Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason — they’re incredibly interesting, both in history and biology. Here are the 10 most interesting facts about our furry friends that you may not have known before:
1. Dogs Have Super Smelling Abilities
Most dogs have around 125 million to 300 million scent receptors. Humans, by comparison, have only 5 million. Furthermore, the area of a dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than in humans.
Labrador retrievers and German shepherds are currently the two most popular breeds worldwide. They both have been favorites for several decades, and it’s unclear which one is “winning” in that competition.
3. Wolves and Dogs Share 99.8 Percent of their DNA
Though it might feel like they’re worlds apart, wolves and canines actually share 99.8 percent of their DNA, suggesting that they’re more closely related than you’d think.
4. Some Dogs Are Able to Predict Earthquakes
The Chinese have long believed dogs to be great predictors of earthquakes. Though western scientists take this with a grain of salt, some research in China has found that dogs do behave strangely prior to an earthquake — sometimes barking and acting fearful long before the ground begins to shake.
5. They Feed Off Human Emotions
Thanks to their remarkable sense of smell, dogs are able to detect tiny changes in their human’s breath and hormonal balance that lets them understand emotions like fear, happiness, or anger. This is why dogs are often so great at calming us down — their presence alone could be enough to reduce stress.
6. Dogs Can Also Sense a Storm Coming
Our canine friends are so sensitive to atmospheric changes that they can sometimes detect a storm even before it arrives. Do you ever notice that your pup gets extra anxious during a thunderstorm? That’s because they can detect barometric pressure changes, a drop in humidity, and other signs of an incoming storm.
7. Their Eyes and Ears are Symmetrical
Have you ever noticed that your pup’s eyes and ears look the same on both sides of their head? That’s because dogs’ facial features are highly symmetrical — something that’s pretty rare in nature.
8. Dogs Make Great Cancer Detectors
Thanks to their amazing sense of smell, some dogs have been found to be incredibly accurate in detecting cancer. Studies show that with proper training, dogs are able to pick up on the presence of cancer by smelling a person’s urine or breath.
9. They Dream Like Humans Do
Though the content of the dreams might vary from human to human, dogs go through a similar dreaming process, sometimes even twitching or running while they sleep. They have even been seen to smile while dreaming — just like us!
10. Dogs Can Improve Your Mental Health
Simply having a buddy around can actually do wonders for your mental health. When looked after, dogs offer endless amounts of love, comfort, and companionship, helping to ease stress and increase self-esteem.
These were just a few of the amazing facts about one of man’s best friends. Did any of them surprise you?