7 Cool Dogs Facts: Dogs History & Dogs Facts
1. Dogs were the first domesticated animals
A heavily debated topic, it’s agreed that dogs are a subspecies of wolves. Wolves and dogs both belong to the canine family. Dogs are thought to be the first animal to undergo human domestication. The very first dog skeleton was discovered in a tomb dating back over 14,700 years ago. Different parts of the world would see gradual domestication over time.
2. Dogs of The Wild
While dogs are known to be domesticated wolves, there remains a population of feral dogs that live in the wild. Research states that around four thousand years ago, travellers came to Australia and brought dogs over with them. During settlement, some dogs escaped into the wild and thrived across the vast Australian lands. They would later come to be known as Australia’s native dog, the Canis Dingo. Dingoes are considered another wild subspecies of the wolf family.
In addition to wolves, there are also Asian wild dogs know as the Dhole and African wild dogs named Lycaon Pictus. Despite being similar in appearances, their genes and bloodline are far from that of the dog family.
3. Dogs Don’t Have Clavicles or Arms
Dogs don't have a collarbone and can take bigger strides when they run and jump, a biological advantage when it comes to physical activity.
There are a couple of drawbacks to the anatomy of the dog— Lack of forelimb control. A developed clavicle can attach muscles and make forelimbs flexible. Clavicles are indispensable for human flexibility in the forelimb area. As a result, we can observe cats are able to conduct ‘slapping’ motions while dogs will choose to engage with their mouths due to biological limitation.
4. Obedient Dogs Are Usually Patterned, Lop Eared or Curly Tailed
Dogs come in many shapes and sizes along with various spots and patterning across the body. Spots can be found on the forehead in a range of colours including white and yellow. Some dogs will feature soft ears that appear lopped and tails that are curled. These adorable traits extend beyond just a cute appearance and extend to the personality of a dog.
Scientists have studied temperament in mammals before and after domestication. Research has deduced that the mentioned aesthetic patterns and features will appear more in the domestic branch of dogs. This is particularly apparent after exploring the domestication of Russian foxes which would later manifest these aesthetic appearances generations after domestic introduction.
5. The Largest Canine is The Wolf
Among existing wild canines, the largest known species is the wolf. Interior Alaskan wolves (Canis lupus pambasileus) and Mackenzie Valley Wolves (Canis lupus occidentalis) are the biggest in the wolf family. Both of these are subspecies of the gray wolf and reside in the most northern part of North America. Interior Alaskans are relatively longer while Mackenzie Valley wolves are known to be stronger with a body that can weigh up to 60 kilograms.
History has seen larger canines that have come and gone. The Dire wolf retains its fame as a titan in the canine world. It’s marginally longer than Interior Alaskans but carried significant weight with its well-built frame. It’s estimated that the largest Dire wolf weighed 110 kilograms yet this is still not regarded as the biggest canine to walk the planet.
6. Smallest Canine
Smallest canine Fennec fox
While dogs are can be huge and mighty, they also come in compact and cuddly sizes. The smallest canine is known as the Fennec Fox. Hailing from the Sahara of North Africa, it grows to a modest length of 40 cm and can weigh around 1.6 kilograms. Fennec Foxes have evolved and adapted over time and feature a large pair of ears that radiate heat from the body to keep the body cool.
The fennec fox in Zootroplis. Photograph Disney
7. Champions of Marathons
The dogs inherited traits of their wolf ancestors who were good at running across land. Among mammals, there are many animals that are good at running, but very few are good at covering long distances. Wolves are known for their unique ability to traverse great distances of land without extended periods of rest. They can run for hours at a slower speed of about 10 kilometres per hour, or continuously for 20 minutes at a high speed of 50-60 kilometres per hour. Sustaining such speeds over time is telling of the wolf’s mighty endurance that can be comparable to that of a cheetah.
Greyhound can reach a top speed of up to 70km/h
Controlled breeding has produced subsequent generations that retain the athletic ability of distance running. Greyhounds are a prime example of this, reaching a top speed of up to 70 km/h.