9 Common Myths About Dogs

The American Kennel Club helps debunk some common dog stereotypes and gives the truth about some of our favorite four-legged friends.

Myth #1

You can calculate your dog’s human age by adding seven years for every dog year.


If only it were that easy! To determine a dog’s human age, you need to factor in their breed and weight. The larger the dog, the shorter they live. For example, a small-breed dog (under 21 pounds) that is 2 years old would be 20 years old. However, a 2-year-old large breed (over 90 pounds) would be 24 years old. Small dogs under 20 pounds will live the longest, while big dogs, like Great Danes, will only live an average of seven years.

Myth #2

Greyhounds need a lot of exercise.


Many people believe that greyhounds are strictly racing dogs that run around a horse track all day. Greyhounds by nature are couch potatoes that love to curl up with you and watch TV. While greyhounds require about 30 minutes of exercise a day, it can be as simple as a leisurely walk.

Myth #3

You need to shave down heavy-coated dog breeds in the summer to help them stay cool.


Shaving heavy-coated breeds like Siberian huskies or malamutes will make them hotter in the summertime. In addition to preventing sunburn, the protective coat insulates their bodies in both hot and cold weather.

Myth #4

Dobermans, Rottweilers, and Bully Breeds are aggressive.


No dog is aggressive based on its breed alone. Dangerous dogs are created by owners through irresponsible socialization or illegal dog fighting. Any dog is capable of fighting, it’s the deed, not the breed.

Myth #5

You can’t housetrain toy breeds.


Breeds like poodles, Yorkshire terriers, chihuahuas and other little dogs are often babied by owners who aren’t as persistent about housetraining as they might be with a larger dog. Since it’s more noticeable if a larger dog has an accident on the rug, there’s more of a motivation for people to train them right away. Little breeds can be trained. Just be patient and let them prove that they can do it.

Myth #6

Pugs are lazy.


Because pugs don’t require a lot of exercise, they’re often thought to be lazy like other traditional lap dogs. Pugs are bred as companion dogs. They’re ready to sit on your lap or join you to go for a walk. But even though they’re not going to run several miles with you, they are far from lazy.

Myth #7

Pit Bulls don’t feel pain.


Like humans, all dogs will feel pain when they’re injured. Unfortunately, illegal dog fighting brings along misconceptions about dogs, like pit bulls, that were abused to engage in the activity.

Myth #8

Shelties are Mini Collies.


Shelties resemble mini collies, but they are in fact different from the collie. While both were farm dogs used to herd sheep, Shelties stem from the Shetland Islands and collies come from Scotland, where they each developed differently.

Myth #9

Saint Bernards can’t live indoors.


Saint Bernards were originally bred as avalanche dogs that rescued travelers during snowstorms in the Swiss Alps. With their physical strength and heavy coats, Saint Bernards still thrive outdoors today, but they also make great family dogs indoors.

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