5 Random Facts You need To Know About Dogs
Dogs have been man's best friend since history began. Scientists aren't exactly sure when humans and hounds became such great buddies, but some research suggests we we've been thick as thieves with our canine companions since we were primitive cavemen hunting and gathering our way through life.
It's no wonder, then, that most of us think we know a thing or two about our oldest domesticated pet. But here are a few doggy-themed oddities that might just make even the most devoted of pooch enthusiasts - wait for it - paws for thought.
Dogs get jealous...
Dogs can come in many colours, but green isn't generally one of them. But now researchers at the University of California have shown that it might not be such an unlikely shade for our canine friends.
In a test designed to monitor dog's' reactions when their owners ignored them in favour of other objects, scientists found that the pets were twice as likely to display jealous behaviour when affection was shown to a stuffed dog that barked and wagged its tail than to more inanimate objects such as a bucket or interactive children's book.
...But they DON'T feel guilty
Even though jealousy seems like a remarkably human emotion, it may come as more of a surprise to learn that dogs do NOT, on the other hand, feel guilty. In a similar study, researchers at Cambridge University concluded that the droopy eyes, bowed head and sagging ears we recognise as shame was much more likely to be the pet's reaction to their owner's own body-language when scolding their disobedient pooch.
"It's pretty clear that dogs don't feel or display guilt,” Dr Susan Hazel told the Daily Telegraph. “It's not the way their brains work.”
Dogs noses are like fingerprints
At first glance, there might not seem much to separate the 101 Dalmatians in Disney's classic canine caper. But identifying each individual hound would actually be easier than you think.
In the same way that our fingerprints are unique, the ridges and divots on the tip of a dog's nose - or rhinarium - make such a distinctive pattern that no two prints are the ever the same. So reliable is this principle, in fact, that the Canadian Kennel Club has been using it to identify their pets since 1938.
Dogs can smell cancer
Dogs have been known to do some pretty amazing things. But sniffing out when we're seriously ill? That really takes the biscuit.
But that's exactly what scientists at the Schillerhoehe Hospital in Germany are claiming. In tests using trained dogs, they found that our canine chums could successfully detect tumours in 71% of cancer patients.
It's believed that tumours give out "volatile chemicals" which dogs can perceive with their famously acute sense of smell. Even more amazingly, a UK-based charity is now using "Medical Detection Dogs" in partnership with the NHS to identify traces of prostate cancer in patients' urine - with a 93% success rate.
Some dogs are pretty weird
You'd be hard pushed to find someone that can't name at least a few kinds of dogs. Labradors, poodles, huskies, and, of course, pugs are some of the breeds that grab the glory.
But you may be staggered to learn there are well over 300 other types of dog in existence, and some of them are pretty incredible. The Norwegian Lundehund, for example, is a particularly limber pooch with six toes on each foot and ears it can fold shut.
But this is nothing compared to the Newfoundland, a breed of dog more akin to ducks than fellow mutts. Bred specifically as a working dog for fisherman, the enormous pooch not only has a water-resistant coat, but also - bizarrely - webbed-feet.
The formula clearly works, however, as over history Newfoundlands have been credited with countless maritime rescues, including that of Napolean Bonaparte in 1815. And it's not just outside their bodies that the dogs are comfortable with water - they're also known to drool excessively.