Wriggly, fluffy, sweet and cuddly – puppies are heart-meltingly cute! But, in addition to their cuteness, they’re fascinating too. Read on to find out some of my favourite and the most interesting facts about puppies.
1. The word Puppy has French roots.
This one tops the list of interesting facts about puppies for a reason!
Etymologists suggest that the term puppy may have come from poupeé, a French word that translates in English as – doll or toy.
Not until the late 16th century, the word puppy entered in the English Language. Before that, the English speakers used to call baby dogs whelps.
William Shakespeare’s history play King John, which was written in the 1590s, is one of the earliest works to use the word puppy-dog.
2. Puppies are born in two months.
A mama dog carries her puppies for about 60 days or nine weeks before they are born.
While most of the puppies are delivered the natural way, certain dog breeds are born through a C-section.
According to studies, the breeds with the highest rates of C-sections are Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Scottish terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Mastiffs, German wirehaired Pointers, Clumber Spaniels, and Pekingeses.
These breeds usually have caesarean births more than 80 percent of the time.
3. Puppies are blind and deaf at birth.
Did you know, when puppies are born, they are functionally blind and deaf?
From day one until they are two weeks old, their eyes are firmly shut and their ear canals are fully closed.
Why? Well, in short, it’s part of the canine evolution.
Since, remaining pregnant for a longer period can hurt a carnivore’s ability to hunt for food, dogs evolved to have short pregnancies (gestation period).
So, a shorter gestation period meant that dog mothers wouldn’t need to take long breaks from hunting.
But, because dog embryos spend such a short time in the womb (only two months), puppies are born not fully developed.
With closed eyes and ear canals, they cannot see and hear until they’re almost two weeks old.
Until then, puppies depend on their sense of touch and smell to find their mom.
4. Their first sense to develop is touch.
Born without most of their senses fully developed, touch is the first sense that a puppy develops and relies on for the first few weeks of their life.
Puppies begin using their sense of touch from the very moment they are born while receiving licks and cuddles from their mother.
A mother’s licks and nuzzles stimulates the sense of touch, which continues to be important for the puppy throughout their lives.
Touch is the sense that a puppy uses to learn and feel the world around him, for example – the wind blowing, or a fly landing on his back.
Additionally, puppies have touch-sensitive hairs called vibrissae – better known as their whiskers – on their muzzle and above their eyes, right from birth. They don’t have to wait for puberty before growing whiskers, unlike humans.
5. Like babies, puppies have baby teeth, too.
Puppies are born completely toothless. They also have teething stages, but in more intense levels compared to human babies.
Round 1 – At 2 to 4 weeks of age, a puppy’s 28 baby teeth will start to grow.
Round 2 – Around 12 to 16 weeks, those baby teeth fall out gradually.
Round 3 – The secondary teeth begin to erupt at around 4 to 5 months of age.
Round 4 – By the time the pup is 6 to 7 months old, it should have a set of 42 adult teeth, ranging from incisors to molars.
6. Puppies can be twins.
This is one of the most interesting facts about puppies that is my personal favourite.
Yes, puppies can have identical twins.
But, until very recently, scientists did know how common identical twin puppies are, because there was no proof that they existed at all.
However, in 2016 there was a reasonable proof of twin puppies.
While performing a C-section on a pregnant Irish wolfhound, Kurt de Cramer, a South African veterinarian, noticed something very unique and remarkable.
Normally, in a womb every puppy gets its own placenta, yet Dr. Cramer noticed that two of the seven pups in this litter shared a single placenta.
A genetic test later confirmed that the puppies were identical twins.
This was the very first confirmed case of identical twin puppies in the entire world.
7. The largest puppy litter ever recorded was 24 puppies.
Puppy litter size depends on the breed, which means a smaller dog breed tends to have smaller litters while bigger dogs give birth to more puppies.
One of the most unbelievable and interesting facts about puppies is this amazing fact recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.
In 2004, 24 pups in a single litter were born to a Neapolitan Mastiff named Tia.
However, a C-section was required to deliver the puppies, in which one was unfortunately still born, and three others died in the first week.
8. Puppies sleep and dream like babies.
Puppies spend 90% of their time sleeping.
Like babies, puppies need a lot of nap time — up to 15 to 20 hours a day.
It is strongly advised for dog owners to resist the urge to disturb sleeping puppies, because sleep is critical for a young puppy’s developing brain, muscles, and immune system.
Puppy parents must also fix a special sleeping space for their tiny fur baby so it can snooze undisturbed.
And, if you’re lucky enough, you will see your little pup let out a woof as he begins to twitch his paws in his sleep. Is he dreaming?
Yes, puppies dream, and that too just like humans.
Hold on! There is evidence to support the idea that puppies and dogs do, in fact, experience dreams.
An Electroencephalogram (EEG) has helped researchers test canine brain wave activity during sleep.
They’ve found that puppies and dogs are quite similar to human beings when it comes to sleep patterns and brain wave activity.
Like humans, puppies and dogs enter a deep sleep stage during which their breathing becomes more irregular and they have rapid eye movements (REM).
It is during REM that actual dreaming happens. It is during this time the involuntary movements take place.
Puppies and dogs may move their paws or legs as if they are running, or they may whine or whimper as if excited, and breathe rapidly for short periods.
How cute is that!
9. Puppies love baby-talks.
Your puppy enjoys your voice when you baby talk or sing talk more than you do.
It seems natural that you baby talk to your cuddly puppy, but research studies have found that they actually respond to it.
Look what recent research has found!
A dog behavioural study in 2017, asked 30 women to look at assorted photographs of people, dogs and puppies, and randomly say these pre-written lines: “Hi baby boo! Hello cutie! Who’s a good boy? Come here you little muffin! Good girl! Yes! Come here sweetie pie! What a good doggie!”
As expected, the women spoke in a higher tone while looking at dog pictures, especially puppy photos.
Later on, the researchers played the recordings for 10 adult dogs and 10 puppies.
Almost every puppy started barking and running towards the speaker when they heard the baby-talk recordings.
The adult dogs pretty much ignored the recordings altogether. Meh!
10. Puppies become adults when they are one.
At a year old, a puppy is considered as a dog.
Ideally, all pups become twice their birth weight after the first week. And, by 6-months they reach 95% of their adult body size.
Although, certain larger breeds continue to grow till 12-18 months of age.
Puppies are officially considered full grown adult dogs when they reach the age of one. However, the age at which they reach maturity depends on the breed.
Small dogs like Pugs, for instance, will be physically mature at about 9 or 10 months old, while large breeds like the Himalayan Mastiff can take up to 2 years to be fully grown.
In human years, a one year old puppy is about the same as a 15-year-old teen.
Well, inside a teen dog, there is still pretty much a puppy.
The antics and the goofy face gives it away!
11. Their puppy coat is different from their adult dog coat.
Another super interesting facts about puppies!
Typically, puppies are born with a single coat of fur.
Anywhere between 4 to 6 months of age, most puppies shed their puppy coat and grow their adult coat.
This totally depends on the puppy’s breed, health, and climate.
Likewise, a puppy’s coat colour may change as it grows.
Patches of colour can shift and grow, and how they do so can depend purely on the breed.
If your puppy is a purebred, then you’ll be able to predict their appearance depending on how their dog-parents look. But for crossbred pups, it is slightly complicated and can be only discovered over time.
12. Dalmatian Puppies are born without spots.
Have you seen the movie – 101 Dalmatians?
If not, then this fun fact is definitely going to amaze you for sure!
Among all the dog breeds in this planet, the Dalmatian is one of the most popular spotted dog breeds.
The scientific reason of the spots is because of the distinct piebald pattern.
Full-grown Dalmatians unquestionably have the most recognizable coat of any dog breed.
But, Dalmatian puppies actually come into the world white and spot-less. The trademark spots develop only when they grow older.
When they shed the fur they are born with, the next batch of fur comes in. This has the spots.
Usually, a Dalmatian pup starts showing signs of leather-black or liver-brown spots when they are 10 days to 2 weeks old.
Every Dalmatian is different, and sometimes their spots can be tan, brindle, and even blue in colour.
These trademark spots begin to get more obvious around three to six months of age, and continue to evolve throughout their life.
13. Puppies can be born green.
Surprised? But it’s true!
Puppies can be born green.
There are a few recorded cases of light-coloured puppies being born an uncommonly verdant green colour.
Although, the colour is temporary and fades away in a few weeks.
Veterinarians and researchers think that the exceptional colour might be caused by a green bile pigment found in the mother-dog’s placenta mixing with the amniotic fluid.
14. Cloned puppies exist.
This one’s a jaw-dropping fact!
To begin with, a cloned dog is simply a genetic twin of your dog.
The cloned twin will share many of the key qualities of the original dog, including intelligence, temperament and looks.
History has it, that in 1996, Dolly the sheep was the first mammal cloned successfully.
Nine years later, South Korean geneticists used the same process to create the world’s first dog clone, an Afghan hound named Snuppy.
While Snuppy passed away in 2015 at the respectable age of 10, his story wasn’t over yet. In 2017, researchers announced that four puppies had been cloned from Snuppy’s stem cells.
Is dog-cloning done currently? Short answer, yes!
The cost of cloning a dog in the US starts from a whopping $50,000.
Plus, you have to find a certified veterinarian ready to take a tissue sample from your dog and send it safely to the cloning company.
15. There’s a 17-ton puppy sculpture in Bilbao, Spain.
Since it bloomed in 1997, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain has been home to Puppy, an enormous, flower-covered sculpture.
Jeff Koons, the artist modelled the gorgeous work of art after a West Highland Terrier pup.
The 17-ton pooch is shaped with a fabric-covered mesh that is topped with around 37,000 live flowers.
The 40-foot-tall, puppy-shaped blossoming garden is now honoured as a mascot for both – the museum and the city itself.
This one’s added to my bucket-list, right on!
Ultimately, one of the most interesting facts about puppies is that they will bring your home and heart so much peace, love and joy. So, go ahead and adopt a fur baby, snuggle up, and never forget just how special she is.
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