We realize we may be biased, but here at the AKC we never get tired of learning more about dogs, whether it’s a new study on canine behavior, a statistic from the AKC’s database, or even just cool facts about a dog’s impressive physical and mental abilities. You may know some of these already, and others may be more of a “wait, really?” situation, but we think you’ll find all of them entertaining. Check out these 30 fun dog facts.
1. The Labrador Retriever has been on the AKC’s top 10 most popular breeds list for 30 consecutive years—longer than any other breed.
2. A dog’s nose print is unique, much like a person’s fingerprint.
3. Forty-five percent of U.S. dogs sleep in their owner’s bed.
4. Speaking of sleeping … all dogs dream, but puppies and senior dogs dream more frequently than adult dogs.
5. Seventy percent of people sign their dog’s name on their holiday cards.
6. A dog’s sense of smell is legendary, but did you know that his nose has as many as 300 million receptors? In comparison, a human nose has about 5 million.
7. Rin Tin Tin, the famous German Shepherd, was nominated for an Academy Award.
8. Dogs’ noses can sense heat/thermal radiation, which explains why blind or deaf dogs can still hunt.
9. Only one breed that was among the five most popular breeds in 1934— the Beagle — still remains in the top five today.
10. The name Collie means “black.” (Collies once tended black-faced sheep.)
11. Yawning is contagious—even for dogs. Research shows that the sound of a human yawn can trigger one from your dog. And it’s four times as likely to happen when it’s the yawn of a person he knows.
12. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is the only breed named for a fictional person—a character in the novel Guy Mannering, by Sir Walter Scott.
13. Dogs curl up in a ball when sleeping to protect their organs—a hold over from their days in the wild, when they were vulnerable to predator attacks.
14. The Basenji is not technically “barkless,” as many people think. They can yodel.
15. The Australian Shepherd is not actually from Australia—they are an American breed.
16. … And the Labrador Retriever is originally from Newfoundland.
17. Human blood pressure goes down when petting a dog. And so does the dog’s.
18. There are over 75 million pet dogs in the U.S.—more than in any other country.
19. A person who hunts with a Beagle is known as a “Beagler.”
20. Dogs are not colorblind. They can see blue and yellow.
21. All puppies are born deaf.
22. Dalmatians are born completely white, and develop their spots as they get older.
23. Dogs have about 1,700 taste buds. We humans have between 2,000–10,000.
24. When dogs kick backward after they go to the bathroom it’s not to cover it up, but to mark their territory, using the scent glands in their feet.
25. A recent study shows that dogs are among a small group of animals who show voluntary unselfish kindness towards others without any reward. This is one fact dog lovers have known all along.
26. The Norwegien Lundehund is the least popular dog breed and the only dog breed created for the job of puffin hunting.
27. Greyhounds can beat cheetahs in a race. While cheetahs can run twice as fast as greyhounds, they can only maintain that 70 mph speed for about thirty seconds. A Greyhound can maintain a 35 mph speed for about seven miles. So, the cheetah may start out first, but the greyhound will soon overtake him.
28. The Bloodhound’s sense of smell is so accurate that the results of its tracking can be used as evidence in a court of law.
29. Some dogs are taller or heavier, but according to the Guinness World Records, a Mastiff named Zorba is the world’s overall largest dog ever. Zorba weighed 343 pounds and measured over eight feet from his nose to his tail. He’s been described as being about the size of a small donkey.
30. According to the Guinness World Records, the smallest dog ever recorded was Miracle Milly, the Chihuahua. Born in 2011, Milly was a miniscule 3.8 inches tall and weighed in at one pound.