More Fascinating Facts & Trivia about Dogs

Great Dane and Mastiff Dogs Shaking HandsIs your service dog right-pawed or left-pawed?
According to the Institute for the Study of Animal Problems in Washington D.C., dogs (and cats, too), like people, are either right-handed or left-handed, or in this case, they favor either their right or left paws. And why would it matter?  Current research at the Veterinary Neurology Center in Tustin, California indicates that  determining laterality—or what part of the brain is dominant over the other—could one day help breeders figure out which puppies are best suited to be military, service, or therapy dogs!  (And now you know.)

Are male dogs more likely to bite you than a female?
Hah!  We bet you said “Yes!”  But you’d be wrong.  Female canine bite reports are twice as  numerous as male bites.

Love Songs
The Beatles song Martha My Dear was written by Paul McCartney about his sheepdog Martha.

Balancing on Three Legs is not Mandatory
A male dog lifts one leg when he urinates to better mark his territory. The scent can tell him many things, including size and health. (Size is judged by the height of the stain.) Actually, male dogs do not need to lift their leg!

The Nose Knows
The canine nose is one million times more sensitive than the human nose.

Faster than a Speeding Bullet (well, not quite, but pretty darn fast!)
Many medium-sized domestic dogs are capable of reaching almost 20 miles per hour when running flat. Greyhounds have been clocked at 43 miles per hour.

Chomp on This
The average dog has 42 permanent teeth. It’s important to keep them clean by brushing them.  Use toothpaste made for dogs (not the human stuff!).

Photo credit: Gloria Yarina

Can you hear me now?
Photo Credit: Gloria Yarina

Hear This!
A dogs ear is very sensitive, full of sensory nerves that help to preserve hearing. Never, blow into a dog’s ear.  Even doing so softly, can hurt the dog. It’s not the actual act of wind, but the frequency at which you blow. It’s like running your fingers on a blackboard, amplified hundreds of times. (Eeek…. just thinking about that screeching blackboard makes me want to scream!)

Bingo – It’s not just a game.
The name of the dog on the Cracker Jack box is “Bingo.”

Lookout Below!
The colorful phrase, “it’s raining cats and dogs” has no definitive origin, but there is a likely derivation. Some say it began in 17th century England, when heavy rains swept pets down the streets.  More likely, however, is the possibility that in the polluted streets of England during this era, heavy rains would carry along dead animals and other debris. The animals didn’t fall from the sky, but the sight of dead cats and dogs floating by in heavy storms could well have been the basis for this metaphor.

So, dog lovers: Was there anything on this list that surprised you?
Send us your “strange but true” facts.  My Magic Dog would love to hear from you!

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10 Responses to More Fascinating Facts & Trivia about Dogs

  1. Gloria Yarina April 26, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    Ok, I MUST comment on the Dalmatian scary picture of her teeth. Dalmatians, and Mimi (as did her mother, Gypsy) in particular, smile, grin, looks like she is mean if you did not know her. She smiles when she is happy or nervous. She would not bite a flea, ok maybe a flea but not a human, never ever.
    Mimi’s mom and photographer, Gloria Yarina

  2. Jaana Hatton April 30, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    I was surprised to learn that we should actually brush our dog’s teeth. In nature, how would that come about? In the wild, how would that come about? Dogs were, after all, wild at first.

    And the fact about “raining cats and dogs”. Not sure if I like the imagery there… but it could be true, however.

  3. Kathleen Kaska April 30, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    I’ve always heard that a male dog lifting his leg when urinating was a “learned” behavior. If they don’t see other male dogs doing it, chances are they won’t.
    My dog used to love to have her teeth brushed. I think it was the peanut butter flavored toothpaste. Thanks for sharing these doggy tidbits.

  4. Norman Wilson April 30, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    The blowing in the ear comment would, as you explain, be torture for the dog. I can’t imagine doing such a thing.

  5. Cliff Mueller April 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    I want to see the actual equations on that canine nose being “one million” times more sensitive than a human nose.

    • Dr. B May 1, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

      Thank you Cliff for catching that ridiculous mistake! Obviously, when I wrote that a “canine’s nose is one million times more sensitive than a human nose,” I was in la la land. The current estimates of sensitivity come from rigorously designed cancer studies (e.g., those done by James Walker, former director of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University) which estimate that a dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than ours. Obviously, even at the low end (10,000) this is impressive. But “one million” times greater… nah.

  6. Ann Barbas April 30, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    Very interesting facts. Some I knew and most I did not. Thank you.

    • Patti Cole May 1, 2014 at 12:28 am #

      What a fun and informative article! I loved all the tidbits, short and to the point and I learned something with every different subject!

  7. John Finlayson May 12, 2014 at 4:15 am #

    It’s interesting that they are doing some research on left / right paw preference. My dog, Brindy is a definite lefty (southpaw). Most times when she finishes her meal she gently tips her bowl…always with her left paw. I don’t know why she does it. Some times she will do it two or three times. Whenever she circles, it is to the left. When she started tracking, whenever she lost the track her first cast searching for it would be to the left. Another dog I had some years ago who had a very different temperament to Brindy was a definite righty.

    • Dr. B May 28, 2014 at 6:09 am #

      Fascinating. And it shows how observant you are Mr. Finlayson!

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