Dog Facts for Kids to Help You with Your School Project

smiling Labradors dog facts
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Are you on the hunt for interesting dog facts? Although one of our favourite household pets, there are many surprising and little known facts about dogs to discover. Such as, what is the most popular dog breed? And how smart are dogs really? Did you know that dogs have a superpower?

From basic dog breed stats to the seriously surprising (which dog can outrun a cheetah?!), we have rounded up some of the most interesting dog facts for kids. Whether you are researching for your next family pet or compiling facts for a school project, we have the most fascinating dog facts for you.

Basic dog facts

Below we have detailed some of the basic fun facts about dogs.

1.   What is a dog?

Dogs are domesticated animals that come in many shapes, sizes and colours. Dogs can have short-hair, long-hair, floppy ears, perky ears, short little legs or some can be almost as tall as a pony! There are a huge variety of dogs but they do have many things in common, such as that they are all descended from the wolf. The modern household dog is a much loved and friendly companion!

2.   How many types of dogs are there?

It depends on who you ask! Although it is generally accepted that there are somewhere between 195-500 dog breeds in the world, only 195 are officially recognised by the American Kennel Club while Belgium’s FCI say there are 360 breeds. As people continue to “design” dogs through mixing breeds, this list will continue to grow.

3.   What is the smallest dog breed?

jumping chihuahua and dog facts

The world’s smallest dog is Mexico’s chihuahua. Tiny in size but big on personality, and weighing in at only 1-2kg, these feisty little pocket rockets are popular for their portability. Available in both short-hair and long-hair, this breed also has 30 different colour combinations. Amazingly, the little chihuahua has been known to sometimes live up to 20 years old!

4.   What is the largest dog breed?

As of 2021, the largest dog breed title was claimed by the English Mastiff. These big, friendly giants are seriously huge. The male English Mastiff can weigh over 100kg! With a lifespan of up to 12 years, the Mastiff is known for its gentle and calm nature.

5.   What is the most popular dog breed?

The Labrador retriever frequents the top of popularity list and in 2021 the results were no different. With an adult weighing in at around 30kg, the Labrador is a medium sized dog. With a love for swimming and the outdoors, they are a great dog for an active owner.

Popular for their intelligence and affectionate nature, the Labrador is a wonderful choice for families.

Health & wellness dog facts

Below are some health and wellness amazing facts about dogs.

1.   What do dogs eat?

Dogs are carnivores – this means they prefer to eat meat. Most domesticated dogs will eat dog biscuits or kibble plus a canned wet food made of meat. However, dogs can also benefit from plant-based foods added into their diet, such as vegetables and grains. Of course, dogs also love fresh meat and treats such as raw bones, pigs ears or dog chews. Their wild ancestors would have relied on their hunting prowess to find rodents and other smaller mammals to eat.

2.   How long do dogs live for?

The lifespan of a dog varies greatly from breed to breed but the average usually falls somewhere between 10-15 years. For example, a Shih Tzu can live up to 18 years whereas a Golden Retriever is expected to live closer to 12 years. In general, smaller dogs tend to have a longer lifespan than large dog breeds.

3.   Do dogs have a superpower?

Dogs do have a superpower of sorts – their nose! They have an amazing sense of smell that can pick up on emotions such as fear and even illnesses like cancer. Dogs are utilised in rescues, airport security checks and house-raids by police to sniff out danger.  A dog can identify smells anywhere between 1000-10,000 times better than humans can! Their ears are also amazing assets and they can hear much more than our human ears.

4.   Do dogs sweat?

Dogs do not sweat like humans do, so how do they expel excess heat from their bodies? You might have noticed your dog panting with their tongue out on particularly hot days. This panting is how dogs sweat! The excess heat is expelled as moisture from their tongues.

5.   How smart are dogs?

beach dog

Dogs are very clever – we all know they can learn commands such as sit and stay, or even to jump through hoops or do other amazing tricks. It has been found that a dog’s mental ability is on a similar level to a 2 year old human – so your dog may be just as clever and aware as your toddler brother or sister! On average a dog can learn and understand 165 words. Intelligence does vary between the breeds and depends on how well trained your furry friend is.

Surprising dog facts

We have also compiled the best list of interesting facts about dogs that might surprise you!

1.   How long have dogs lived with humans?

Although we originally thought that dogs were domesticated around 11,000 years ago, there is new fossil evidence that suggests that dogs have been living with humans for around 30,000 years – wow! This friendship has grown and developed over the years, from using dogs for hunting purposes to becoming the cuddly pals we see them as today. Studies have suggested that this friendship first occurred by accident through sharing excess meat, thousands of years ago.

2.   Have dogs been to space?

Yes – a number of dogs have been to space! The Soviet Union sent dogs to space in the 1950s to trial their astronaut equipment. However, dogs much prefer being on earth!

3.   Are there any new dog breeds?

In 2020 we welcomed two new dog breeds – the Barbet and the Dogo Argentino. Mixing breeds is an effective way to combine personality and physical traits of dogs – for example, the labradoodle was bred as a guide-dog for people with allergies! The beloved dog is sure to continue to diversify and grow in breed types.

4.   Are any dogs faster than a cheetah?

Technically, no – but a Greyhound could outrun a cheetah. How could that be so? The nimble Greyhound isn’t as fast as a cheetah but has the stamina that the cheetah lacks,  and for that reason would most certainly beat a cheetah in a race.

5.   Are there any Australian dog breeds?

Australian Cattle Dog (also known as a Blue Heeler)

Yes! The Australian Cattle Dog (also known as a Blue Heeler), Australian Terrier, Silky Terrier, Australian Kelpie, Tenterfield Terrier, Dingo, Koolie and Bull Arab are all Australian dog breeds. Australian TV show Bluey (ABC Kids) is of course based around the Heeler family of Blue Heelers. Surprisingly, the Australian Shepherd is actually an American dog breed that originated in California!

Amazing dog facts for kids

We hope you enjoyed this collection of interesting dog facts for kids! Whether you are just curious or researching for school (or maybe a new exciting pet!) we’re sure you found some of these dog facts surprising! Maybe you can teach your family or friends something new about their favourite household pet.

Dogs come in many shapes and sizes; whether your pooch is long-haired or short-haired, tiny or giant, lazy or active – they all originate from the wolf! And they all make wonderful family pets and friendly companions.

If you have enjoyed these kids facts about dogs, why not look up our other FUN FACTS.

More facts for kids

If you are looking for more great facts for kids to help with projects, check out our articles:

Animal facts for kids

Environment facts for kids

Other facts for kids

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