Fun Dogfish Shark Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Dogfish Shark Facts For Kids

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Have you heard of a fish called spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias)? This fish species name is something new to hear. Dogfishes from the order Squaliformes, are found mostly in shallow waters and further offshore in most parts of the world. What's more interesting is their adorable features of a dog-like appearance. Dogfish shark species is native to the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean regions also known as the piked dogfish. The dwindling population of spiny dogfish has led to it being categorized as a globally vulnerable species.

Here are some of the most interesting facts about the dogfish (Squalus acanthias). Afterward, do check our other articles on the spiny dogfish and great white shark.

Fun Dogfish Shark Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Crustaceans, jellyfish, squid, and schooling fish

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

Up to 8 lb (3.6 kg)

How long are they?

3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Gray shark with a slim body, two dorsal fins, and pectoral fins with black tips

Skin Type

Slippery skin

What were their main threats?

Water Pollution, Habitat Changes, Damage, And Loss Due To Coastal Development

What is their conservation status?

Vulnerable (Globally) Critically Endangered (northeast section of the Atlantic Ocean)

Where you'll find them?

Ponds, Lakes, Rivers, Canals, Seas, Dams


Western Atlantic Ocean, North Pacific Ocean









Dogfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a dogfish?

The dogfish (Squalus acanthias) is a type of fish that belongs to the family Squalidae and order squaliformes. The fish has dorsal fins but they do not have anal fins and have white spots on their back. Dogfish are also consumed as human food in most parts of the world. The piked dogfish shark can be found in the western Atlantic, eastern Indian, and eastern Pacific oceans.

What class of animal does a dogfish belong to?

The dogfish (Squalus acanthias) belongs to the class of cartilaginous fishes family Squalidae. They are known as small schooling sharks which form groups of hundreds or thousands of individuals of the same sex and size.

How many dogfish are there in the world?

The dogfish (Squalus acanthias) is the second largest order of sharks as there are a total of 119 species of the same. There is no accurate and rough number as to how many spiny dogfishes there are in the world. There are different factors that determine the number of dogfishes.

Where does a dogfish live?

Spiny dogfish live in different parts of the Pacific Ocean and they live everywhere where there is sharp water such as seas, rivers, canals, lakes, dams, ponds, and in almost every place wherever there is water. The dogfish can be found in North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans, Western Atlantic, Florida, and between Nova Scotia and Cape Hatteras covering the western hemisphere.

What is a dogfish's habitat?

The spiny dogfish habitat consists of seas, rivers, canals, lakes, dams, ponds, and in almost every place wherever there is water. Spiny dogfish prefer to live in places where there is water everywhere.

Who do dogfish live with?

Spiny dogfish species are social animals and travel in a group of hundreds to thousands of individuals. The groups are then separated by the sex and age of dogfishes. Spiny dogfishes are known as dogfishes as they hunt and travel in packs. Therefore, dogfishes live in social groups and come together during the time of mating with their partners.

How long does a dogfish live?

The total length or lifespan of the dogfish (Squalus acanthias) is around 20-24 years which is based on different factors which determine the age and lifespan of the dogfish. There are records that some dogfishes have lived for up to 50 years.

How do they reproduce?

Spiny dogfish species mate via aplacental viviparity and then females bear live young. The gestation period for the females is about 18-24 months after mating in the winter season. The male dogfish reach the maturity level at 11 years old and the females reach the maturity level at the age of 19-20 years.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) is critically endangered in the Western Atlantic Ocean and vulnerable in other regions of its habitat, including the Pacific Ocean. Conservation efforts are required to maintain a stable population of spiny dogfish in the Pacific Ocean as well as other habitat regions.

Dogfish Fun Facts

What do dogfish look like?

The spiny dogfish has a slender sharp body with pointed fins and is a compact shark. The skin of dogfishes is grey to brown on top and then becomes pale or even white, and there are small spots on the belly that goes down each side of the body. There is a sharp spine present in front of each of their dorsal fins. The dogfish's head shape is flat, rendering them a menacing appearance.

Dogfish Shrak


How cute are they?

The dogfish are very cute in appearance as they are somewhat similar to the shape of sharks.

How do they communicate?

Just like how we human beings communicate with each other, the dogfish convey messages with the help of smell, electrical impulses, motion, bioluminescence, color, and sound. The communication is done in order to communicate the messages, navigate, keep predators away, and also during the times of spawning.

How big is a dogfish?

Dogfishes are not much big in size as compared to the other species. They are slim and have snouts that are narrow and pointed and also white spots. They have two dorsal fins and spines that are large. The length of male dogfishes is approximately 3.3 ft (1.0 m) long and the length of females is approximately 4 ft (1.2 m).

How fast can a dogfish swim?

There is no mention of how fast a spiny dogfish can swim. Spiny dogfish swim accordingly and tend to swim faster when they see their predator approaching them in the Pacific Ocean.

How much does a dogfish weigh?

As the spiny dogfish is very small in size, they weigh very little according to their body size. The spiny dogfish weighs around 8 lb (3.6 kg) which is based on their eating habits.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific and particular name for the male and the female spiny dogfish. Therefore, they are known as male spiny dogfish and female spiny dogfish only.

What would you call a baby dogfish?

There is no accurate and particular name so as to what a baby dogfish is called. The young ones are known as juveniles as well. But there is no mention of any specific name.

What do they eat?

These spiny dogfish are predators that feed on crustaceans, jellyfish, squid, and schooling fish which is a part of their diet.

Are they poisonous?

Whilst not poisonous, spiny dogfish are venomous as they can inject venom into predators through their spines located near the dorsal fins. They are harmless to humans as they are unable to bite.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, you can keep spiny dogfish as a pet in the house tanks with the other sharks that are smaller in size. You can pet them, but they will usually eat any of the smaller fish that are kept in the tank with them. So, just make sure that you’re careful when you pet a spiny dogfish in your house tank as they are harmful to the other fishes in the house tank.

Did you know...

They are the largest known species in the family of dogfishes. There are hundreds of dogfishes that swim together during the day and hunt for their prey in the western Pacific ocean. Even when the newly born dogfishes are young, they hunt for the fishes which are two to three times their size. Female dogfishes have one of the longest gestation periods of any other vertebrate.

The spiny dogfish is edible and is a staple in many regions.

Different types of dogfish

There are different types of dogfishes that are there and are widely known by people. There are a total population species of five fishes in the family are spiny dogfish, Spurdogs, Mandarin dogfish, Cirrhigaleus, and Roughskin spurdog. Therefore, there are a total of five types of dogfish that are known. The rock salmon is a popular fish species in the Pacific ocean.

Why are they called dogfish?

Spiny dogfish got their name as fishermen have named the dogfish after they observe them chasing down the smaller fishes in dog-like packs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these paddlefish facts and Porbeagle shark facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable dogfish shark coloring pages.

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