Animal Info Dogs Physical Facts

About the physical facts of dogs including size, breeds, hearing, and intelligence.

DOGS

PHYSICAL FACTS

Unlike the cat, the dog has a plastic germ plasm, which enabled the early aristocratic classes to experiment with genetic engineering and produce a vast variety of different breeds widely diversified in size and appearance. There are more than 400 dog breeds, 121 of which are recognized by the American Kennel Club, ranging from the tiny Chihuahua, which can weigh only 2 lb., to the St. Bernard, which can weigh as much as 150 lb. (one--Schwarzwald Hof Duke by name--grew to a weight of 295 lb.).

Dogs can detect sound frequencies of up to 35,000 vibrations per second (compared to 20,000 for humans), and their sense of smell is equally keen. A dog can detect one drop of blood in five quarts of water. A dog's average life span runs from 7 to 14 years, with bigger dogs usually living shorter lives. Some canines, though, live 17 to 20 years, and the world's oldest dog, Adjutant, a black Labrador, was an astonishing 27 years when he died in England in 1963.

Some veterinarians believe a properly trained dog can obtain the IQ level--albeit not the reasoning power--of a 10-year-old child, measured by the animal's ability to be trained. Acts of heroism in unfamiliar situations also indicate unusual intelligence. For example, Mimi, a miniature poodle, saved eight persons by licking them awake when her Danbury, Conn., house caught fire.

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