Dog Facts

  • The first dog in space was Laika, who was launched onboard the Sputnik 2, a Soviet satellite, in 1957.
  • Dogs and humans are the only animals with prostate glands.
  • Ancient Chinese royalty carried Pekingese dogs in the sleeves of their royal robes.
  • Dogs only sweat from the bottoms of their feet and the only way they can expel heat is by panting.
  • Contrary to popular belief dogs are not colour blind. They can see colours – just not as vividly as humans can.
  • Dalmatian puppies are pure white when they’re born.
  • The oldest American breed of dog is the American Foxhound, which dates back to 1650.
  • Great Pyrenees dogs are extremely sensitive to anaesthesia, so much so that it can kill them.
  • Chow Chows have blue-black tongues and gums unlike all other breeds of dogs, which are pink.
  • Just about one-in-three families in France and the United States have a dog for a pet.
  • Dalmatian puppies are pure white when they’re born.
  • The Basenji breed of dogs doesn’t bark. It can make a strange warbling yodel-like noise though.
  • Newfoundland dogs have a water-resistant coat and webbed feet, which make them strong, agile swimmers.
  • Conversely the bulldog cannot swim because of its body makeup.
  • Norway was ruled by a dog, called Saur (or Suening), for three years in the 12th century.
  • The Guinness World Record holding dog with the largest repertoire of tricks is Chanda-Leah. The champagne-coloured toy poodle can perform 469 tricks, including playing the piano and untying the knot in a shoelace.
  • Dogs can hear sounds at frequencies of between 16 Hz to 100  Hz: humans can only manage between 20 Hz and 20 000 Hz.
  • The most popular dog names in the United States are Max and Molly.
  • In Greek mythology the gates to Hades – the underworld – were guarded by Cerberus, a three-headed dog.
  • In July 1931 the Japanese government designated the Akita breed of dogs as a national monument.
  • Dogs do not have an appendix.
  • Bichons have been known to live for between 14 and 16 years, with some even reaching 18 years.
  • Davy Crockett’s dog was named Sport.
  • Theobromine, an ingredient in chocolate, is fatal to dogs if consumed in large amounts. Just 146 g of cooking chocolate can kill a 22 kg dog.
  • Twelve University of Sydney veterinary science students set a record bathing dogs when they scrubbed 848 dogs in just eight hours.
  • Pharaoh Hounds are the only dogs that blush: their ears, nose, and eyes become pink when they are happy or excited.
  • Augie, a golden retriever, holds the Guinness World Record for the most tennis balls in a dog’s mouth. This dog can gather and hold five tennis balls in its mouth.

Some Dog Breeds

Beagle: These dogs are merry and fun-loving, but being hounds, they can also be stubborn and require patient, creative training techniques. Their noses guide them through life, and they’re never happier than when following an interesting scent. Beagles originally were bred as scenthounds to track small game, mostly rabbits and hares.
Bergamasco: a herding dog that originates from the Italian Alps. Characteristic of the breed is its soft felt-like matted fur. It has good equilibrium, an excellent trait for herding sheep in the mountains.
Berger Picard: is from France and is named after the Picardie region. It is a rare breed after World War I and World War II almost made the breed extinct. It was originally bred as a herding dog.
Bloodhound: also known as the St. Hubert Hound, it originated in the Belgium/French region. The name “Bloodhound” does not refer to the fact that it is an excellent tracker, but actually comes from careful breeding in the middle ages, resulting in it being known by the 14th century as the “blooded hound” or Bloodhound: hound of noble lineage.
Boerboel: originating in South Africa, the name means “farmer’s dog” in Afrikaans. They were bred to be multipurpose, including herding and being guard dogs, protecting the original pioneers of the region with their strong and agile build.
Borzoi: a sighthound breed (dogs that hunt mainly using sight over smell). It was first bred in Russia for course racing, where they would chase a target for sport. This impulse is still quite strong in Borzoi, instinctively chasing things that run away from it. They are very sensitive dogs and bark rarely, if at all.
Bulldog: originally bred in England to bait and fight bulls and bears. These aggressive tendencies that were essential during their initial fighting days were bred out when bullbaiting became illegal in England and they are quite friendly today. Because of their large heads, bulldog puppies are typically delivered by Caesarean section.
Canaan Dog: a Middle Eastern breed of Israeli descent, they are very independent dogs. Alert and wary of strangers, they make good watchdogs. Guarded the camps and flocks of the ancient Israelites.
Caucasian Ovcharka: originating in Eastern Europe, this big powerful breed was bred for protecting the flocks of shepherds. It has a very complicated history, due in part to its possible Russian background (ovcharka in Russian means “sheepdog”) and its region of origin: the Caucasus mountain range area.
Chinook: developed in the 20th century in the United States as a sled dog it is a rare breed with only about 800 animals in the world and just 100 puppies born a year. It is a calm breed, not given to fighting, and is excellent with children.
Dachshunds: bred to fight badgers in their dens and the name, in German, means “badger dog”. Because of its elongated body and exceptionally long spinal column, the breed is predisposed to spinal problems. It is the 5th most popular dog breed in the United States.
Doberman: a highly recognisable breed of dog that was first bred in Germany and is often used as a watchdog because of its powerful muscular body and loyalty. It is misrepresented as aggressive and vicious in popular media and is actually quite gentle, with its owners.
Dunker: originally bred in Norway in the 19th century. Also called the Norwegian Hound, its name comes from the man who first bred it: Wilhelm Dunker. It is a scenthound, a dog that hunts mainly using the scent of its prey.
Golden Retriever: a popular and friendly family dog that originates in Scotland. It is a fairly modern breed, and has only been around since the 19th century. The breed is prone to diseases because of indiscriminate breeding.
Mudi: originating from Hungary it is a herding dog, but is also quite capable of hunting. It is a rare breed.
Otterhound: as the name suggests it was first bred in the UK for hunting otters. It has a distinguishing bass voice and is highly energetic, and is a good match for active owners.
Papillon: the French word for “butterfly” and refers to the breed’s identifying large ears. It is a surprisingly resilient breed and quite agile and athletic despite its small stature.
Pekingese: these dogs originate from China where they are revered for their resemblance to Chinese lions. They are bowlegged, which discourages wandering. This was bred into the dog because it was originally meant to be kept by the ladies of the Chinese Emperor’s court.
Rhodesian Ridgeback: really does have a ridge of hair along its back that is formed by hair growing in the opposite direction of the rest of its coat. Rough handling will not be appreciated by this strong-willed, very intelligent dog, which was originally bred to assist in hunts in Southern Africa of lions and other large game.
Rottweiler: an intelligent breed that learns fast. It is quite powerful and without proper training and an experienced dog owner can be aggressive. Originates from Germany and its history is traceable back to the days of the Roman Empire.
Saluki: also known as the Royal Dog of Egypt it is one of the oldest breeds of dogs with depictions of Saluki appearing on Egyptian tombs of 2100 B.C. It is a hunting dog that hunts by sight and it is capable of leaping over 3-foot fences.
Scottish Terrier: typically dark grey to black in colour, the Scottish Terrier was first bred in the 1700s in Scotland and was originally called the Aberdeen Terrier. They were bred to hunt badgers and are thus very fast with a muscular body.
Whippet: a medium-sized quiet and gentle indoor dog. They are loyal to their owners and are good with children. Originally bred to hunt by sight, they are amazing running dogs and are very active and agile. The whippet has a large slow beating heart that can often be arhythmic or intermittent when the dog is at rest.
Yorkshire Terrier: Small in size but big in personality, the Yorkshire Terrier makes a feisty but loving companion. The “Yorkie” has won many fans with their devotion to their owners and their elegant looks. Yorkies can make for great pets, but they have a tendency to be yappy, which neighbors may not appreciate. They’ll need a bit of maintenance too, especially when it comes to dental care. If you can provide lots of love, attention, care, and playtime, you’ll have a loving, adorable companion who’ll stick to you like your shadow.

Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetes Mellitus can affect both dogs and humans. It is a debilitating disease if left untreated and managing it can be a challenge. When dogs that have this disease are treated correctly and a treatment routine is set up, the dogs can live almost normal healthy lives.

Diabetes Mellitus Type I is the form of diabetes in which none or too little insulin is released by the pancreas, or more specifically the beta cells in the pancreas that secrete insulin. Because insulin acts as a carrier for glucose, an insulin deficiency makes it impossible for glucose to be used as energy by the cells of the body.

Subsequently, glucose builds up in the blood, and as glucose levels rise it is passed out in the dog’s urine. This becomes an endless cycle of excessive water drinking by the animal and more frequent urinating.

Diabetes Mellitus Type II is the form of diabetes where the body builds up a resistance to the effects of insulin and/or the beta cells are functioning abnormally. This type of diabetes is prevalent, especially in obese dogs and humans.

Symptoms will generally present over a few weeks and they may escape notice for a while. The first obvious symptoms are a sudden weight loss or gain, accompanied by excessive drinking and urination. Appetite is suddenly either ravenous (up to 3 times normal) or absent. The next symptom is vision problems and cataracts.

Owners should watch for noticeable thinning of the skin and apparent fragility: these are also serious and indicate that the animal is consuming all its body fat. Dehydration is also common by this point and death can follow quickly.

By watching for the signs of the disease the dog can be brought to a vet for easy tests that detect extra glucose in the blood as well as in the urine early on to prevent any permanent damage. If left untreated though, or uncaught, the dog will die.

Treatment of the disease can involve putting the dog on a high-fiber diet as well as injections of insulin, depending on the type of diabetes.

If diabetes is suspected in a beloved pet it is always important to take the animal to the vet to be diagnosed as soon as possible.