Dog Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Dogs are the most commonly owned pet in the United States. Learn about this beloved species and how they are used as pets, dogs in the wild and famous dogs in history!

All About Dogs

Is there a better feeling than coming home to your dog greeting you at the door? They are called 'man's best friend', and they have certainly done a lot to earn that title. However, dogs are much more than America's most popular pet. By definition, dogs are mammals and carnivores (meat eaters). They usually have long snouts, an amazing sense of smell, and communicate by barking, howling or whining. Many researchers believe that they were the world's first domesticated animal, meaning they were the first to be kept as a pet.

Dogs as Pets

Dogs are the most commonly owned pet in the United States. In fact, somewhere between 37-47% of homes in the United States have at least one dog. It is estimated that there are 70-80 million total dogs owned in the United States! There are thousands of different breeds of dogs that people own, but the top three in the United States are Labradors, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers.

Labradors are medium-sized dogs that are active, friendly and outgoing. These high-energy dogs have short, thick coats, a medium-sized tail, and are loved for their kind eyes. German Shepherds make great guard dogs and are easy to train. For this reason, German Shepherds are frequently trained by the police and are part of the canine unit. Golden Retrievers are devoted, friendly and intelligent dogs with thick, long, blonde coats and are also used as guide dogs for the blind.

A German Shepherd training to be an attack dog for the police

Dogs in the Wild

Many people do not know that dogs are actually a type of wolf. Wild dogs, or feral dogs, do not make great pets and are best left to live in their natural habitats. Some examples of wild dogs are wolves, coyotes and jackals. Wild dogs are typically much more aggressive than domesticated dogs. For example, wolves finish maturing when they are 2 to 3 years old. Therefore, they are set in their ways and become very independent. This would make it nearly impossible for them to follow the commands of a human owner.

A jackal in its natural habitat

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