Chinese dog breeds are ancient, mysterious and unique. And a lot of them share one very distinctive appearance trait – and that is the blue-black tongue. The most famous Chinese breeds with blue-black tongue are definitely the Chow Chow and Shar-Pei, but the list does not end here. There is also, for example, the Laizhou Hong, Chongqing Dog, Formosan dog or Chuandog Hound. All these Chinese breeds must have, or at least, they have the chance to have the blue colored tongue.
But what is causing this uniquely colored tongue? Well, even the scientists do not have 100% proof about it, but there are some theories about it.
But before we will talk about the scientific theories, lets mention some old legends explaining this tongue coloration. You know, some of these dogs are extremely old, definitely one of the most ancient breeds we have today. And back than, people created some tales about their dogs tongues.
One of them says that when Buddha was creating the world, Chow Chows were allowed to lick up all the little pieces of blue sky that fell on the earth when the stars were set in their places, so they got their blue tongue from the sky.
Another tale is also linked with Buddhism. On a very cold day, a long time ago, a Buddhist monk became very ill. He was so ill that he was incapacitated and could not go out to get firewood to warm himself. The Chow Chows went out into the cold in search of firewood for the monk, but unfortunately all they could find were charred logs. When they were brought back to their mouths, the charring caused their tongues to turn this bluish-black color.
In reality, the coloration is caused by the presence of pigmented cells, similar to the same types of cells that determine the color of human skin. They share this trait with other animals as well, such as different lizzards, giraffes, several breeds of cattle or bears. And interestingly, the bear similarity might not be coincidental.
Some scientists belive, that all these Chinese dogs share ancestry with some very old and ancient dog type from China, that probably evolved from a so called Hemicyon, also known as dog-bear, an intermediate between bears and their canid ancestors.
Of course, it is practically impossible to scientifically support this idea as a fact, but it is not completely unrealistic neither.
BTW, Chinese dog breeds are not the only dog breeds that can have blue-black tongues. Labradors or Newfoundlands can also have blue or black spots on their tongues, but it is rather rare. But the Chinese breeds, notably the Chow Chow and Shar-Pei must have this blue-black tongue as it is part of their breed standard and it is viewed as a fault, if the tongue have different color.
Are dogs colorblind? Many people believe that dogs only see the world in black and white. Well, that is not true and dogs can really see colors, but they see the world differently than us, than humans. Today i will show you how do dogs see colors, what colors they can see, what is the reason for the difference in color vision and how can you use all these information to make your dogs life better.
Dogs are believed to see the world the way, as you can see in this picture (see in video above). So we could say, that they are colorblind from our perspective, but that does not mean they only see black, grey and white.
To understand why do dogs see the world they do, it is important to understand how we see the colors. People have three color receptors, called cones, that perceive the full range of the visible light spectrum. These color receptors enable to recognize blue, green and red color.
If a person is missing one color receptor, than he is called color blind. He still sees colors, but he will have a problem with some colors and shades and he might for example confuse pink with blue or yellow with green. This is exactly, i am colorblind, but i can see colors. But i have a problem to differentiate between similar shades and similar colors.
And just like color blind person, even dogs only have two color receptors, instead of three. This is the reason why they have problems to see red and green color and shades of these colors, such as pink, purple, and orange. Here you can see compared color spectrum of humans and dogs view.
On the other hand, dogs do not have any problems in seeing shades of blue, brown and yellow. And of course, they can also see black, white and grey.
So if you will be buying your dog a new toy, it is always better to choose blue or yellow toy, instead of red toy. It can also explains, why some dogs will go crazy when they see yellow tennis ball, but they are not so enthusiastic when they see red ball. They can also for example loose a red toy in grass more easily than the same toy in blue color. But of course, some dogs will go crazy for any kind of a ball.
But you do not need to be sad, that your dog is not enjoying the world in the same colors as you do. Keep in mind, that they might have slightly worse sight than you do, but they have much much better hearing and sense of smell, which makes up for the seeing. Andi can guarantee you, as a color blind person, the world is still looking great, even with less colors.
And dogs only have worse vision during the day. At night, they actually have much much better vision than we do. It is because dogs developed their senses as nocturnal hunters, to hunt at night. Thanks to that, they have larger lens and corneal surface and a reflective membrane that enhance the night vision.
So now you know how do dogs see the world. They are not completely colorblind, they just see the world in different spectrum of colors.
One of the reasons why dogs are the most popular companion pets is their incredible loyalty and faithfulness to its owners and family. Some dogs are so loyal that they would protect their families even if it meant giving up their own lives. There are many stories about indivudal dogs who waited for their owners for years even after their human had passed away. There are not many other animals that are like that.
Lets start with the symbol of dogs loyalty, the famous Japanese Akita named Hachiko! Most dog lovers heard about Hachikos loyalty. The popularity of the Hachiko story skyrocketed when his story was filmed. Hachiko used to wait on its owner at the end of each day at the train station. One day, its master died and did not return home. But Hachiko kept his routine and came back every day to the train station to see if his owner come back. He waited on his master for 10 years until his own death.
2) Greyfriars Bobby
Another dog that showed amazing loyalty even after its masters death if Greyfriars Bobby. Bobby was a Skye Terrier that belonged to a night watchman John Gray. When John died and was burried, Bobby would go and spent every night at his masters grave. He was doing it for 14 years until his own death. Today, Bobby has a statue at the entrance to the Kirkyard, Scotland, near the graveyard.
3) Salty and Roselle
We all know about the Septbember 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. And as in all the tragedies, there are some heroic stories as well, and this story is about two service dogs who were in the World Trade Centre during the attacks with their blind owners.
Salty was even released by its owner to go and save herself. But she returned and helped its owner to slowly go downstairs from the 71st floor and saved her life. Roselle was on 78th floor when the attack started. She led her owner and 30 other people down 1,463 steps out of the tower. After descending over half the distance, they passed the firemen who were heading up. Both, Salty and Roselle are true heroes who showed incredible loyalty!
Another incredibly loyal German Shepherd is Kostya from Russia. Kostya was the only survivor of a car crash where her owners sadly died. After some time, people started to notice a stray German Shepherd on the same street and same spot, just where the car accident happened. People tried to adopt Kostya, to rescue her, give her home, but she always refused. She did not want to leave the spot, where she saw her owners for the last time. She was kept going to the same spot for 7 years, until her own death.
5) Bobbie, the Wonder dog
Lets mention one story with happy ending. The story of Bobbie, the Collie mix, also known as the Wonder dog is fairly popular. It is a story of a dog and its family, who went on a road trip from Oregon to Indiana to visit its relatives. In Indiana, Bobbie was attacked by group of other dogs, ran away and get lost. The family tried to find Bobbie for several days before leaving, but they were not succesful.
What a surprise it was, when Bobbie showed six months later in Oregon and returned to its family. He was mangy and dirty and his toenails worn down to nothing. He traveled for more than 4 500 km, which is 2 800 miles to reunite with its family. He traveled over wintry peaks, rivers and vast plains, but he made it!
Dogs loyalty is famous all around the world and story of Waghya comes from India! Founder of Indias Maratha Empire was a big dog lover and he had a loyal dog by his side. The dog was known as Waghya. The legend say, that when the ruler died, the dog mourned and jumped into his owners funeral pyre. Whether if the story is true, or if it is only a legend, it shows that the dogs loyalty is truly valued all over the world.
The story of Delta is very old. Her body was found in the ashes of Pompeii. We do not know what breed she was, but it was some kind of a very large protection dog, possibly Roman war dog. She was wearing a silver collar with three heroic deeds engraved on the collar. She saved her owner Severinus from drowning in the sea, than she fought off attackers who were trying to rob him and she also protected Severinus from a wolf and saved his life for the third time.
The story of Dżok is very sad and it is famous in its homeland, Poland. Dżok was a black mixed breed whose owner suffer a heartattack and died in Krakow on a roundabout. Dżok was waiting his master on this exact spot and in the area close to the roundabout for one year. He was fed by locals, who loved him. One year after waiting on his master, Dżok was adopted by older woman, but not long after the adoption, she died as well. Dzok run away loitering around the railway area and tragically died under the wheels of a moving train.
Gelert is a legendary Welsh dog who has a grave in a city of Beddgelert. Gelerts story is written on the tombstone and it literally reads the following: "In the 13th century Llewelyn, prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert, ‘The Faithful Hound’, who was unaccountably absent. On Llewelyn’s return the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The prince alarmed hastened to find his son and saw the infant’s cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood. The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound’s side, thinking it had killed his heir. The dog’s dying yell was answered by a child’s cry. Llewelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed, but nearby lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain. The prince filled with remorse is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here”.
This story is from Spain. Canelo accompanied his master wherever he went. He often times went to hopsital with its owner as well. Canelo used to wait outside the hopsital for its masters return. One day his master died in the hospital due to medical complications. Canelo patiently waited for its masters return. Not for days, not for weeks or months but for 12 years. Canelo story has a sad ending, because after 12 years of waiting, Canelo was hit by a car infront the hospital and died as well.
Baekgu is a Korean Jindo dog. Jindo dogs are known for their extreme loyalty and homing instict. Baekgu was a dog of 83 years old woman. Baekgu was sold to a new owner to another city located 300 km away. But Baekgu wanted to return to her original owner, escaped and found a way back home. The story is well known in Korea and there are documentaries and cartoon stories about Baekgu.
Adopted dogs are often times the most loyal and Fido is a perfect example. He was adopted as injured puppy by Italian man named Carlo Soriani. He took care of Fido, give him shelter and food and Fido loved him for his kindness. Fido used to accompany his master to a bus station, from where he went to factory where he worked. Fido would wait at the bus stop every day until Carlos return. It is important to say, that this happened during the Second World War and when allies bombed Italy, they also bombed the factory where Carlo worked. Carlo died during this bombing, but Fido did not know that and waited for his masters return. He waited day after day his whole life for 14 years.
No more English Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. At least in Norway, which lately banned selective breeding of these two dog breeds. The group who campaigned for this law was Animal Protection Norway group, who commented it this way:
"The man-made health problems of the bulldog have been known since the early 20th century. This verdict is therefore many years overdue. For many decades, sick dogs have been bred illegally. What is happening here is a systematic and organized betrayal of our four-legged friends. Today it was finally determined that this is a violation of the law."
The lawyers representing the Animal Protection group also stated, that it was no longer possible to maintain the health of the breeds.
It is true, that both breeds are known to suffer a lot from serious health issues and that those health issues only worsen in recent years. The Bulldog is especially prone to breathing health problems, while the Cavaliers are prone to heart conditions. Both dogs also have other issues, such as skin and eye problems.
So the court basically found it cruel to continue selectively breeding these two dogs, so it decided to ban it. They also mentioned, that the solution might be in carefully crossbreeding these breeds with other healthier, but similar breeds, to lower the health issues.
And even though everyone probably agree that something must be done about this, that something must be done with the bad health of many many dog breeds, it is hard to say if this is the right way how to do it.
This will be only my opinion, but i think it is very questionable if banning the breeding of English Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels will actually end the breeding. Or will it only affect the pedigree breeders who actually had the option to change the breed for the good?
I am aware that pedigree breeder does not mean a good and responsible breeder, but they are definitely better than backyard breeders and puppy mills, who seems not to be affected by this law. And even if they would be affected by the law, did any bans ever really banned something for good? There will always be some underground breeders who only care about quick cash and it will be impossible to stop them. If there will be demand for the breeds, there will always be supply.
Also, it seems, that importing these dogs will still be possible, so it will only affect breeders directly in Norway, but if people will still be able to import these dogs from neighboring countries, will it really help the breed? Will it really lower the health issues of these dogs?
Also, i found it quite weird, why is this law only affecting English Bulldogs and Cavaliers. What about Pugs or French Bulldogs? There are many other breeds that suffer so much from the same health issues, but they are not affected at all by this law. Is it really cruel to breed Cavaliers, but is it okay to breed Pugs? But i guess this might be just the beginning and the law might be extended or amended.
The last thing i have problem with is, that this law and especially the articles online that wrote about this law make it seem, that selective breeding is something bad, something that should be avoided, which definitely is not true.
With the exception of few breeds, such as New Guinea Singing Dogs and similar landrace dogs like that, all the breeds we have today are result of selective breeding. They might evolved naturally in the past, but recently, they are all selectively bred. And most of them do not suffer from serious health issues if they are bred responsibly.
The problem is that today, most often, we dont breed dogs for function anymore, but we breed them for appearance. And if the dog is bred for aesthetic purposes, it can truly be cruel. Today we are breeding dogs that once were amazing hunters, protectors or herders for cuteness. To have large eyes, large head, smaller body and other stuff that is considered cute by majority of people. This can all result into bad health in the breed.
And i am happy to see that some country is actually trying to do something with this problem on national level. But i am not sure, if this will have any impact on the health of these dogs. To be honest, i believe nothing will change until people will stop buying unhealthy dogs, only because they are cheaper.
Dogs are very smart animals that are capable of learning many words from ours, humans, vocabulary. But have you ever wondered how many words dogs actually understand? According to a new study made by Applied Animal Behaviour Science, on average dogs understand 89 words and phrases.
89 words is very specific number, so how was this number achieved? Scientists made this research on 165 dog owners, who were given a list of 172 words and phrases dog could understand. Then they would say, if the dog understand the words or not and they could also add some other words into the list.
When i saw that dogs understand 89 words on average, i was pretty surprised as the number seems quite high, but it is nothing in comparsion to the most talented dog from this research, who understands 200 words! That is impressive! And that is still nothing in comparsion to some of the most talented dogs in the world, who could understand approximately 1000 words! But those are dog geniuses, lets get back to the research and to ordinary normal dogs.
Because the research was made on a small sample, it was impossible to say which specific breeds are the most talented, but the researchers divided the dogs into six types, which you can see on the photo.
I think it is not shocking, that herding dogs understand a lot of words, as they belong into smartest dogs in the world. Toy companion dogs are probably bigger surprise, but again, i think there is easy explanation for it.
Toy dogs are very often all day with its owners and many owners talk to their dogs a lot, which is why they have larger vocabulary than some other working dogs, who probably understand certain commands much better, but they do not understand other words.
So the dog type does affect to some extent dogs ability to understand words. What does not affect this ability is age, sex or the social background of the owner.
The statistics also shown that service dogs and other dogs that are profesionally trained had much larger vocabulary than ordinary dogs. It is only logical that for example service dog for blind people must understand more words than ordinary pet, since it is necessary for its utilization.
Most dogs understand to different commands, names, food, toys and games and to certain phrases, such as good boy or lets go out. TOP 10 words, almost all dogs understand are according to the study these words: sit, come, good girl and good boy, down, stay, wait, no, ok and leave it. I am curious if your dog understand all these words as well! And also tell me in comments what is your dogs favourite word! Does your dog understand some words most of other dogs dont understand? I am curious, tell me in comments.
Of course, the research was made on a small sample of owners, so the number 89 is only indicative. Owners could also overestimate the abilities of their dogs, that would also be natural. But it does show us how much are dogs capable of understanding us, which is probably one of the reasons why they are the most popular animal companions in the world! And not only that they understand us verbally, they also got our non verbal comunnication and they understand our emotions as well. They are just amazing.