How much do you know about dogs? Test your knowledge of canine facts with our fun quiz
By Kim Campbell Thornton
1. What's the largest litter of puppies ever born to a domestic dog?
2. A dog whose coat is any color or pattern plus white spotting is said to be what?
a. Irish spotted
3. True or false: Dogs with droopy ears have more ear infections than dogs with upright ears.
4. The term "sennenhunds" refers to which of the following group of dogs?
a. Saint Bernard, Rottweiler, Leonberger and mastiff
b. Alpine herdsman's dog, dachshund, kooikerhondje and hovawart
c. Appenzell mountain dog, Bernese mountain dog, Entlebucher and greater Swiss mountain dog
d. Swiss hound, small Swiss hound, Saint Bernard and Alpine mastiff
5. True or false? The Australian shepherd was developed in Australia.
6. The dog who guards the gates of the underworld is named what?
7. Dogs were domesticated how long ago?
a. 33,000 years
b. 15,000 years
c. 12,500 years
d. All of the above
8. What term is used to refer to dogs with narrow heads and long muzzles?
9. The sound that hounds on the trail make is called what?
1. b. A Neapolitan mastiff named Tia gave birth to a whopping 24 puppies in November 2004, setting a world record that has yet to be broken. Luckily for Tia, they were delivered by caesarean section.
2. a, b, c, d. If you chose any of these answers, you are correct. Bicolor dogs can have a little white or a lot, but the term Irish spotting typically applies to dogs with a specific symmetrical pattern of white markings, such as the Boston terrier's white muzzle band, white blaze between the eyes and over the head, white collar and white forechest. Some breeds have their own distinct terms for this pattern. For instance, English toy spaniels with a red and white coat are called blenheims.
3. Unproven. Anecdotally, veterinarians and pet owners see more ear infections in dogs with hanging ears, but no scientific study has proven it. Allergies are probably the main cause of canine ear problems, and they don't discriminate by ear type.
4. c. All four of these dogs are Swiss breeds. They were used for herding, pulling carts, driving cattle and guarding the farmstead. They all have a tricolor coat of black and white with rust-colored markings.
5. False. When 19th-century American ranchers imported Australian sheep, the flocks were tended by Basque shepherds and their blue herding dogs. Because of their association with the Australian sheep, the dogs became known as Australian shepherds, but they belong to a distinctly American breed.
6. b. Three-headed Cerberus guards the gates to Hades, ensuring that no one gets in -- or out -- who's not supposed to.
7. d. The current answer is "We don't know," but there are good theories for each of the possible answers. One genomic study of 58 modern wolves and dogs suggests that dogs originated in China approximately 33,000 years ago. Another theory is that dogs were domesticated between 12,500 and 15,000 years ago, not once, but twice, in Western Europe and in Asia, with the dogs eventually meeting and interbreeding.
8. b. The word dolichocephalic is used to describe dogs such as Salukis or collies. Brachycephalic dogs such as pugs or bulldogs have a broad head with a short muzzle. Beagles and similar breeds are mesaticephalic, meaning they have a medium-width head with a medium-length muzzle.
9. c. Baying. The deep, melodious sound is poetically described as mountain music.
Q: What should I know about caring for my new leopard gecko? -- via Facebook
A: We love lizards, and leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius, to give them their scientific name) are deservedly popular. Their name comes, of course, from their spotted skin, but another distinctive characteristic is moveable eyelids, a trait that distinguishes them from other geckos.
Leopard geckos come from desert regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, so they need a toasty habitat. A 10- to 20-gallon tank is an appropriate size for one to three geckos. Be sure only one of them is male, or they will fight. They are solitary creatures, so don't feel as if you have to provide yours with a buddy.
Establish a temperature range of 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit at one end of the tank, with a cooler area of 75 to 80 degrees at the other end. Good bedding for these ground-dwelling lizards includes newspaper, pea gravel, artificial turf or flat stones. Avoid sand with young geckos; it can cause impaction if they ingest it. A hide box lined with damp moss gives him a place to cool off and ensures that he can shed his skin easily.
Fresh water is important, too. Provide it in a shallow dish that's easy for your gecko to access, and change it daily. Check the bedding and replace it if it gets wet.
Geckos eat live insects, but not just any old bug. The best choices are crickets, waxworms or king mealworms. An adult leopard gecko doesn't need to eat every day; depending on his size, a meal of three to seven of these insects three times a week is adequate. Juveniles need five to 10 insects daily to fuel their growth. To ensure that he doesn't develop any nutritional deficiencies, dust your gecko's insects with a powdered vitamin and mineral supplement recommended by your veterinarian. -- Dr. Marty Becker
Do you have a pet question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker.
Feline stats: Cats
by the numbers
-- There are an estimated 74 million to 96 million owned cats in the United States. Approximately 30 to 37 percent of all U.S. households have a cat, according to the American Pet Products Association. A study by the American Humane Association found that 41 percent of cat owners got their cat from a friend, relative or neighbor. The people most likely to consider getting a cat are between 18 and 34 years old. Of potential cat owners, 56 percent said they would adopt their next cat from a shelter or rescue group.
-- Forget Uber or Lyft. Pet ambulance services are the next big thing in transportation. The services don't just transport animals to the hospital in an emergency. The specially trained staff -- maybe they should be called PETs, for Pet Emergency Technicians -- are certified in animal first aid and CPR, but they are also available to help people who don't drive themselves, whose animals are too large or difficult for the owner to handle or animals who need special care such as oxygen during transportation. The service may be covered by some pet insurance plans.
-- The mountains of western North Carolina are the birthplace of one of America's homegrown breeds: the Plott. He's unique among the coonhound breeds for his German heritage. The Plott's ancestors were five Hanoverian schweisshunden -- similar to a bloodhound -- who were brought to North Carolina in 1750 by German immigrant Johannes Georg Plott. The tenacious hunting dogs, who can work any terrain from swamps to mountains, have been the official state dog of North Carolina since 1989. Loyal and intelligent, Plotts love children and have a more protective personality than most hounds. They are highly active, enjoy digging and have a long, loud, drawn-out bark, so think twice before deciding a Plott is the right dog for you.
ABOUT PET CONNECTION
Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet-care experts headed by "The Dr. Oz Show" veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and award-winning journalist Kim Campbell Thornton. They are affiliated with Vetstreet.com and are the authors of many best-selling pet-care books. Joining them is dog trainer and behavior consultant Mikkel Becker. Dr. Becker can be found at Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker or on Twitter at DrMartyBecker. Kim Campbell Thornton is at Facebook.com/KimCampbellThornton and on Twitter at kkcthornton. Mikkel Becker is at Facebook.com/MikkelBecker and on Twitter at MikkelBecker.