Canine Trivia

[Fascinating Canine Trivia and Other Fun Facts]

Handsome Samson, available for adoption! ID# A39834814

Handsome Samson, available for adoption! ID# A39834814

Written by Ioana Busuioc, November 2018

We could all learn a little something from our canine companions, like the great Nora Roberts said: “Everything I know I learned from dogs”. But before learning something from our dogs, why not learn a little something about them?!

Dogs are aware of the passing of time! That means they miss you when you’re gone, and they know when it’s time to eat or go for a walk. They are intuitive enough to pick up up on our routines and habits. Dogs also have a very precise sense of hearing, and though they are born deaf, they grow to be able to detect a frequency range of 67 to 45,000 hertz; much like us however, their hearing can deteriorate. Dogs can also smell certain human states and feelings, for example nervousness through our perspiration, or even pregnancy! Their sense of smell overall can be up to 10 million times better than ours too, and depending on the breed, dogs have between 125 million to 300 million scent glands.

With how many dog breeds exist in the world (approximately 344), it’s no wonder that there are so many fun facts and quirks to many of them. For instance, the Newfoundland dog has a water resistant coat and webbed feet! Dalmatians are born white and develop their distinct spots as they age. The Basenji dog makes yodel-like noises in lieu of barks, making it a fun surprise to hear for the first time! As cute as Dachshunds are, they were actually originally bred to fight badgers. Sharp-Pei’s have a purple tinted tongue!

Sweet Mya waiting patiently for her furrrever home! ID# A39806725

Sweet Mya waiting patiently for her furrrever home! ID# A39806725

Most dog lovers will agree that dogs are cooler than people any day of any week, but here are some extra cool pups:

Bill Irwin was a blind medical technologist and corporate manager who traversed the 2100 mile long journey along the Appalachian trail. He was celebrated as an inspiration to hikers and disabled people when he became the first blind man to undertake such a feat. He could not have accomplished this without his trusty German Shepherd guide dog, Orient. The pair were lovingly referred to as “the Orient Express”.

Bretagne was “a whip-smart golden retriever with feathery fur and a sunny smile“, who had lived a life more full than most of us can say ever will. The adventure-loving pup, along with her owner Denise Corliss, had their first assignment together searching for survivors at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks. Later on, she participated in rescue efforts after Hurricanes Katrina and Ivan, and even even made an appearance at the Winter Olympic Games. After retiring, she began volunteering as a reading assistance dog at an elementary school.

Rin Tin Tin was another famous German Shepherd who starred in the film that is “often credited with bringing Warner Bros. back from bankruptcy”. He was rescued from a French battlefield by American soldier Lee Duncan, who brought him to the US and got him his role in “Where the North Begins”.

Hachiko was an Akita dog best known for his loyalty and dedication to his owner even after his death. He would meet his owner at Shibuya Station in Japan every day until his owner died of a cerebral hemorrhage; even after this, every day for nine years Hachiko would return to the station at the time his owner used to arrive at.

The first animal to orbit earth was a dog named Laika. She was a stray dog found on the streets of Moscow who was trained for the Soviet space program in 1957, eventually being selected as the occupant of Sputnik. A statue was erected in the pioneering pooch’s honor in 2008.

The evolution of dogs can be traced back to 50 million years ago, with many scientists believing the grey wolf or jackal are the dog’s ancestors. The Saluki, from Saluk, Yemen, is the earliest identifiable purebred dog; excavations have revealed carvings of dogs closely resembling the Saluki. The domestication of dogs began with prehistoric men who, having realized they had nothing to fear from the animals, started throwing them scraps of food. This led to the dogs feeling safe around the humans and developed a long lasting bond between the two. The Ancient Greeks are said to have developed lap dogs, and they were meant to keep a woman’s stomach warm. Bulldogs were bread originally with their large jaws and short noses so that they could “hang onto the throat of a bull and still be able to breathe”. Though Egyptians were famously known for revering cats, they also deeply respected dogs, burying faithful dogs alongside their owners. Henry III of France allegedly had such a fondness for dogs that he had amassed at least 2000 dogs spread across his palaces. Currently, Queen Elizabeth II is an avid dog lover, having owned 14 generations of corgis dating back 8 decades; she has owned more than 30 corgis, with many of them descending from her very first dog, Susan, who she had received as an 18th birthday present.

Smiley Iris gazing into the distance (or on the lookout for her forever family!) ID# A39020998

Smiley Iris gazing into the distance (or on the lookout for her forever family!) ID# A39020998

Some other pup aficionados? Alexander the Great had a beloved dog named Peritas, and when he died, Greek historian Plutarch wrote that Alexander founded an entire city and gave it his dog’s name. Fur real! Catherine the Great of Russia had a portrait of herself commissioned with her favorite Italian greyhound, Zemira. Leona Helmsley’s death meant that her beloved pooch Trouble inherited $2 million, not a ruff life at all! Cinema beauty Elizabeth Taylor once famously said that “some of [her] best leading men have been dogs and horses”; the actress treasured many dogs throughout her life, favoring Maltese terriers. Some famous Presidential doggo lovers include George Washington, who had 10 hounds, Calvin Coolidge, who owned at least 12 dogs during his lifetime, and Barack Obama, who owns Bo and Sunny, two Portuguese WaterDogs.

Lastly, to quote the author of the biggest tearjerker of all time, Marley & Me: “Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day” – John Grogan

Thank you kindly for reading, I hope this was helpful and informative!

AARCS Dogs 4Ioana Busuioc
Blog and Website Content Creator

Got ideas for our next blog? Email me at!

Vicki_Birch (3)

Featured Volunteer: Vicki Birch

How can I become a volunteer? | See more volunteers

Photos courtesy of Debby Herold Photography


AARCS Featured Volunteer:

Vicki Birch

A word from Vicki:

I have grown up with and loved animals my entire life. We always had a dog in the house and at one point we had budgies, a hamster and so many fish. I always wanted a cat but my dad wasn’t a fan (funny thing is now his best buddy is a cat), so when I moved out of the house the first thing I did was went out and adopted a cat.

I wanted to be a vet for as long as I can remember, unfortunately, my grades did not cooperate with this dream. But I always knew I was meant to do something with animals. Fast forward a few years, and in early 2014 we heard about the Milk River dogs. My boss sent an email to all of the staff saying that anyone that wanted to donate to AARCS to help these poor animals, that she would match their donations. She knew at the time that I couldn’t afford to help financially and suggested I look into volunteering, so I did! I filled out the volunteer application that day and heard back in a couple of days. I had my Dog Orientation at the end of February followed close behind by my Cat Orientation at the beginning of March, and that was it. I was hooked! My mom jokes it’s my own little cult, but I’m ok with that. If this is what a cult is then I guess I’m a very active member.

I have now been with AARCS for almost 4 years in all sorts of capacities including but I’m sure not limited to; Dog Caregiver/Shift Leader, Cat Caregiver/Shift Leader, Events, Education, Training, Transport/SNAP, Pet Store laundry etc. Last year I took on the roll of Cat Shelter Coordinator and am loving the interaction that I have with staff and volunteers in this position. Although technically I’m not supposed to have any more pets in my apartment I also started fostering cats last year. I seem to have a soft spot for the cats I affectionately call the defective kitties. Not that they are in anyway defective, but I seem to take the guys with heart conditions, maybe I can relate having grown up with a heart murmur or maybe it’s just because these guys need the extra love that I have to give them. This has of course proven extremely emotional but so worth every second I get to spend with them.

I have a lot of people tell me they don’t know how I do it, how I can go in and see all the animals in the different states that they come to us. But I just tell them and myself that although it’s very emotional I know that we’re here to get them from the terrible situations they were in to the new loving homes they deserved from day 1. It doesn’t mean you don’t go home some days thinking how I can keep doing this, but you just remind yourself of what they came from and where they’re going to. To help them overcome their fears and injuries and go to a loving furever home IS WHY I CONTINUE DOING THIS!!

I like to think that I do this to save the animals because AARCS saved me in a very down time in my life.

So although AARCS says thank you to me for everything I do for the organization, I want to thank AARCS for coming to my rescue when I needed it the most.

Thank you
Vicki Birch
AARCS Volunteer

A word from our Volunteer Manager:

We are thrilled to announce our volunteer of the month for November. Meet Vicki Birch.

This coming January, Vicki will be celebrating four years with AARCS. In those four years we have come to know Vicki and she has become a large part of our team, especially part of our ever growing Cat Team! At some point or another, Vicki has been involved with everything from animal care (both cats and dogs), to events and fundraising, to administrative activities and was instrumental in helping us get our new space set up in 2017. She showed up weekend in and weekend out to help out with whatever we were doing. She painted, she helped move furniture and she did it all while sharing that infectious laugh!

Over the years, I’ve watched Vicki and can honestly say she is one of the most hardworking and dedicated people I know. I can’t imagine AARCS without her and we are incredibly fortunate to have her as part of the AARCS family every day! There really are no words to describe what Vicki means to us, and how much we adore her.

Vicki, we truly can not thank you enough for all you do! Thank you for being you, and for saving so many animals over the years!

Rachel Howard
Volunteer Manager