How Much Do You Really Know About Dogs?

By: Zoe Samuel
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Who doesn't love dogs? From big-eyed puppies with their squishy tummies and all that extra fur they haven't grown into and their soft little paws, to lumbering old dogs with their salt-and-pepper muzzle hair and their rheumy eyes and their tragically hilarious gait, to the healthy bounders in between, dogs are just marvelous. They devote their sadly all-too-short lives to loving us, protecting us, entertaining us, reassuring us and covering absolutely everything we own with hair.

In return, the least we can do is make sure that we really know what we're talking about when it comes to our canine companions. Obviously the most important thing is to know how to care for your dog on a day-to-day basis, from food to grooming to discipline to exercise. It's very important for the health and happiness of a dog that its owner takes the trouble to truly understand what makes their dog tick, to set good boundaries, and to know how to spot red flags that indicate that something is wrong.

However, it's also useful to know about dogs generally: how they became man's best friend, how their bodies work, perhaps something about their history. That way we can truly say we've taken the time to get to know our very best friend. Let's see how well you know yours!

What is the smallest breed of dog, on average?

The Chihuahua is a tiny but spunky little dog, weighing in at a microscopic 4 to 6 pounds when fully grown.

What are the hairs along the dog's spine that have a "piloerection" function?

Hackles are special hairs that go vertical when the dog is angry or upset, or sometimes just because the dog is overstimulated. They make the dog look bigger to scare its enemies.

What is the metacarpal pad?

The metacarpal pad is the one at the dog's wrist. It gives the dog more grip.

What is the collective noun for dogs?

Of course you know this one! Dogs come in packs. They are pack animals. They pack a lot of cuteness!

Which dog breed is typically found to be the smartest?

Obviously dogs are individuals and they vary accordingly, but the collie is typically the smartest on average.

How many pads does a dog's paw have?

A dog has five pads, sort of like fingers. The metacarpal pad is not part of the paw.

Other than conveying mood, what is a dog's tail for?

Tails are common in four-legged animals as they help them balance.

What is ear cropping?

Ear cropping is occasionally medically necessary but is generally considered to be cruel otherwise.

How many canine teeth do dogs have?

Dogs have pointed incisors that look similar to canines, but they aren't. They have the same number of canines that we do.

Can dogs eat vegetables?

Dogs are omnivorous in some ways. They also sometimes eat a little grass to get roughage or fiber into their system.

Can dogs sweat?

Dogs' paws can sweat. Otherwise though, dogs lose heat through panting.

How much pressure can a dog's mouth exert, on average?

Kangals have the strongest bite, at 743 pounds per square inch. This would happily go right through the human arm.

How many words can a dog learn?

Dogs may only know a dozen commands but they understand more words than you know. Scientists have put dogs in MRI machines (unrestrained so they can leave if they want to) and they understand more than we realized.

Which is the fastest breed?

Greyhounds can run 44mph! In short bursts they can go even faster than this.

What is the biggest litter of puppies ever born?

Neopolitan mastiff Tia gave birth to 24 puppies in 2004. That's a lot of cuteness!

What is the average life expectancy of a Great Dane?

Larger breeds sadly tend not to live as long, so Great Danes often only live 8 to 10 years.

Roughly how many dogs are there in the world?

There are 400 million dogs! That's more than one for every American (if only every American could have one!).

What is the name of the oldest breed that emerged in Egypt in 329 BC?

The Saluki is the oldest distinctive dog breed, at 1700 years. Since then there have been dozens more.

When were dogs domesticated?

They were domesticated more than once, which makes sense, since you can't imagine primitive humans only noticing once how great wolves were.

What is the heaviest breed?

A fully grown Mastiff grows to about 200lbs. The Great Dane is taller but not as heavyset.

What chemical known as the "happy hormone" is released by the dog's brain when you cuddle a dog?

You get oxytocin and so does your dog! It's a win for everyone.

What percentage of American households own a dog?

One can only assume the other 67% don't have any outdoor space.

Most presidents own and love dogs. Before the current president, who does not have a dog, how far back do you have to go to find a president who does not have a dog?

Obviously there's no good reason to not have a dog when you have plenty of domestic help and outdoor space. That's why nearly all presidents have one.

Which breed has the rather surprising record of being the one that is most likely to bite?

You might not notice because it's so small, but a Dachshund is actually the most likely dog to bite its owner!

How many teeth do puppies have?

Adults have 42, so no wonder they have teething trouble on the way!

Can dogs see color?

Dogs can see color but their reds are muted. You can check out videos online to see what the world might look like through a dog's eyes.

What is special about breeds such as the Golden Doodle or Portuguese Water Dog?

Due to daughter Malia Obama's allergies, the Obamas were not able to have just any breed at the White House. They chose a Portugese water dog, which is a lovely and playful dog.

What classification enables service dogs to go everywhere in the USA?

It's kind of understating how valuable service dogs are, but legally speaking, they're necessary medical equipment.

The Newfoundland has a black tongue. What is special about its paws?

These dogs were bred to help fishermen and they have webbed feet to assist them with swimming.

How many eyelids do dogs have on each eye?

They have two regular eyelids and a special moisturizing membrane that can retract.

Which dog breed is the only one which does not bark?

Basenji do not bark. However they make an unbelievably funny yodeling sound. If you value a giggle, check it out!

Why do dogs go round and round before they lie down?

No snake is going to just sit there with a dog going round and round, after all.

There were 12 dogs on the Titanic. How many survived?

One can assume that they were in first class. That, or they were so darn cute that the first class passengers couldn't resist taking them.

What temperature is a healthy dog?

Dogs run a little warmer than us. Our enzymes wouldn't like being inside their bodies, that is for sure.

The USA has the highest population of dogs, at 75.8m. Which country is second?

35.7m dogs live in Brazil and 27.4m live in China, which is third - but Americans have the most!

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