14 Surprising Dog Facts You Might Not Know

Celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month with these cool dog facts.
By The Bark, September 2019, Updated October 2019
dog playing on floor

Image by Stano Design

From fastest dog to poop alignment, we never get tired of learning new facts about dogs so check out these 14 surprising dog facts that you might not know.

1. Breeds: The most popular dog today in America is a mixed-breed dog with 38 million mixed breed pet dogs in homes in the U.S.

2. Big to Small: the tallest dog on record is a Great Dane who stood 44 inches tall with the shortest being a Chihuahua measuring just 3.8 inches in height.

3. Smarter Than Cats: Dogs have about twice the number of neurons in their cerebral cortexes than what cats have, which suggests dogs could be about twice as intelligent as cats.

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4. The Origin of The Dog Days of Summer: Considered to be the hot, lethargic days of late July and early August. Ancient Greek and Roman astrology observed this period to coincide with the appearance of the star system Sirius—the Dog Star.

5. Fastest Dog: The cheetah, the world’s fastest land animal and a large cat of the subfamily Felinae, can race up to 75 mph for short bursts. The Greyhound is the fastest canid, with a peak speed of about 43 mph.

6. Sniffari: Celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month by taking a dog at a your local animal shelter for a good walk, allowing for lots of smell and sniffing stops.

7. Dog Years: A myth of uncertain origin —one dog year equals seven human years. Often repeated but not true. Too many factors figure into canine aging including size, breed to adhere to one simple formula.

8. Kids & Dogs: Children who live with dogs tend to have fewer allergies and childhood illnesses due to early exposure to a greater number of microbes helping to strengthen immune systems.

9. Evolution: Some say that dogs civilized mankind, helping early man to hunt, which allowed for an agrarian way of life in which dogs helped herd and provided protection from predators, allowing for civilization to evolve.

10. Happiness: More than two thirds of Americans would rather be stranded on a desert island with their pet than with their partner.

11. Money: Americans spend more than $33 billion annually on pet food and treats. That’s compared to $27.5 for craft beer, $8.5 for ready-to eat breakfast cereal, $5.5 billion on ice cream.

12. Commuinication: Dogs do communicate to each other when they vocalize, bark or growl. A more common means of communication between dogs is body language—an upright or tucked tail, forward ears or tense body can speak volumes.

13. Scoop on Poop: When your dog is carefully choosing the perfect place to do his business, it is because they prefer to go poop in alignment with the Earth’s magnetic field.

14. Co-Pilots: The Bark magazine began in 1997 as a way to organize an off-leash dog park in Berkeley, CA and entered the pop culture lexicon with its infamous motto — Dog is my co-pilot — seen on bumperstickers across the nation! Celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and get yours today.