Dogs (and wolves and foxes) are descended from a small, weasel-like mammal called Miacis which was a tree-dwelling creature and existed about 40 million years ago.
Dogs, as we know them today, first appeared in Eurasia about 13,000 years ago, and were probably a direct descendant of a small, grey wolf.
The dingo is not native to Australia but was introduced thousands of years ago by the first immigrants.
Dogs were first domesticated by cavemen in the Palaeolithic age and gradually developed (or were bred) into the breeds known today.
Dogs have been used as guards, hunters, draught animals, eyes for the blind, drug and explosive detectors, rodent controllers - and even weapons!
In Roman times and the Middle Ages, mastiffs wearing light armor, carrying spikes and pots of flaming sulphur and resin ran into battle against mounted knights. In World War II the Russians trained dogs to run suicide missions between the tracks of German tanks with mines strapped on their backs.
Dogs naturally have a wonderful sense of smell. They have many more sensory 'smelling' cells than a man's 5,000,000. A Dachshund has 125,000,000, a Fox Terrier 147,000,000 and an Alsation (often used as a 'sniffer' dog) has 220,000,000.
The oldest reliable age recorded for a dog is 29 years, 5 months for a Queensland 'heeler' called Bluey in Victoria, Australia. The average dog lives to around 15 years of age.
The tallest dogs are the Great Dane and the Irish Wolfhound.
The average dog's mouth exerts 150 to 200 pounds of pressure per square inch. Some dogs can apply up to 450 pounds.
Puppies can't control their bladders overnight until they are at least four months old. Until then, cover the floor around the puppy's bed with newspapers.
Dogs are omnivorous. They need more than just meat to flourish.
People with more than one dog shouldn't try to treat them all as equals. Because pack position is important to a dog, this only encourages jealousy games.
Dogs chew up your underwear because it smells like you.
One in every three US families owns one or more dogs.
A one-year-old dog is physically as mature as a 15 year-old human.
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