10 Fun Dog Facts: Understanding our Furry Friends

Key takeaways

It's easy to underestimate our dogs’ intelligence when they get the zoomies, chase a squirrel, or start running in their sleep. However, they are incredibly fascinating animals.

So, to shed some light on our furry friends, we're exploring the top 10 most interesting dog facts.

Ready to dive into the world of dogs? Let's go!

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  1. Key takeaways
  2. Top 10 most interesting dog facts
  3. FAQs
  4. Final thought

Top 10 most interesting dog facts

We know our own pet dogs are special, but what about other dogs? Well, it turns out our canine companions are pretty fascinating!
Not only are they incredibly intelligent, but their domestication dates back hundreds of thousands of years. So, let's take a look at the top 10 most interesting facts and learn a little more about our furry friends.

1. Dogs have a powerful nose

Dogs have thousands more receptors in their noses than humans, meaning their sense of smell is a lot better than us. In fact, in perfect conditions, a dog can pick up a scent from 20km (12 miles) away! (source) The reason why dogs' noses are always wet is so they can absorb scent chemicals more easily.
This is how most dogs understand their environment and location. They will have scent markers all around their territory and on their regular walking routes to help them know their way around. This is also why dogs are used to sniff out drugs, certain metals, and bombs.
A dog sitting next to their food bowl after smelling it

2. The Saluki is the oldest dog breed

The Saluki dog dates back to ancient Egypt. They were incredible hunters, and there is evidence to suggest they were the pets of the royal pharaohs.
However, there is also evidence of a prehistoric dog, suggesting that people in Europe owned dogs over 30,000 years ago. (source)

3. The oldest dog lived until they were 31 years old

Bobi unfortunately passed away in October 2023, but he lived until the grand age of 31 years old. He was a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo who lived in Portugal.
His owner believes the family dog lived this long because of his diet. Bobi only ate human food, so whatever the family ate, he ate too. While this can offer a dog lots of nutrients, it's important you avoid toxic foods. (source)
An old dog sleeping in a living room

4. Dogs use the Earth's magnetic field to understand location

A dog's sense of direction is very impressive. Plenty of studies have found dogs can find their way back home from miles away, but importantly, they don't always follow the same route back. Instead, they tap into the Earth's electromagnetic field to coordinate themselves along the North-South axis.
This is responsible for their 'homing instinct' and means many dogs can find their way back to their home or owners after becoming lost. (source)

5. A dog's nose print is like a human fingerprint

Out of all the fun dog facts, we think this is one of the most fascinating! Every dog has a completely unique nose print, similar to how we have specific fingerprints. (source)
This means pups can be identified from this print. This is a huge breakthrough in identifying lost dogs and reuniting pups with their owners.

6. All dogs dream

To dog owners, this one may not be too surprising. We'll often see a dog twitching, running, or even barking in their sleep. Well, our suspicions have been confirmed. All dogs dream at night as a way to process the day they've had. (source)
Puppies will dream more than adult dogs. This is because there is an incredible amount of new information to process every day.
A dog sleeping on a bed and dreaming

7. Dogs can smell cancer cells

In the human body, cancerous cells release specific odor signatures that healthy cells don't release, which dogs can pick up on. This means many assistance dogs are now being trained in hospitals to help with early diagnosis of cancer. (source)
They can even do this by smelling someone's breath, making it an incredibly quick and easy process. This fascinating sense makes our loveable pups even more impressive!

8. Dogs have over 100 facial expressions

To owners, this may not come as a surprise. The longer you spend with your pups, the better you understand their expressions. But your pup is not the only dog who's expressive!
In fact, dogs have over 100 facial expressions. This, combined with their body language, means it's really not too difficult to know what our dog wants!
Some examples include:

Soft, round eyes: Your dog is feeling confident, sociable, and calm

Head tilting: Your dog is curious about something

Eyebrows raised: Your dog is interested and alert

A dog with a happy facial expression chasing a butterfly

9. The US and Brazil have the highest pet dog population

The US has an incredible dog population of 90,000,000. This is truly astounding and a difficult statistic to comprehend. (source) This overpopulation is why many animal shelters in America are struggling to find rescue dogs homes.
Similarly, Brazil has a dog population of 55,000,000. This is why it's so important to neuter your pets. This will prevent stray dogs from mating and producing pups that won't have homes.

10. Dogs can understand words and gestures

The average dog can learn and understand 165 words. This is a pretty impressive number, considering most of us repeat the same few words, like 'walk', 'treats', and 'stay'. Some dogs may even be able to learn over 250 words!
However, studies have found that our tone of voice can greatly impact how our dogs can understand us. If we say 'good boy' in a bright and enthusiastic voice, they're much more likely to recognize the words compared to saying it in passing in a conversation. (source)
A dog owner sat with their dog, bonding


What are 5 interesting facts about dogs?

5 interesting facts about dogs include that they can smell cancer cells, they can understand over 160 words, they have over 100 facial expressions, all dogs dream, and the oldest dog lived until they were 31 years old.

What is a funny fact about dogs?

A funny fact about dogs is that all dogs dream. This is a way for them to process the day's events and their experiences.

Can dogs see color?

Dogs can only see blue and yellow. Aside from this, everything is in black and white, so they are red and green color blind.

What do dogs dream about?

Dogs dream about their personal experiences. It's a way for them to process the events of the day. So they're probably dreaming about that squirrel they saw on their walk or that tasty treat you gave them at dinner time!

Why do dogs lick you?

Most dogs lick you to show affection. This is their equivalent of stroking or cuddling and helps them bond with their owners. Also, you may have something tasty on you that they're trying to get!

What can dogs only see?

Dogs can only see the colors blue and yellow. Everything else is black and white. This means they are red and green color blind.

Final thought

Our fluffy friends are our favorite companions. And it's not surprising why. As well as being loving, loyal, and entertaining, they are fascinating and intelligent animals with endless talent.
So, next time you see your pup doing something ridiculous and slightly stupid, remember that if they wanted to, they could work in the health industry or the army and can understand a lot of what you're saying. Impressive, right?
Why not do some research on your dog breed and see what they were originally bred for? The better you understand your furry friend, the stronger your bond will be.

Written by

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Lauren Jeffries

In this blog, I combine my two areas of expertise: pets and writing. I share my personal experiences alongside plenty of animal behavior research to help owners look after their pets. I have always lived with furry friends and am now a loving cat mum to two orange kitties.

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