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Quick Facts

Genus: Canis

The Scoop

The Scoop

One of the World’s kindest animals

There’s good reason that the dog is often called “man’s best friend.”

These direct descendants of ancient gray wolves are remarkably attuned to human behavior and not only provide companionship, but also can compete in sporting events, perform tasks or jobs or even provide guidance or therapy services. One study showed they were so in sync with humans, that yawns were “contagious”…when their owner yawned, the dog couldn’t help but yawn, too!

Dogs come in many shapes, sizes, colors and breeds, with the tiniest being just a pound or two, and the largest being over 200 pounds. Their coats can vary from breed to breed and dog to dog, and some dogs have thick double coats, or barely any fur at all. And some dogs, like the Bichon, have hair instead of fur.

While all puppies are born blind, deaf and toothless, adult dogs are well known for their keen sense of smell and hearing and powerful jaws. A dog’s nose has 300 million receptors (a human has only 5 million) and some dogs have been trained to detect certain cancers or diseases in humans by smell. Their noses are so unique, that every dog has its own nose print, just like humans have unique fingerprints!

Dogs aren’t colorblind (though many think so); they just have a lower range of colors they’re able to see. But they are able to see quite well in the dark. And they have three eyelids (just like cats).

Dogs can be very intelligent, both emotionally and intellectually. In fact, dogs are one of the few animals who have been discovered to show voluntary unselfish kindness toward others, without any reward. They also have advanced memory skills, with one smart pup learning the names (and commands) for over 1,000 objects.

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