathia. However, this seems to be a myth.2
Dogs absorb scent chemicals through their wet noses
Throughout life I have heard countless reasons why dogs’ noses are wet. The real reason might impress you though. Dogs’ noses are wet in order for them to better absorb scent chemicals. The mucus that keeps a dog’s nose wet allows them to absorb the scent chemical which helps them understand what the smell is.
Dogs have over 100 million sensory receptor sites in their nasal cavities (people only have about 6 million). So, while humans mainly rely on our sight, dogs rely on their sense of smell. The area of the canine brain used to analyze scents is roughly 40 times larger than the similar area of the human brain. And, it’s been estimated that dogs can smell anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 times better than people.3
The song, A Day in the Life by the Beatles, features a frequency only heard by dogs
Okay, this one doubles as dog trivia and Beatles trivia, but did you know that the Beatles song, A Day in the Life, features a high-frequency 15 kilohertz tone that can only be heard by dogs. Paul McCartney confirmed this in a 2013 interview.4
Dogs paws can smell like corn chips
Have you ever been laying down cuddling your dog and start smelling corn chips? Well, it’s probably your dog’s paws.5 This byproduct of yeast and bacteria. It’s perfectly normal and doesn’t mean you have a dirty dog. But, it can be a sign of an infection. So, if you also notice your pup licking or chewing excessively on their paws it could be time to call the vet.
A guide dog helped a blind man hike the Appalachian Trail
In 1990, a man named Bill Irwin was the first blind man to hike the 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail. The only assistance he had was from his guide dog, a German Shepherd named Orient.6 It took them 8 months to complete the trek. They stopped throughout to recover from injuries—from fractured ribs and hypothermia (Bill) to hurt paw pads and sores from packs (Orient)—but they never gave up.
Dogs were the inspiration for Ewoks in Star Wars
Are you a Star Wars fan? You might be interested to learn that George Lucas got the inspiration for the Ewoks from his family dog, a Griffon Bruxellois.7
Almost a third of Dalmatians are deaf in one ear
Dalmatian owners may know this already, but almost a third of Dalmatians are deaf in one ear.8 Deafness in piebald animals is caused by the absence of mature melanocytes in the inner ear.
Good news is that a new study shows that in the last 26 years, the number of dogs that were deaf in one ear decreased by over a quarter, while dogs with deafness in both ears decreased in half.9
The world’s tallest dog is a Great Dane that stands 44” tall
In 2011, a Great Dane named Zeus was named the tallest dog ever. He was 44” inches tall.10 Now that is a tall dog! Unfortunately, he died in 2014 at the age of five.
All dogs have three eyelids
Even long time dog owners are often surprised to learn that dogs actually have three eyelids. It’s true.The third eyelid (or nictitating membrane) is a triangular membrane at the inner corner of the eye. It sweeps across the surface of the eye to provide protection and to help distribute moisture.11
Dylan sometimes sleeps with his eyelids not 100% closed and his third eye is pink color (they can have different colors) so needless to say it freaked me out looking over and seeing just pink “eye sockets.” That’s when I did some research to find out about the third eye.
The sense of smell of a Bloodhound is recognized by the courts
Bloodhounds can stay on a trail for over 130 miles and can follow tracks that are over a week old!12 Because of how precise they are, their abilities are actually recognized by the courts and can be admissible in court.13
Dogs are the best hunters
I think many of us expect this, but the most successful hunter in the world is a dog! In fact, the African Hunting Dog is by far the most successful hunter on record with a success rate of 80%.14
Dogs date back to 7000 BC
While the Saluki is the oldest known dog breed (dating back to 329 BC),15 there are carvings which have been found of dogs dating back to at least 7000 BC.16 The earliest evidence of a domesticated dog is a jawbone found in a cave in Iraq from about 12,000 years ago.17
Newfoundlands make great lifeguards
Did you know that Newfoundland dogs have webbed feet? They do. They also have water-resistant fur and a strong tail that can be used like a rudder. That’s why they make the best lifeguards. In fact, they were actually bred to help fishermen and have actually helped save people from drowning. Their lifesaving legacy actually dates back to as early as 1000 AD.
In fact, the Italian Coast Guard even has a special K9 lifeguard unit using these dogs. They use about 300 dogs which help to save about 3,000 people every year.18
There’s a breed that yodels instead of barks
The Basenji doesn’t make a true barking sound—it yodels.19 There doesn’t seem to be a reason why they don’t bark. But they tend to just yodel, whine, or growl. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Some good canine facts to know if you are interested in getting this breed.
Dogs can go to the bathroom on command
Dogs can be trained to do their “business” on command. Service dogs are taught to go pee and poop on command.20 In our house, Dylan and Rainey tend to go to the bathroom at the same time. Which is very convenient at times.
Dogs have a poop preference
Nothing is more frustrating than when you are in a rush and your dog is wandering around the yard and twirling in circles instead of pooping. A study has found that dogs will poop along a north–south axis. While scientists have no idea why they make this choice, they did find that dogs blatantly avoided relieving themselves along the east–west alignment.21 Not sure these interesting canine facts will make me more patient with the pups or not though.
Dogs know when you are coming home
Okay, seriously though. Why does your dog always seems to know before you do when one of their loved ones is coming home? Experts don’t really know but there are a couple of hypotheses to explain this phenomenon.
A leading dog scientist thinks that by using their sense of smell, they can tell the time which allows them to be able to figure out when you usually are expected to come home. Your dog might know that your scent around the house is strongest at a particular time of day and then lessens to a consistent level each day. When the scent is at that consistent level, they know it’s time for you to come home.22
A dog can learn a trigger, such as recognizing the sound of a specific car (or the regular bus), and anticipate the arrival of the person associated with that trigger.23
No matter what the reason, there’s nothing better than coming home to wagging tails and dog kisses.
Tripping over your dog is a real danger
Many people are on the lookout for dog bites, but did you know that the one of the most common injuries related to dogs is from owners tripping over their dogs? In the United States, more than 86,000 people a year are taken to emergency rooms due to falls caused by the family dog or cat.24 About 88% of those injuries are caused by dogs.25
Female dogs don’t always squat when they pee
Sometimes Rainey will do this weird squat/leg-lift pee when we are out walking. And there are times when Dylan will squat when he pees. We know that dogs use their urine to communicate. I was always taught that males lift their legs to more accurately deposit their scent on a surface but also to seem bigger by marking higher up. But there’s a lot of variation in dogs just some more weird canine facts.
There are two main pee positions for male dogs—raised-leg with one rear leg held up and where the dog keeps all feet on the ground (usually in juvenile dogs). The average age male dogs begin leg lifting is around 38 weeks old. According to research, there seems to be extensive individual variation in scent-marking behavior, including urinary posture. One theory is that the variation in leg-lifting behavior in males, from extreme to nonexistent, relates to testosterone levels at birth.
Female dogs too have two main pee positions—the squat and the squat-raise with one rear leg slightly raised. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus about why females change their positions. It could be related to scent marking.
But there is some correlation between leg lifting and size in both male and female dogs—small females were most likely to raise a rear leg. This may suggest that small dogs prefer to communicate through urine marking to transfer information without having to have direct social interaction.26
Dogs are very presidential
Dogs have often been a staple in the White House alongside our nation’s presidents. Thirty-one out of the nation’s 45 presidents have had a dog in the White House!27 How’s that for some great canine facts!