Puppies have stolen the hearts of many for as long as they have existed. It has even been proven that our stone age ancestors loved their puppies and took good care of them.
But there are things most people don’t know about these furry little beings. There are many fun and exciting facts about animals, but puppies have some unique details. Let’s go ahead and find out some facts about puppies most people don’t know.
33 Facts about Puppies
Check out these incredible facts about puppies that you might not have known before.
1. Puppies Can Be Born With Green Fur
Puppies can be born green, but luckily it doesn’t last long. Light-colored puppies can have their fur dyed after coming in contact with biliverdin in the womb.
Biliverdin is a pigment found in bile and is the cause of your puppy’s green fur. After some time in the outside world, the color will fade away.
2. Puppies Are Blind And Deaf At Birth Due To Evolution
Pregnancy can impair a carnivore’s ability to hunt and chase prey. This caused the gestation period to become shorter over time so that they wouldn’t take long breaks from hunting.
However, because the embryos only stay in the womb for a short time, puppies don’t have time to develop fully. Thus they are born underdeveloped and continue growing outside the womb.
3. There’s Science Behind Our Reactions To Puppies
It’s called the baby schema effect. The theory suggests that our brains start releasing dopamine and oxytocin when we look at puppies.
It also triggers a sort of protective instinct in us. Seeing their big eyes, soft coats, and heads larger than their bodies make us want to care for and protect them as we would a human baby.
4. Puppies Lose Their First Set Of Teeth
When they are born, puppies have no teeth. At around three weeks of age, they will start teething. By six weeks, they should have all of their baby teeth.
At about two or three months, they will begin losing their baby teeth, and their adult teeth will come in.
5. They’re Considered Adults At A Year Old
Dogs are considered adults at one year old. However, maturity depends on the breed. Large breeds like German Shepherds can take up to two years to reach their full size and maturity. Meanwhile, smaller breeds like Pomeranians can take around nine or ten months.
6. The Word “Puppy” Has French Origins
It derives from the French word “poupeé”, which means toy or doll. The word came into use around the 1500s. Before that, the German word “whelps” was used to describe them.
Fun Fact: The first official reference to the term “puppy” was in William Shakespeare’s “King John.”
7. All Puppies Are Born With Blue Eyes
When puppies are born, they don’t have much melanin in their eyes. Melanin is what creates the color in the eyes, and a lack of melanin usually results in blue eyes while a lot results in brown eyes.
Over time, melanin will develop, and you’ll see their eye color. However, some puppies will retain their blue eyes all their lives, just like humans.
8. Big Paws Can Equal A Big Dog
The general rule is that a puppy with big paws will grow into a big dog.
The science behind it is that if a puppy’s paws are too big compared to their body, they still have some growth left. If their paws are proportionate to their body, they will unlikely grow more.
It’s not a reliable method of knowing your puppy’s size, but it is fun to look at their toe beans and say, “look how big these are.”
9. The Largest Litter Recorded Was 24 Puppies
The Guinness World Record for the largest litter was awarded to a Neapolitan Mastiff named Tia on 29 November 2004 in Cambridgeshire, UK.
10. Some Dog Breeds Are Delivered By Caesarian Section
Dogs with bigger heads than their bodies usually have difficulty delivering naturally, increasing the caesarian section rate. This is traditionally found in purebred dogs.
The most common breeds that need intervention in births include St. Bernard, Pekingese, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, and Scottish Terrier.
11. Puppies Can Be Identical Twins
There is no way of determining how common identical twins in puppies are, as most dogs give birth naturally.
However, in 2016, a South African veterinarian, Kurt de Cramer, was performing a caesarian section on an Irish Wolfhound and noticed something strange. Most puppies have their own placenta, but in this case, two were sharing one placenta.
After some genetic testing, it was determined these two puppies were genetically identical. So far, this is the only confirmed case of identical twins in puppies.
12. There is an Estimated 1.2 Million Puppies Born Worldwide Every Day
There are approximately 1.2 million puppies born every day compared to 360,000 babies. That’s three times more than human babies!
13. Some Breeds Have Bigger Litters
Typically, larger breeds will have larger litters, with a bigger womb and more space. On average, larger breeds will have around seven puppies, while smaller breeds will have around three.
14. You Can Train Your Puppy Immediately
When you bring a puppy home, they are usually eight weeks old. They can start learning basic commands at this age, such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’. They can also begin leash training.
Because puppies have a super short attention span, if you start training them at this age, keep it in short bursts and give them a lot of positive reinforcement.
15. They Develop Touch First
As mentioned before, puppies are born without some of their senses. The first sense they develop is touch.
Their moms will lick and nuzzle them from birth, stimulating their sense of touch. Touch is vital for them to find warmth and nourishment and creates a bond between them and their mom.
16. Puppies Don’t Find Yawns Contagious
Contagious yawning is theorized to be a sign of empathy, and just like with human babies, puppies will eventually learn to mimic the people around them.
A study showed that puppies under seven months would not yawn when they see someone yawn. However, they will be affected by contagious yawning when they get older.
17. Puppies Learn Life Lessons from Their Moms
Puppies learn a lot from their moms. Dams usually snap or growl at their puppies to tell them to behave or that their behavior is unacceptable. This discipline they receive from their moms helps train them later in life.
18. Puppies Learn Skills From Littermates
Puppies also learn a lot from their littermates and other dogs. Social skills are essential for a dog to learn, and interacting with their littermates usually helps them improve their social skills.
19. Dalmatian Puppies Have No Spots When They’re Born
Dalmatians are one of the most unmistakable dog breeds, all down to their gorgeous spotted coats. However, their puppies are born without spots.
When they’re born, they have a completely white coat, but the spots are under the coat and will start showing up around a week later.
20. Puppies Have Been Successfully Cloned
Nine years after Dolly the sheep became the first successful mammal clone, scientists in South Korea used a similar process to clone a dog.
The Afghan Hound, Snuppy, became the world’s first canine clone. And even though Snuppy passed away at the age of ten in 2015, they were able to clone four more puppies using his stem cells in 2017.
21. Keith Richards Smuggled A Puppy Through British Customs
While on tour in the USA in 1964, a fan gave Keith Richards a collie puppy. Rather than subject this puppy, named Ratbag, to quarantine, he smuggled him in under his coat.
Keith Richards is a huge dog lover, and Ratbag became Keith’s most beloved companion for years.
22. There’s A Seventeen-ton Puppy Sculpture in Bilbao, Spain
The Guggenheim Bilbao Museum is the home of a sculpture called “Puppy”, created by Jeff Koons and modeled after a West Highland Terrier. This seventeen-ton sculpture is covered in 37,000 flowers and is over forty feet tall. It has become the mascot for the museum and the city itself.
23. A Museum in Boston Hired a Puppy
Rats and mice can be a hazard to priceless art. In 2018 the Boston Museum of Fine Arts hired a Weimaraner puppy named Riley to join their team and eliminate these pests. Riley is a working scent dog and received training to identify the pests using his fantastic sniffer.
24. The Obamas’ Puppy Has His Own Baseball Card
In April 2009, while living in the White House, the Obamas adopted a Portuguese Water Dog puppy named Bo. The White House put together a baseball card for the puppy with many fun facts about Bo.
Some of Bo’s hobbies include playing on the White House lawn and taking walks with the family. Bo’s goal as First Dog is to make friends with foreign dognitaries, and Bo’s favorite food is tomatoes — or toys. Even though he is a water dog, he can’t swim.
25. A Puppy Destroyed Half Of John Steinbeck’s Novel Of Mice and Men
John Steinbeck’s Irish Setter, Toby, chewed through about two months of work while left alone one night. John had no backups but could not stay mad at his furry friend. He says Toby was acting critically, so he just rewrote the chapters and made them better.
26. There Are Two Varieties Of Corgi Puppy
There’s the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Even though their lifespan and heritage are similar, there are many differences between these two puppies. Corgi types are unique, with different body types, tails, and personalities.
27. You Can Get Labrador Puppies Of Each Color In The Same Litter
Like with eye colors, Labradors get their coat color from a pigment called eumelanin. Lots of eumelanin creates a black coat, and the less there is, the lighter the coat. Black is the dominant color, brown is recessive, and yellow has its own genetic information that can override black and brown coats.
Without going too deep into genetics, if a black labrador with the brown recessive gene mates with a yellow labrador, the mix of genes can create a litter with all three colors. You can also get the mix when mating two black Labs or a chocolate and yellow Lab, but never when mating brown and brown and yellow and yellow.
28. The Best Time To Bring A Puppy Home Is Between 8-10 Weeks
Their development dictates the best time to bring a puppy home. Usually, between eight and ten weeks, they are fully developed and weaned and are ready to be trained and learn more social skills.
29. Female Dogs Carry Their Litters For About Sixty Days
The gestation period in dogs can last between fifty-seven to sixty-five days, with an average of sixty-three days. As mentioned before, these short pregnancies are due to evolution to minimize the time spent away from hunting.
30. The Soviet Union Gave JFK One of Strelka’s Puppies
Strelka is one of the famous dogs sent into low-Earth orbit by the Soviet Space Program. During a state dinner in Vienna, John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, talked about Strelka with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.
A little while later, Khrushchev sent the Kennedys one of Strelka’s newborn puppies. The soft little creature was named Pushinka, which is Russian for “fluffy”.
31. Puppies Make You More Productive
In 2012, Hiroshima University experimented on productivity. They asked participants to look at pictures from different categories and then play a board game that required a lot of precision.
The study showed that people who looked at photos of kittens and puppies had an easier time concentrating on the board game than those who looked at pictures of food or adult animals.
32. Puppies Can Manipulate You With Their Eyes
This gives a whole new meaning to ‘puppy dog eyes’. It’s not a show of emotion from your canine friend but a manipulative trick to get your attention.
Puppies have learned that raising their eyebrows will usually get you to give them attention. This is because it makes their eyes look bigger and sadder. Big puppy eyes trigger a release of happy chemicals in humans and a protective instinct.
33. Puppies Enjoy ‘Baby Talk’ More Than Adult Dogs
A 2017 study experimented to see if dogs would react to ‘baby talk.’ They recorded women speaking to photos of puppies in a higher register and played it for about ten adult dogs and ten puppies.
The adult dogs completely ignored the recordings. However, most of the puppies started barking and running towards the sound. This study showed that puppies love ‘baby talk’ but eventually grow out of it.
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