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dog facts

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. (Did we mention we’re biased?)

  1. The Labrador Retriever has been on the AKC’s top 10 most popular breeds list for 25 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. The shape of a dog’s face suggests its longevity: A long face means a longer life.
  9. Dog eyes have a part called the tapetum lucidum, allowing night vision.
  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 also 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.Yawning is contagious between people and dogs:
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Tips for Responsible Dog Owners

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