Year of the Dog: 10 fun facts you never knew about your pooch

We know that dogs like to snooze, chase their tails and sniff things they shouldn't, but what about the cool facts we never knew about our pooch?

With all the colour and fun of Chinese New Year just around the corner, we’ve been turning our mind not only to where to buy the prettiest cheongsams and lining up CNY events for the kiddos, but also thinking about the Chinese Zodiac sign the coming year is all about. Yep: man’s best friend – the dog. We know where to pat them at a pet cafe, and we also know where to take our dogs for a family day out, but how much do we really know about our furry companions? We’ve sniffed out the 10 fun facts you never knew about Fido in honour of the Year of the Dog…

1. If you have a labrador, then you’re certainly not alone. They’re the most popular breed in the world, followed hot on their heels by German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Bulldogs and Beagles. And the least popular? We’re surprised to find the poor old American Foxhound languishing at the bottom of the list: mind-beagling (see what we did there?).

2. We think that our toddlers are smart cookies (especially when it comes to stealing actual cookies), but did you know that the average pooch has the same level of intelligence as a two-year old? With perhaps the exception of Afghan Hounds and Basenjis, who are thought to be the doggy dunces of the canine world…

3. You don’t need a nifty app for the weather if you have a hound in the house: dogs can literally smell a storm on the way! So if your furry-friend starts acting odd, then chances are you need to pop a brolly in your bag before heading out.

4. There’s a reason your four-legged companion is waiting at the door for you when you get home: their hearing is four times better than us humans. Your pup heard you coming way before you got there.

5. Puppies are born blind, deaf and toothless – they can’t see or hear a thing until they are around three weeks old! The gnashers come in at around six weeks – and then fall out all over your house from around four months while their adult teeth start growing. 

6. We have fingerprints, pooches have nose prints. Every dog’s nose print is completely unique and can be used to prove identity – hands up who wants to volunteer to stick their dog’s face into an ink well to nab a print though? That would be getting out of hound… (Sorry!).

7. Dogs are the most popular kind of pet in the world. These loveable rogues are in over 44% of US homes alone! On the flip side of responsible pet ownership, there are estimated to be around 200 million stray dogs globally. Adopt, don’t shop, people! And if you absolutely HAVE to buy a pup, do your research and please avoid pet farms and shops. Chances are that cute pup in the window of your local puppy supplier came from a puppy mill, where its mum will have been bred over and over in a small cage. Once the demand stops, the misery will hopefully stop too. 

8. Dogs have a super sense of smell – 10,000 to 100,000 (depending on the breed) more refined than our own! And while you might think the Bloodhound would have the keenest nose of all, it’s actually the Coonhound followed by the English Springer Spaniel who are best at sniffing out the goodies.

9. If you want to own a dog in Singapore, you need to register your pooch with the AVA and get the appropriate license. Not all dogs are welcome though: American Pit Bull Terriers, Akitas and Neapolitan Mastiffs are among the banned breeds here. There are also restrictions on the size of the dog you can own, depending on what kind of home you live in. The most popular breed of dog on our fair isle is none other than a small lion dog: the shih tzu (we have one: she rocks).

10. Got a small human pup due during the Year of the Dog? According to the Chinese Zodiac, you can expect a bubba who is straightforward, modest, friendly, loyal, diligent, ambitious and loving. On the flip side they could also be stubborn, emotional, suspicious and argumentative! Sounds like most kids – and dogs – we know anyway!

Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:

Visit a farm in Singapore
Volunteering opps for kids
Small pets for small people
Guide to owning your first pet