5 Incredible Answers to Questions About Dogs You Didn’t Even Know You Had 

1 – How Long Ago Were Dogs First Domesticated?

The animal we know as “the dog” evolved from the gray wolf into more than 400 distinct breeds.  As you may guess, this didn’t happen “overnight.”  Instead, it was a developing event that stretched over thousands of years. 

The “when and where” of domestication has been debated for years.  However, it is believed by researchers that dogs were first domesticated somewhere in Northern Eurasia sometime between 14,000 and 40,000 years ago.

2 – What Is The Oldest Know Dog Breed? 

Saluki

According to Guinness World Records:

“The world’s oldest known breed of domesticated dog is the saluki, believed to have emerged in 329 BC.  Saluki dogs were revered in ancient Egypt, being kept as royal pets and being mummified after death.  There are carvings found in Sumer (present-day southern Iraq) which represent a dog, closely resembling a saluki, which date back to 7000 BC.”

There has also been some reference to cave paintings of dogs that look like Salukis dating back 9,000 years.  This is an example of how difficult it is to decipher ages of dog breeds. 

Black and White Saluki – Image by Elisabetta Bellomi from Pixabay 

Other Oldest Breeds

You’d think the answer to this question would have been “so easy,” right?  But (apparently) it isn’t. 

Akita Inu – 10,000 years

The Akita Inu also lays claim to being the oldest dog breed in the world. 

The Akita Inu is smaller than the American Akita and looks more like a fox.  Akita Inu is a national treasure of Japan, and they are favored for their dignity, courage and loyalty. 

The Greenland Sled Dog (9,500 years)

The scientific debate about which is the oldest dog breed continues with the Greenland Sled Dog, is estimated to be over 9,000 years old!

The Basenji (More than 6,000 years ago)

Some genetic research has pointed to the Basenji as being the oldest dog breed in the world.

The origin of the Basenji is also discussed:  some say it’s native to Egypt; and others say it is native to Africa. 

What we know for sure about Basenjis is that they don’t bark, bay or even howl.  Their sound isn’t easy to describe.  It’s kind of yodel, kind of a whine, and the ones I’ve heard on YouTube kind of sound like wailing.  Go here to listen:

Basenjis are said to be “cat-like” because of their personality and their desire to keep clean. 

3 – What Is The Name Of The Oldest Dog That Ever Lived? 

The answer to this one is a lot easier!  This is another incredible “answer” to your “dog questions.

Maggie

First there was Maggie, the Australian Kelpie, who lived on a farm and might have reached the age of 30.  Unfortunately, Maggie’s “papers” were lost, so she isn’t recognized by Guinness. 

Bluey

Going to Guinness World Records, again, we learn that the acknowledged oldest dog in the world was named Bluey.  She was an Australian Cattle Dog, who lived 29 years and 5 months. 

According to Wikipedia, Bluey was born June 7, 1910, and worked with her people, Les and Esma Hall, in Rochester, Victoria, Australia, until she departed this life on November 14, 1939.

Pusuke

Fast forward 70 years, and we discover Pusuke, a Shiba mix, who had been recognized as the planet’s oldest dog.  Pusuke passed away at 26 years, 8 months of age, on December 8, 2011. 

Rocky 

Between 1939 and 2011, we find Rocky, the Dachshund.  Rocky wasn’t documented by Guinness, but he was still the subject of news coverage.  He and his human, Robert Rowland, lived in Shingle Springs, California.  At 25, he was recognized as the oldest Dachshund that ever lived.  Rocky lived from March 1987 until April 19, 2012. 

May our beloveds, Maggie, Bluey, Pusuke and Rocky, rest in peace.  

4 – Why Are Dogs’ Noses Wet? 

Another question I’ll bet you didn’t know you had: Do you ever wonder why your dog’s nose is wet?  Well, there are a few reasons why her nose is wet. 

First, dogs’ noses produce and discharge a particular kind of mucus that helps them to engage with scent chemicals.  When you see your dog licking her nose, that’s because her nose works best when it’s damp.  See, scent particles stick better to damp surfaces, so having a wet nose helps her individualize one odor from another, so she can better understand “what’s going on.”   

Speaking of individualizing scents, everyone knows that a dog’s sense of smell is superior to that of humans, but do you know why that’s so and to what degree?  So glad you asked! 

Gray Pit BullFace on the Counter – Image by Mikorad from Pixabay 

The part of the brain that analyzes odors is 40 times bigger in dogs than the corresponding part of the human brain.  Dogs have as many as 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, while you and I have about 6 million.

Another thing about your dog’s wet nose:  He can smell around 1,000 to 10,000 times better than you can, and that’s because he has something called Jacobsen’s organ.  Jacobsen’s organ basically increases his ability to smell and serves as a second olfactory system. 

One more reason:  Wet noses have another advantage in that they help keep a dog cool.  Dogs dissipate some heat through their nasal passages, even though they “sweat” through their foot pads. 

5 – How Smart Are Dogs? 

Generally speaking, dogs can understand around 170 to 250 commands and gestures, and dogs that spend a lot of time with their humans can even understand some sentences.  So, overall, when it comes to language recognition, most dogs have the intelligence of a 2- to 2½-year-old child. 

An article on the American Kennel Club site seems to indicate that dogs can count.  Among other proof is:  If she can’t count, how would a mom know if all of her brood is present? 

Dr. Stanley Coren says this about dogs:  “Their stunning flashes of brilliance and creativity are reminders that they may not be Einsteins but are sure closer to humans than we thought.”

Here’s how smart dogs are: The Shelter Dog and The New Guy.

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Resources

American Kennel Club, Article:  Do Dogs Understand Mathematics? by Stanley Coren, PhD, July 5, 2019, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/advice/dogs-understand-mathematics/

American Kennel Club, Article:  How to Calculate Dog Years to Human Years,By AKC staff, November 20, 2019, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/how-to-calculate-dog-years-to-human-years/

American Psychological Association, Article:  Smarter Than You Think: Renowned Canine Researcher Puts Dogs’ Intelligence on Par with 2-Year-Old Human, Date created:  2009, https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2009/08/dogs-think#:~:text=According%20to%20several%20behavioral%20measures,age%202%20to%202.5%20years.

AZ Animals, Article:  The 9 Oldest Dog Breeds (One Might be 10,000 Years Old!), By Michelle Stacy, Updated October 5, 2021, https://a-z-animals.com/blog/the-9-oldest-dog-breeds/

Britannica, https://www.britannica.com

Cesar’s Way, Article:  Why Are Dogs’ Noses Wet? , September 24, 2019, https://www.cesarsway.com/why-are-dogs-noses-wet/

DogOPedia, Article:  What Is The Oldest Dog Breed – 25 Ancient Dog Breeds, by Ben, https://dogopedia.net/dog-facts/what-is-the-oldest-dog-breed-25-ancient-dog-breeds/

Guinness World Records, https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com

npr, Article:   Pusuke, World’s Oldest Dog, Dies At Age 26 (Or 125 in “Human Years”), by Mark Memmott, December 8, 2011, https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2011/12/08/143346081/pusuke-worlds-oldest-dog-dies-at-age-26-or-125-in-human-years

Oldest, Article:  5 Oldest Dachshunds Ever in the World, https://www.oldest.org

Spirit Dog, Article:  The 12 Oldest Dog Breeds, https://spiritdogtraining.com

The Scotsman, Article:  Dog Breeds That Live Longest, by David Hepburn, April 27, 2022, https://www.scotsman.com

VCA Animal Hospitals, Article:  Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? By Ryan Liera, BSc, DVM; Lynn Buzhardt, DVM, https://vcahospitals.com 

YouTube

Wikipedia

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