10 Facts about Dogs

10 facts about dogs in celebration of ‘man’s best friend’

The UK had an estimated 8.5 million pet dogs! In celebration of ‘man’s best friend’, here are a few facts that might surprise you…

1. Dogs often dream

In fact, they experience similar stages of dreaming to humans – including rapid eye movement (REM), (the stage of dreaming we tend to remember). Twitches and paw movements are just some of the ways you can spot a dreaming dog. Even more amazing? Harvard experts suggest that your dog is quite likely to be dreaming about… you. Aww.

A dog sleeping under a car

2. As smart as two-year-old children

Some have the ability to learn a similar average number of words as a two-year-old child. Topping the intelligence category are Border Collies – with some clever collies understanding up to 200 words. Poodles, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Dobermans followed as the smartest dogs.

A Border Collie sitting on grass

3. Super sense of smell 

A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 better than ours. They can even use this super sense to detect diseases such as cancers and diabetes.

A dog sitting on the ground in Sierra Leone with people standing in the background

4. Tell-tail signs 

A wagging tail to greet you is one of the most recognisable forms of communication we see from dogs, but it isn’t always a positive one. Tail wagging to the right can mean they’re happy, but over to the left and it could mean they’re frightened. If they raise their tail, it might mean that they’re anxious.

A dog called Bruno running while wearing a World Animal Protection vaccination collar

5. Sharing your emotions 

Dogs sometimes share our emotions – getting stressed or upset when their owners do. They can feel a range of emotions, from optimism and pessimism to depression and jealousy, and of course, a whole lot of love and affection.

Bruno being held by her owner at their home in Kenya

6. Myth busting how dogs see the world 

It’s an old myth that dogs see in black and white. Although they see differently to humans, they’re still able to detect strains of yellow and blue and are only red-green colour blind.

An Argentinian dog standing on grass with muddy paws

7. Paws for thought 

Dogs’ paws can be smelly, but with good reason – their sweat glands are located on the pads on their paws.

A dog relaxing on the sand in Romania

8. Why they might be howling at the fridge

Dogs’ closest living relatives are wolves – but their exact lineage is unclear. We do know that humans began to train and domesticate wolves over 15,000 years ago.

A wolf in the wild

9. Nose identification

A dog’s nose print is as unique in identifying them as our fingerprint is to us.

A dog looking up curiously at the camera in Romania

10. Dogs and science

And finally, studies demonstrate that dogs align themselves with the earth’s magnetic field before pooping, preferring to face either north or south before doing their business. Thanks, science.

A dog relaxing on hay in an Indonesian community

As part of our Better Lives for Dogs campaign, we work globally to fight rabies and brutal culls carried out in its name. We’ve already given one million vaccinations to dogs – and we aim to give one million more by 2020. We’re also calling on governments to commit to ending this deadly disease by 2030.


Source: George White in the Animals in communities blog