March brings many things to look forward to! One, in particular, St. Patrick’s Day! This beloved holiday is the creator of many legends and myths such as Leprechauns, pots of gold at the end of rainbows and lucky four-leaf clovers. Almost everyone has a myth or tale to share, even those with furry tails! So with the St. Patty’s Day folklore in the air, here are 5 dog myths about your best friend, where they started, and if they have been proven!
Dog Myth #1:
Dogs’ Mouths Are Cleaner Than Ours
From a young age, we have heard the saying “A dog’s mouth is cleaner than that of a human.” If you’re like me, you grew up thinking that to be true. However, when really thinking about what a dog puts into its mouth or picks up from the ground, how true could that be? Well, it’s not! The myth originated when people noticed dogs wounds healed faster when they licked themselves. In reality, wounds heal faster because the dog is essentially removing the dead tissue. Granted, they are also introducing new bacteria as they do this, but their rough tongues help stimulate the wound. Even though their mouths aren’t cleaner than ours, don’t fret if you’ve kissed your share of pups! The bacteria and germs dogs carry are usually canine specific and won’t cause you any harm. Keeping your dog healthy with routine checks and vaccinations helps avoid any issues.
Dog Myth #2:
Dogs Are Pack Animals
A dog’s common ancestor as we all know is the wolf, specifically the gray wolf. They share approximately 99.96% of their DNA and although they can produce hybrid offspring, they are different species. Dogs are domesticated while wolves are wild. Domestication began over many thousands of years and this very thing is what makes dogs non-pack animals. Domesticated means “of the house”; therefore there is no struggle for access to resources. Dogs have been bred to have more fluid social relationships than wolves and can develop bonds with not only their species but other species as well. The millions of videos on YouTube of cute dogs interacting with other animals is proof of that!
Dog Myth #3:
Dogs Only See In Black and White
The full origins of this tale are not known but most have heard this myth. It is believed it started due to lack of knowledge of the canine eye and its functions. In today’s world we do know that dogs do in fact see in color; however not in the way you and I do. A canine’s color vision has been compared to red-green colorblindness in humans and dogs see primarily in blue and variations of gray, yellow and green. The types of cones in the canine retina allow dogs to see color best on the blue spectrum.
Dog Myth #4:
We Have To Display Dominance Over a Dog
This next dog myth ties into the wolf pack persona we tend to have about dogs, thinking of them as “wild” because of their ancestors. Backtracking to #2, we learned dogs are non-pack animals due to domestication. To go a little further, the law of nature that applies to all animals is as follows: secure territory, find resources and reproduce. Dogs are genetically programmed to accept humans and living with us they have no need to compete for resources. Most have zero interest in being the leader of the household. If their needs are provided for and they live stable, predictable lives, that is all they need to be happy. Therefore, there is no need to assert dominance over dogs.
Dog Myth #5:
Certain Breeds Are More Aggressive Than Others
Complete myth! Unfortunately, there are dog breeds that have a bad reputation and carry a stigma with them, so the common consensus is that ‘those’ specific breeds are more aggressive and therefore dangerous. While larger breeds could be more dangerous if they display aggressive behavior, ANY breed can show aggression. You could quote Freud’s theory of nature versus nature. The breed is not the issue, but rather the way the dog is treated and brought up by humans.
Did some of these dog myths sound familiar? Or were you shocked to learn they were debunked? What dog myths have you heard or even experience? Share them with us in the comments below.