If you’re a dog parent, you may know everything there is to know about dogs, but are you keen on facts about puppies?
New-born puppies activate our brain’s “aww” response with their big eyes and heads attached to their stubby bodies. These fur babies grab our attention, we love looking at them, and on a more scientific level, they trigger neural activity associated with how our brain reacts to rewards and our sense of compassion and empathy.
In humans and other creatures, this response is an evolved, natural behavior that motivates adults to take care of helpless infants and to be more sensitive to their unique needs. In fact, a recent study found that puppies reach peak cuteness levels at eight weeks of age; this is the time when their canine moms begin to allow them to fend for themselves.
Doesn’t reading about puppies make your heart melt? If so, you’re in for a treat! Keep reading to learn nine interesting facts about puppies that you may not know about.
1. The Word “Puppy” is Derived from French
The word “puppy” made its first appearance in English dictionaries in the late 16th century. Etymologists believe that this word comes from the French word poupée, which means doll or toy. Before the 16th century, English speakers called new-born pups “whelps.” One of Shakespeare’s works, King John, popularized the term “puppy-dog.”
2. Yes, Puppies Also Have Baby Teeth
Unless you’ve raised a puppy, you may not know that they grow baby teeth, much like human babies. Like most mammals, newborn pups are born without any teeth. At approximately 2-4 weeks of age, a puppy’s 28 baby teeth begin to grow. At around 12-16 weeks of age, these baby teeth naturally fall out. Once a pup turns six months old, they’ll be sporting a complete set of 42 adult teeth.
3. Puppies Love to Sleep. A Lot.
Similar to children, puppies need lots of sleep—we’re talking 15-20 hours worth of shut-eye! According to the American Kennel Club, dog parents should resist the urge to wake up their sleeping pups because sleep is critical for their young developing brains, muscles, and immune systems. We recommend setting up a designated sleeping area for your young one so that they can get undisturbed beauty rest.
4. Puppies Are Born Fully Death and Blind
On day one of a puppy’s birth, their eyes are completely shut, and their ear canals are closed. Why? Well, it’s part of an evolutionary process. Since pregnancy impacts a dog’s ability to hunt, they evolved to have short gestation periods. Short-term pregnancies mean that canine moms wouldn’t need to take extended breaks from hunting. Since a dog embryo spends only two months in their mom’s womb, puppies aren’t born fully developed, affecting the formation of their eyes and ears.
5. Dalmation Puppies Are Born Spot-Less
That’s right, everyone’s favorite spotted dog, the Dalmatian, is born without its iconic spotting. We know, this fact is a lot to process. These special dogs arguably have the most recognizable coat of any breed, but this status is reserved for adult Dalmatians only. Newly born Dalmatians are born white and spotless, and their markings develop after their first month.
6. Humans Absolutely Fall for “Puppy Eyes,” and Puppies Know It
Those cute “puppy eyes” aren’t a fictional expression of canine emotion—they’re an intentional ploy to get your attention. Puppies know that by raising their eyebrows to make their eyes look bigger and sadder, it will make them irresistible to us. According to this study by the University of Portsmouth, they’re more likely to make the “puppy eyes” facial expression when humans are watching. And it works.
After all, shelter puppies who perform the “puppy eyes” trick are more likely to get adopted faster than dogs who don’t employ the same expression.
7. Double Trouble: Puppies Can Have Twins
Until four years ago, no one was able to prove that identical twin pups exist. Four years ago, in South Africa, Kurt de Cramer, a veterinarian, noticed an abnormality when performing a C-section on a pregnant Irish Wolfhound. When it comes to most canine pregnancies, every puppy gets their own placenta, but de Cramer noticed that two out of seven puppies from the wolfhounds’ litter shared one placenta. Later on, testing verified that the puppies were born genetically identical! This was the first confirmed case of identical twin puppies ever.
8. Some Dog Breeds Birth Bigger Litters than Others
This fact may sound self-explanatory, but smaller dog breeds usually have smaller litters, whereas bigger dogs give birth to more pups. A Neopolitan Mastiff gave birth through a C-section to a batch of 24 puppies in England 16 years ago; this is the biggest pup litter on record. It’s important to note that on rare occasions, small dogs do give birth to large litters, though. For example, a Chihuahua from England gave birth to a whopping 10 puppies—twice as many as anticipated. Each one weighed under 2.5 ounces.
9. Puppies Do Care About Baby Talk
Similar to babies, puppies love baby talk. In 2017, 30 women were asked to look at pictures of puppies and say the lines, “Hi! Hello cutie! Who’s a cute boy?” in a high vocal register. The researchers played these recordings for ten older dogs and ten puppies. To no one’s surprise, most of the young fur babies darted to the speaker when they heard these recordings. On the other hand, the older dogs ignored these recordings altogether. Go figure!
Puppies and Grown Dogs Alike Can Tell When Humans Love Them
Since baby talk goes a long way with young pups, just imagine how much they appreciate other sweet gestures? Dogs can tell just how much we love them. According to Dr. Brian Hare, author of several books pertaining to canine cognition, dogs have emotions and feelings just like we do. In fact, when you stare at your fur baby, both of your oxytocin levels rise, similar to when you pet and play with them. It’s essential to shower them with treats, toys, and snuggles.
Give Your Pups the Gift of Plush Paws Products
Puppies are cute, fascinating creatures that everyone universally loves, and we hope you enjoyed learning facts about puppies. As a pup parent, you should start spoiling your little one while they’re still growing! Push Paws Products boasts a premium selection of dog products, such as velvet car seat covers to keep your dog comfortable on the go. Browse the rest of our expansive selection today.