You know your dog is special in its own way, but did you know that some of the 700 plus known breeds of dogs actually have truly unique traits? The following are just a few of those characteristics that make certain breeds of dogs just a bit different.
Dalmations are born white. Their spots don’t appear until about three weeks of age.
Poodles do not shed like other dogs do, which is why some people refer to them as “hypoallergenic.” In reality, old hair tangles in newer hair, which means Poodles actually need to be brushed on a more frequent basis than other breeds in order to remove dead hair before it becomes horribly matted and tangled.
Chihuahuas are born with a molera, or soft spot, on the back of their skulls just like human babies, and, like humans, it closes with age. They are the only breed of dog born with incomplete skulls. This soft spot is all too frequently misdiagnosed as hydrocephalus by veterinarians unfamiliar with the breed.
Pit Bull’s jaws are mistakenly said to lock when they bite. Numerous studies show there is absolutely no physiological or other evidence supporting the “locking jaws” rumor. The dog’s reputation for serious aggression is actually not well-founded; owners shape their dog’s behavior, and unfortunately, this breed has rather a lot of popularity with people looking for a fighting or otherwise overly vicious dog. Owners treating Pit’s cruelly, even brutally, on purpose, in order to create an easily angered guard dog or fighting dog, have caused a great many scenarios which give the dogs a bad name. In fact, in the 2004 case of Tellings vs. Toledo, the court found there is no evidence whatsoever that Pit Bull’s attack people more often than other breeds. Additionally, those who work in veterinary clinics will tell you Pit’s are not the breed of dog the staff treats with extra wariness; that honor belongs to two other breeds entirely unrelated to the Pit Bull. When treated with loving kindness, these dogs make excellent pets.
Lundehunds have six fully jointed toes and the ability to close their ears. They have also been bred with extra flexibility in their necks, enabling them to turn their heads 180° and bend their forehead to touch the top of their shoulders. Their shoulders are also incredibly flexible; they can flex their shoulders outwards so far that they resemble humans holding their arms out in a “T” shape. All these characteristics have to do with helping the dogs climb on slippery rocks and navigate caves and cramped spaces in fishing vessels. No other breed of dog is known to possess all of these traits.
Bassethounds are unable to swim very well or safely due in part to their elongated spines, short legs, and dense bodies. When they do swim, they are typically slow and only go a short distance.
Basenjis are the only breed of dog unable to bark. Instead, they yodel.
Dachshunds were bred to fight badgers.
The Wizard of Oz’s famous dog Toto was a Cairn Terrier named Terry.
Boxers are aptly named for the way they “box” with their front paws. They use their paws much the same way cats use theirs. At one time Boxers were very popular circus dogs.
A Queensland Heeler named Bluey is thought to have been the oldest dog on record at 29 years and 5 months of age.
Greyhounds are the fastest breed. They’re able to run at up to 45 miles per hour. The average dog runs 19 miles per hour.
A Border Collie mix was the first dog to ever star in an American movie. His name was Jean the Vitagraph Dog, and his starring role took place in 1910.
A German Shepherd led her blind owner across all 2100 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
One Newfoundland, one Pekingese, and one Pomeranian were the only three surviving dogs when the Titanic sank.
A Siberian Husky named Pixie once gave birth to a bright green puppy. Yes, really.
Great Danes and Mastiffs were dressed in armored suits and huge spiked collars during the Middle Ages to be used in battles or to defend travelling caravans. Danes were also used to hunt wild boars, which is what they were originally bred for.
Mastiffs were a favorite of Kubla Khan. It is said he owned over 5,000 of the dogs all at once.
French Poodles are not actually French at all but originated in Germany.
A mutt named Laika was the first living thing to orbit earth in 1957. Her daughter, Pushnika, had a litter of four puppies with President John F. Kennedy’s terrier, Charlie.
A Yorkshire Terrier was the smallest dog ever recorded. He stood only 2.5″ at the shoulder and 3.5″ from the tip of his nose to his tail, weighing in at just four ounces.
Bloodhounds really do have the best and most unique sense of smell of all dog breeds. Historical evidence shows they have been hunting down criminals since the Middle Ages.
An Old English Mastiff was the heaviest dog ever recorded, weighing in at 343 pounds.
Greyhounds are thought to be one of the oldest breeds. Their name comes from a poor translation of “greishund,” a German word meaning “old/ancient dog.”
An Alsatian named Gunter was the richest dog in recorded history. In 1992 his owner, Countess Karlotta Libenstein, of Germany, left $106 million to him when she passed away.
Golden Retrievers have been claimed as the best dog to attract a date. Pit Bulls, sadly, are the worst.
The Akbash Dog and the Basenji are supposedly the two quietest breeds of dog.
A blue Great Dane named George was recorded as the tallest dog in the world in 2010. He was 43″ tall at the shoulder. However, in 2012, another blue Dane named Zeus surpassed George by 1″, coming in at 44″ tall and taking the world record. Danes have long since been the tallest breed of dog while Mastiffs, which are one of the Dane’s foundation breeds, have long since been the heaviest (and longest; height does not guarantee length, and an Old English Mastiff won the title of Longest Dog when he was found to be 8’3″ long).
The Rhodesian Ridgeback was used to hunt lions in the late 1800’s in Rhodesia.
Dogo Argentinos were originally bred to hunt jaguars in South America.
Rottweilers were originally bred to pull carts, specifically butcher’s carts, in a small German town. They were first referred to as “Rottweil’s dogs,” which later became their current name, Rottweiler.
Chow Chows are known for their unique purple-black tongue and very straight hind legs. They are originally from China, where their meat used to be a delicacy.
Shar Peis are another breed with a purple tongue. Originally bred for fighting, they often retain the aggressive nature they were encouraged to have. As a result, owners of a Shar Pei must take extra care in training and socializing their dogs since with a proper upbringing they can be terrific pets.
Newfoundlands were originally bred to help on fishing boats, although some theorize they actually have their roots as Viking’s dogs. They have webbed paws, which are meant to assist them as they swim to rescue those fallen overboard. They have been so thoroughly bred to rescue people from the water that they often try to rescue those who don’t actually need help.
Catahoulas are thought to have descended from Nordic Wolfhounds brought to Louisiana. They are incredibly tough dogs originally used in teams of three to round up escaped feral livestock from the swamps. They are also known for their frequently mottled coats and striking blue eyes. A knack for tree climbing adds to their uniqueness.
The Alaskan Klee Klai is a toy version of the Siberian Husky bred not in Alaska but in the United States.
Fila Brasileiros were originally bred for both hunting jaguars and guard duty. They were and often still are bred to develop a trait called “ojeriza” as they mature, which refers to their absolute loathing of strangers. Incredibly loyal dogs to their masters, their dislike of those not their owner can be a problem for this breed.
Salukis used to be, and sometimes still are, considered the only breed of dog clean enough to enter a Muslim home. They are also supposed to be the most ancient breed; there is evidence of their existence in Ancient Mesopotamia.
The Bernese Mountain Dog has a white mark on its chest which, according to breed standards, is supposed to be symmetrical.
Catalburun are one of three known rare breeds with the distinctive trait of a split or dual nose. They have superior scenting abilities, although scientists have thus far been unable to deduce why, and are very loyal to their owners but not overly friendly to strangers. Their above average skills in scenting and tracking make them valuable game dogs in their place of origin, the Tarsus-Merin region of Turkey.
Kerry Blue Terriers are born black, but their coat develops a blue cast as they mature, sometimes as late as two years of age. They were originally bred to hunt rats.
Borzois were nearly wiped out when Communism took over Russia. They were originally used for hunting wolves, hence their first name, Russian Wolfhound. Luckily, aristocrats in other countries took an interest in the Borzoi, saving the breed, which eventually grew in popularity with movie stars in the United States.
The Bullmastiff was given the nickname “the Gamekeeper’s Night Dog” due to its original use as a guard dog for vast estates in England. Although they are most often seen with brindle coloring, there are, of course, other colors.
Pharaoh Hounds are said to resemble the Egyptian god Anubis, the god of embalming and death. Of course, Anubis’ head is meant to be that of a jackal.
Akitas were first bred for hunting large game and fighting. In Japan, Akitas are often used as police dogs. Some insurance companies actually raise the rates of households that include an Akita due to the dog’s reputation.
The Korean Jindo is a hunting dog with a peculiar habit. These dogs prefer to go hunting alone, returning home with their prizes. When they catch something too big to carry home on their own they memorize the spot and fetch their owners.
Telomian Dogs, yet another breed with a differently colored tongue, this time in blue, are known for their use of their front paws. They use their paws to hold objects much as a human infant would and also to open doors.
The distinctive Ibizan Hound was originally bred for hunting rabbits. Owners of an Ibizan must remember the dog’s skill at jumping; these dogs easily sail over 5-foot fences and higher
Xoloitzcuintli, also known as the Mexican Hairless, were believed by the Aztecs to have mystical powers. The Aztecs believed the god Xolotl, whom the dogs were named for, had ordered them to guard the dogs with their own lives and in return the dog would provide spiritual protection in this world and the next. In Mexico the dogs were also thought to have healing powers and were used as a food source. Remote villages in Mexico still use Xolos for healing today for illnesses including asthma and arthritis; their skin is said to have healing powers.
The Puli, or Pulik in plural form, coat, is naturally corded. Fluffy as puppies, their hair begins to form cords during adolescence and takes about three years to reach the ground. Komondors are another breed with a naturally corded coat. Many people believe they are simply matted and unkempt, however, their hair cords naturally and owners must put real effort into properly maintaining their coats.
Although these breeds have some traits significantly more unusual than the average dog, remember there is more to them than extra toes or extreme loyalty. Do your research: get to know the breed you are considering thoroughly before actually purchasing one. All dogs are special, and no matter if you have a mutt or a Mastiff, your dog will give you its most special trait: loving you its entire life.