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Did you know…

In 1957, a dog named Laika became the very first animal to orbit the earth.
Laika (literally translated as “Barker”) was a Soviet space dog which was launched into space on November 3, 1957.

The stray dog which was found wandering the streets of Moscow, underwent training with two other dogs and was eventually chosen to be the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2. As there was very little known about the impact of spaceflight on living creatures at the time of Laika’s mission, there was no expectation of Laika’s survival and she was very likely to have died only hours after launch from overheating.

On April 11, 2008, Russian officials unveiled a monument in her honour. The monument features a dog standing on top of a rocket and is located near the military research facility in Moscow which prepared Laika’s launch into space.

Quite Interesting Facts!



Dogs are domesticated wolves – all 400 breeds belong to the same species, Canius lupus familiaris. They were domesticated by humans towards the end of the last Ice Age, about 15,000 years ago. There is fossil evidence that domestication might first have happened even earlier, over 33,000 years ago, but none of the breeds from that era survived the onset of the cold. Dogs may have domesticated themselves by scavenging human rubbish dumps and becoming gradually less scared of humans (like coyotes). Tameness was rewarded with a regular supply of food. once humans realised dogs’ other uses, we started selective breeding for particular behaviors and this led to today’s breeds. What a wolf needs all in one package – aggression, speed, tracking, tearing, digging and carrying – we fine tuned into hounds, terriers, greyhounds and retrievers.

Best Friends

So dogs are essentially juvenile wolves. The effect of domestication on wolves was to shrink their brains by 10 per cent. They have floppier ears, smaller skulls, shorter snouts and a more playful disposition. But they may have also changed the size of our heads. over the last 15,000 years, the size of the human brain has gradually shrunk by about 25 per cent. One theory is that with the rise of civilisation we have become more sedentary and our bodies have become smaller and weaker, so the brain has followed. But this shrinking may be due in part to the fact that we have outsourced many of our hunting skills – tracking, chasing, herding – to dogs, so we have needed less brain capacity. Dogs and humans have helped to tame each other. Or, to put it another way, dogs have given us the time to sit and think rather than just hunt and gather.


Dogs vary in size from a few inches tall, in the case of the Chihuahua, to more than 3ft in the case of the Great Dane. In theory, these two breeds could mate with each other. The Dachshund’s sausage like body enables it to pursue badgers into their burrows (badger is dachs in German). Louis Doberman a nightwatchman, produced his watchdog in the late 1800s. The basset hound’s name comes from the French word bas for “low” and refers to its low-slung stature.

Labradors were first bred by Newfoundland fishermen to haul fishing nets back to shore and were called St John’s water dogs. In the early 19th Century the Earl of Malmesbury bought some to England to retrieve the ducks he hunted. He called them his Labradors and the name stuck. Poodles were also used for duck hunting and get their name from the German word pudeln, which meant “to splash”. The fox-sized Norwegian puffin dog, or Lundehund, can climb cliffs and use its six jointed and muscled toes to retrieve puffins from their burrow.


A dog’s sense of smell is not only many times better than a human’s: it outperforms even the best odour-detecting machines. The best such machine can detect one part per billion. A dog can scent out one part per quadrillion. Dogs are basically walking noses and can be trained to find anything by smell: explosives, drugs, smuggled animals, plants and food, landmine’s, drowned bodies, they can even smell cancer. Doctors in California have found that Labrador’s and Portuguese water dogs can detect lung and breast cancer with greater accuracy than equipment such as mammograms and CAT scans. The dogs identified 99% of lung cancer sufferers and 88% of breast cancer patients simply by smelling their breath.


Some dogs walk in a circle before curling up to sleep. This might be a relic of their wild past – wild dogs and wolves circle to squash down the grass and make a bed, disturbing bugs and snakes in the process. Wolves also sleep in a tight circle to keep warm.


Dogs wag their tails when sad as well as when happy. You can tell by the direction it wags in: cheerful dogs wag more to the right and sad dogs more to the left.

“A happy dog is a well exercised dog”.


Small quantities of grapes and raisins can cause renal failure in dogs. Chocolate, macadamia nuts, cooked onions, or anything with caffeine can also be harmful. Apple and pear seeds contain arsenic, which may be deadly to dogs.