Regular readers will know that I'm an avid researcher of the weird and wonderful when it comes to our canine friends and this week have been trawling through the archives to bring you some hopefully interesting things you maybe never knew about dogs.
- Short legged dogs - Dachshunds, basset hounds and corgis all share the characteristic of having short legs due to a single growth-related gene mutation that affects their early fetal development. In studies, scientists found that this growth gene known as FGF4 appears to be a copy of a wolf gene that somehow got spliced back into our short-legged friends DNA some time after modern dogs diverged from wolves.
- Talking of wolves... Both dogs and wolves are functionally blind until they are around a month old. Wolf puppies begin to walk and explore at around the two week mark while dog pups wait until around four weeks before they exhibit the same behaviours.
- On the subject of puppies.... Different breeds are known to show vastly differing developmental behaviours and it may surprise you to know that beagle and cocker spaniel puppies almost never argue over food. Basenji puppies on the other hand have been known to aggressively continue to argue with each other for up to a year.
- Rabies - Rabies kills around 55 thousand people a year and around 95% of these cases are caused by dog bites.
- Hunting and herding in dogs - You may be surprised to learn that despite hundreds of studies, researchers have yet to gain a defined understanding of why hunting dogs hunt and herding dogs herd.