20 Mind-Boggling Facts About Dogs

Written by Daniel Woodley. Published to Pet Corner at DIY Gardening on 4th February 2023.

Dog are everywhere and are frequently referred to as “man’s best friend”, but the truth is we know very little about what dogs are truly capable of, given the correct training.

Here are 20 mind-boggling facts about dogs and dog ownership:

Dog facts graphics

1) Dog Population As of 2021

There are an estimated 900million to 1billion dogs on earth and their population is still increasing.

Sources: Statista and Wikipedia.

2) Between 75% and 85% are Strays or Feral

The vast majority of dogs in the world are strays or feral, up to 85% in fact.

Western Europe and North America have the lowest number of strays, while in Eastern Europe, Hungary and Romania have well documented stray dog populations.

You’ll often see strays and feral dogs in Asia, South America, Russia, FSU countries and Africa.

Sources: World Atlas and ESDAW

3) USA

The United States of America has the largest dog population in the world with an estimated 90million dogs which is just ahead of China.

The number of dogs per 1000 people in the US is currently 274, which is just over 1 dog for every 4 Americans.

Unlike many other large countries, most of these dogs are kept as pets.

Sources: Quotation Check (2021) and The Atlantic (2012).

4) The Country With the Fastest-Growing Dog Population

India once had one of the lowest dog populations globally, but as of 2021, it now has the fastest-growing population of dogs.

Improved economic conditions, more disposable income and an acceptance of western traditions and attitudes to dogs are leading causes of this rise.

Source: Focusing Future

5) Average Litter Size

In the US, the average litter size after 8 days is 5.

Source: The Institute of Canine Biology

6) 12 – 14 Hours of Sleep

Dogs need more sleep than humans; in fact, the average dog requires up to 14 hours of sleep.

While dogs do reach a deep sleep known as REM (rapid eye movement), they also wake up far more often than humans do, usually to check their surroundings before falling back asleep.

This gradual in-and-out of REM sleep allows the dog to get the rest it needs while also allowing it to be alert enough to threats.

Source: PetCube

7) The Most Dog-Friendly Countries

Western Europe has some of the most dog-friendly countries in the world.

Americans are often surprised to see dogs in restaurants in the UK as this practice is illegal in all 50 states. In the UK, as in much of Europe, dogs aren’t allowed in food preparation and cooking areas but are allowed in eating areas if the restaurant owner permits it.

Some western countries allow leashed dogs onto public transport, into hotels, bars and holiday lets.

Source: Best Life Online

8) The Chinese Aren’t a Nation of Dog Eaters

The annual dog meat festival in south China often grabs headlines in many western countries and draws the ire of animal rights groups the world over, but the tradition isn’t reflective of Chinese dietary habits.

There is no evidence that dogs are farmed like cattle; in fact, most of the dogs seen at the festival are street dogs or stolen dogs.

It’s also nearly impossible to find dog meat on sale in shops and supermarkets, and only a few specialist restaurants serve it.

The Chinese government has also taken steps to end dog meat consumption in recent years due to the health risks.

Source: The Guardian and Wikipedia

9) Dog Walking is Big Business in the UK

In the UK, one in three surveyed admitted to using the services of a professional dog walker at least once per week.

Back in 2015, the Evening Standard reported that dog walkers can earn £10k ($14k) more than the national average wage.

In London, earnings are considerably higher.

Source: The Evening Standard and Country Living and Quotation Check

10) The World’s Oldest Dog

The world’s oldest dog, an Australian Cattle dog named Bluey lived to the ripe old age of 29.

Source: Wikipedia

11) Cancer Detection

A dog’s ability to smell illegal drugs is well known but in recent years, their skills have been put to use in the medical sector.

In a controlled study, trained sniffer dogs had a 98-99% success rate in detecting prostate cancer, which beat lab analysis of the same samples.

Source: The Scientist

12) Why Dogs Pant

Contrary to popular belief, dogs don’t pant to get more air into their lungs.

Dogs sweat through their paws, not their skin, so this heat rises to their neck, throat, and tongue when they get hot. Panting is a dog’s natural heat exchanger; in with cool air and out with hot air.

Source: PetMD

13) Fun Facts at the White House

Despite its name, the White House has a colourful past when it comes to pets.

President Roosevelt’s pet dog once chased a French Ambassador down a corridor at the white house and partially ripped his trousers off.

Fast forward to 2021, and President Biden’s dog has been terrorising White House staffers, biting two of them within a month.

Source: The Guardian and the Presidential Pet Museum

14) Space Travel

No, neither Captain Kirk nor Spock was the first.

Neither was it Armstrong.

It was, in fact, Laika.

An interesting fact; dogs travelled into space before humans did and the first was a Russian dog called Laika.

Source: Wikipedia

15) The Cold War Romance

During a thaw in relations between the US and the USSR during the cold war, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gifted a puppy to JFK.

The puppy, called Pushinka, was the daughter of Strelka, the first dog to go into space and return safely.

A cold war romance soon blossomed as Pushinka mated with Kennedy’s dog Charlie, resulting in 4 puppies.

Source: The Wikipedia and the Presidential Pet Museum

16) The Average Cost to Own a Dog

In many western countries, dogs are seen as one of the family and treated to good quality food, health insurance, clothing and all the love a human can give.

In 2021 a study revealed that the typical cost to own a dog for its entire life in the United States is $25,000.

Source: Quotation Check

17) Dogs Aren’t Colourblind

Dogs aren’t colourblind and can see a vast array of colours and shades.

While they don’t see colours in the same way as humans, they can tell the difference between some differently coloured balls, for example.  They can’t, however, see the difference between blue and purple.

Dogs see colours in a similar way to humans at dusk, with most of the colours muted and far less vivid and less vibrant.

They are also somewhat short-sighted, with objects at a distance appearing blurry or distorted.

Source: VCA Hospitals

18) Moscow Stray Dogs and the Metro

In Moscow, stray dogs have taught themselves to use the underground metro system to travel to more populated areas looking for food.

They remember stations by smell and sounds and often travel in pairs or small groups. It’s not unusual to see a dog taking a nap on a seat or two.

Source: YouTube

19) Bed Sharing

In one study, two-thirds of Brits polled admitted to sharing their bed with the pet dog.

In a separate study, half stated that they regularly share their bed with their pet dogs.

This is despite health concerns from bugs, worms and other parasites.

Source: The Independent and The Mirror

20) Most Popular Dog Names

Bella and Max have been the most popular western names for dogs for several years.

Source: Google

Meet The Author: Daniel Woodley

Daniel has over 18 years of experience in the construction, home improvement, and landscape garden industries. He previously worked as a project manager and evaluator.

Daniel is also the proud owner of the cutest labradoodle in the world.

Daniel hopes you found these insights helpful.

More About Daniel Woodley.

Daniel Woodley

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This list of 20 mind-boggling dog facts was published at DIY Gardening

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