They are often called man’s best friend. They can frustrate us beyond belief, all the while being irresistibly cute. They are loyal companions, fearless protectors, and help humans in myriad ways. They have been with humans for over 10,000 years and aren’t going anywhere in the near future. Today’s article is all about dogs.
Paleontologists have found an 18,000-year-old puppy.
The puppy, who was about two months old at the time of its death, was found frozen and mostly preserved in permafrost in Siberia. Named Dogor, which is Yakut for “friend,” the animal is so well preserved that it still has fur. Scientists were able to extract DNA, discovering that the puppy was neither a wolf nor a dog, but a species that may have spawned both of those animals.
They were domesticated twice.
The first time was in Europe around 16,000 years ago. They were again domesticated in Asia about 14,000 years ago. Something happened to the ancient European population, but the Asian population thrived and developed into some of the popular breeds we see today.
They have an extremely acute sense of smell.
Dogs have around 300 million olfactory sensors in their noses, compared to the human’s 6 million. The part of their brain devoted to the sense of smell is also 40 times larger than that of humans. This allows dogs to detect scents up to one part per trillion. Trust me, you can’t sneak anything around a dog!
They chase cats for many reasons.
One of those reasons may be instinct. This is especially true if the dog is a herding or sight hunting breed, such as a border collie or greyhound. The other reason is that cats run when they are chased and dogs like to play. This is extremely annoying for the cat, but quite amusing for their pursuer. At least until the cat gets tired of it and raises hell.
There are many misconceptions about pit bulls.
This breed is often viewed as aggressive and dangerous, but this far from the truth. Pit bulls turn out to be among the most tolerant breeds tested by the American Temperament Society. They are also very gentle with children, earning the nickname of “Nanny Dog” in the nineteenth century. A pit bull in Fresno, California, recently earned a medal for defending a mother and child from a dangerous criminal, and she did so without seriously injuring the suspect.
They are closely related to wolves.
Dogs and wolves share 98.8 percent of their DNA. They are so closely related that they are capable of producing offspring together. However, those puppies are usually infertile. (This author does NOT condone the breeding of wolves and dogs. Just don’t do it!)
They have an acute sense of high frequency hearing.
The normal human range of hearing is below 20,000 Hertz. Dogs, on the other hand, can hear sounds up to 47,000 to 65,000 Hertz. They are also capable of hearing in the negative decibel range, an ability left over from their ancient hunting days. This allowed them to detect prey.
They see colors differently.
As stated in a previous article from Random Weirdos, dogs’ eyes only have two types of cones. Contrary to popular belief, they do not see in black and white, but they may not perceive certain colors the same way as a human and they have trouble distinguishing between some colors.
They have good reason for sniffing butts.
Dogs’ anal glands contain unique scents that allow other dogs to distinguish between each other. The butt also gives them important information, such as if another dog is aggressive or friendly, the health of the dog, and if the dog is open for breeding. They process a lot of stuff in those simple sniffs.
The oldest living dog record has just been broken.
For nearly a century, the record was held by an Australian cattle dog named Bluey, who lived to 29 years, 5 months. Recently, however, the record was broken by a Portuguese dog named Bobi, who, at the time of this writing, has lived 30 years and 8 months. Not only is Bobi the oldest dog that has ever lived, he is the oldest dog alive today. Congratulations, Bobi!
When I was a little kid, our family had a dog named Harry. Harry was a huge dog, who was part Belgian sheepdog and part mastiff, we think. He weighed about 180 pounds, which gave him quite a impressive stature. This gigantic dog loved children and used to lifeguard my sister and I in the wading pool. He liked to take himself down to the beach to swim on a daily basis, and the whole neighborhood knew and loved him. Harry died when I was four and I’ve never met a dog like him since. This article is dedicated to Harry and all the other dogs my family has had and will have in the future.
Smithsonian Magazine- www.smithsonianmag.com
Phoenix Veterinary Center- www.phoenixvetcenter.com
Life With Dogs- www.lifewithdogs.tv
Schertz Animal Hospital- www.schertzanimalhospital.com
American Kennel Club- www.akc.org
VCA Animal Hospitals- www.vcahospitals.com