Because dogs are many people’s best friends, you’d think we would know everything there is to know about them. Although these amazing companions still hide many of their secrets up their furry sleeves, veterinary professionals are discovering more about the species every day. We never tire of learning about dogs—such as a certain breed’s unique trait or all dogs’ incredible mental and physical capabilities. Check out our Central Houston Animal Hospital team’s guide to dogs’ most interesting details.  

Did you know… the Labrador retriever has been one of the most popular breeds for decades? 

On the American Kennel Club’s (AKC’s) top 10 most popular breeds list for 30 consecutive years, the Labrador retriever has held this spot longer than any other dog breed. In 2021, the other most popular breeds rounding out the AKC’s top five were the French bulldog, golden retriever, German shepherd dog, and poodle. Other popular breeds include the English bulldog, beagle, rottweiler, German shorthaired pointer, and dachshund.

Did you know… a dog’s nose has as many as 300 million receptors? 

Your nose only has about 5 million receptors—exponentially fewer than your dog’s incredible 300 million nose receptors. A dog’s nose can also sense heat and thermal radiation, making them excellent search-and-rescue animals. In addition, a Bloodhound’s nose is so powerful, their tracking skills can hold up as evidence in court.

Did you know… dogs kick after going to the bathroom to mark their territory?

After your dog does their business in the yard, you may see them kicking up the turf. This behavior is not like a cat’s attempt to cover their feces, nor is your dog wiping their paws clean. Your dog is leaving behind scent markers for other dogs to detect. 

Did you know… dogs have about 1,700 taste buds?

While your dog has more scent receptors, you have more—anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000—taste buds than your dog’s 1,700. Taste is one of the earlier senses that puppies develop, even before hearing and vision. However, as dogs age, their taste buds decrease, along with their sense of smell. This combination can make older dogs become picky eaters.

Did you know… greyhounds can beat cheetahs in a race?

Although cheetahs are the fastest land animal, clocking in at top speeds of 70 miles per hour, they can only maintain that speed for about 30 seconds. A greyhound, on the other hand, can maintain a speed of 35 miles per hour for 7 miles, meaning they can soon overtake and outpace a cheetah.

Did you know… dogs can sense Earth’s magnetic field?

This unique geographic orientation trait—along with their impressive sense of smell—enables lost dogs to find their way home. In addition, researchers are continuing to try to determine why dogs align themselves along the north-south axis of Earth’s magnetic field when they poop. 

Did you know… dogs have three eyelids?

While humans have two eyelids, dogs, cats, and many other animals have a third. You normally won’t see this eyelid—which protects the eye and spreads the tear film—unless your dog is relaxed or ill. However, some dogs develop cherry eye, a condition in which the third eyelid prolapses and looks like a small red mass (i.e., a cherry) in the eye’s corner.

Did you know… about the many outlandish dog laws?

In Paulding, Ohio, a police officer can legally bite a crazed barking dog to calm them down. In Chicago, giving your dog whiskey is illegal, but giving them any other alcoholic beverage—which we do not recommend—is OK. Oklahoma residents can be fined for making ugly faces at dogs, but not for making these faces at other people. Dog owners in Galesburg, Illinois, need to stay on top of bathing their dogs because keeping a smelly dog is illegal. 

Did you know… dogs are not entirely colorblind?

Dogs do not see in only black and white. Although they cannot see as wide a color spectrum as humans, dogs can perceive yellows and blues. 

Did you know… dogs dream?

Dogs experience a rapid eye movement (REM) sleep cycle much like people, often dreaming during that time. Small breeds generally dream more than large breeds, and puppies and senior dogs have more dreams than adult dogs.

Your canine companion is a truly amazing animal, and we want to help ensure your pet remains by your side for years to come. Contact our Central Houston Animal Hospital team to schedule your dog’s wellness visit.