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General Dog Fun Facts


Dogs pant a lot because they have no sweat glands on their body except at their paws.

More people are killed by dogs, than by bears and sharks combined.

A dog’s nose print helps investigators identify dogs. It works like a human finger print.

Over ½ of dog owners sign their dog’s name on greeting cards.

Despite their breed or size, all dogs have 42 teeth and 321 bones—all breeds.

A dog’s heart beats at 120 times/minute; that is 150% compared to the human heart which beats at 80 times/minute.

AKC has 161 breeds of dogs.

Chocolate and Dogs

chocolateWhy is chocolate poisonous to dogs? Cocoa beans contain theobromine—a stimulant that can affect the dog’s heart and its nervous system. It can cause dogs to have seizures, can make them sick, and can even kill them. If a dog is intoxicated from theobromine, the first symptom would be diarrhea and vomiting. A dog can be intoxicated from anything that has cocoa beans.

Origin and History of Dog Breeds


Beagles were used in the 16th century to catch rabbits during hunting games.


Boxers were bred in Germany in the 19th century from several breeds including English Bulldog. Boxers were bred for hunting, especially having the ability to chase deer, boars, and bison and hold them until hunters arrive. Later boxers were used for dog fighting.

Border Collies

Border Collies were bred between England and Scotland (thus getting their name as “border” between two countries) to be shepherds’ dogs. They have proven to be one of the best shepherds’ dogs because of their ability to work long hours and complete tasks on their own without the shepherd’s presence.


Bulldogs today are different from the original Bulldogs during the 16th century. The original Bulldogs were used in sports games to attack bulls. Today’s Bulldogs are much shorter and gentler!


Chihuahuas’ origin is uncertain, but what we know is that it came from Mexico and it is named after the state of Chihuahua, in Mexico.

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel was bred to be a hunting dog, and dates as back as the 14th century.


Collies were bred in England to be a shepherd’s dog.


Dachshunds were bred in Germany in the 17th century to fight badgers in badgers’ burrows. Their stretched out bodies can fit through the burrows.


Dalmatians were used as guard dogs during wars (gaining the title “dogs of war”). They were also used as fire-apparatus followers, following and coaching horse drawn fire engines (a job that gave them the firehouse mascot in the United States). Dalmatians also served as hunting dogs. There is no certain information about their origin, though some believe that they originated in Dalmatia, used to be a province of Austria, but is now in Croatia.


Doberman was bred in Germany in the 19th century by Louis Doberman. Mr. Doberman used several breeds including Greyhound and Rottweiler to develop the perfect guard dog.

German Shepherds

German Shepherds originated in Germany in 1899 to be a herding dog. Later they became a popular police dogs because of their strength and intelligence.

Golden retriever

Golden retriever was bred in Scotland for hunting.

Great Danes

Great Danes might have originated in Rome, Greece, England, Denmark, or Germany—nothing is certain.


Greyhounds might have originated 100s or even 1,000s of years BC. A sculpture in an Egyptian tomb dating to 4,000 BC showed a Greyhound dog. There are also records of Greyhounds used by the Celts as hunting dogs about 500 BC. Today they are race dogs that can run at a speed of about 40 mph.

Labrador retriever

Labrador retriever was bred in Newfoundland and Labrador (a Canadian province) to aid fishermen in pulling their nets.


Poodles most likely originated in France, but they may have originated in Germany or Russia. The word “poodle” or “pudle” is a German word meaning puddle. The name was given since the Poodle was bred to be a water dog helping hunters.


Rottweiler, named after a southwest German town Rottweil, was used for herding and also for a war dog. Roman soldiers also used the breed to herd their cattle. The breed almost became extict, until it was revived in the 20th century. Rottweilers were used during both World Wars as war guard dogs.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu, a Chinese bred dog, has existed for one thousand years and was a famous pet for the Ming Dynasty.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier, named after the English city Yorkshire, was bred in the 19th century to hunt and kill rats in factories.

Top Ten Dog Breeds in US

AKC Records in 2007 & 2002

Breed: 2007 2002
Labrador Retrievers 11
Yorkshire Terriers 26
German Shepherd 33
Golden Retrievers 42
Beagles 54
Boxers 67
Dachshunds 75
Poodles 88
Shih Tzu 910
Bulldogs 1018
Chihuahuas 129

Chihuahuas were # 9 in 2002; they did not make in top 10 in 2007).

Dog Records

The tallest dog breed is the Irish Wolfhound—its height is 33-36 inches. Even though a Great Dane holds the record for the tallest individual dog, it is not the tallest breed—generally about 32 inches.

The St. Bernard is the heaviest dog breed, weighing up to 240 lb (110 kg). Its height is 27-35 inches.

The world's smallest dog breed is the Chihuahua.

The smallest mature dog on record was owned by Arthur Marples from Blackburn, England. The dog was a Yorkshire Terrier that was 2.5 inches high at its shoulder and weighed 4 ounces. It died in 1945 before the age of 2.

The heaviest dog on record weighed 343 lbs. Zobra, an English Mastiff, was not only the heaviest, but the longest dog on record, measuring 8 feet 3 inches. Though there are reports that Benedictine, a St. Bernard, weighed 357 lbs. Many websites still erroneously state that the heaviest dog ever weighed is 319 lbs.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the heaviest dog alive today is an English Mastiff named Hercules, from Massachusetts; it weighs 282 lbs.

The tallest dog on record was a Great Dane named Gibson from California. It measured 42.2 inches (107 cm) at the shoulder. (Guinness Book of Records, 2004)

The oldest dog on record, an Australian cattle (a Queensland Heeler) named Bluey, was 29 years, 5 months old when it died in 1939.

Laika, a female dog, was the first living creature to be launched into space. The former USSR launched her on the spacecraft Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957. Laika died a few hours after takeoff. This experiment was followed later by the US, using chimpanzees instead of dogs.

A photo of a shepherd dog doing its job!

shepherd dog with sheep