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Doggy Intelligence

March 1 2024

Have you ever been curious about how smart your dog is? Some of our canine companions are incredibly intelligent. The average dog can learn more than a hundred words and gestures. Some pups can learn up to 250, or even more!  In fact, Fido has nearly the same IQ as a human toddler! A local Hendersonville, NC veterinarian discusses this fascinating topic here.

How Can I Tell if My Dog is Smart?

Are you wondering about how smart your dog is? There are a few methods you can use to put your puppy to the test:

Puzzle Toys: Give Fido a toy that demands him to operate or handle it in a specific way to receive his treat. You might also try hiding kibble or treats under a cup, then trying the Three Cups game with him.

Paw Buttons: These programmable buttons have been making quite a stir in recent years. Some pups are proving to be remarkably adept at this. Give it a try! 

New Tricks: Before you start teaching tricks to your canine companion, you should absolutely start with fundamental obedience commands, such as Sit and Stay. However, when training your pet, keep track of how long it takes him to learn something new.

Wordplay: Do you normally use a specific tone of voice while calling your dog? Say something else with the same tone. The word might be anything. In some ways, randomness is preferable. If Fido ignores you when you cry ‘Barbeque sauce’ or ‘Laundry time!’ but cheers up when he hears his name, he may be pretty bright!

Of course,sometimes people may realize that their pooch isn’t the sharpest doggie in the neighborhood. That’s okay, too! Even if Fido isn’t particularly bright, he’ll make up for it with his adorable personality and devoted friendship!

What Is The Average Doggy IQ?

While we cannot offer Fido written tests, scientists have conducted much research in this area. According to studies, the average dog has an intelligence quotient of around 100. 

Which Dog Has The Greatest Iq?

Breed plays a significant influence on Fido’s intelligence. Several studies and tests have been conducted on this. The same pups have consistently ranked at the top of the list.

Without further adieu:

  • Border Collie
  • Poodle
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Papillon
  • Rottweiler
  • Australian cattle dog.
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Belgian Tervuren
  • Schipperke
  • Collie
  • Keeshond
  • German Shorthaired Pointer.

How Is Canine Intelligence Measured?

Stanley Coren, PhD, published The Intelligence of Dogs in 1994. That landmark book  included the definitive list of smartest dogs. Other studies have been conducted since, and there may be some fluctuation or changes in order, but for the most part, these same dogs are sitting at the top of the hill, panting and looking adorable, as always.

Cohen also divided doggie intelligence into three basic categories. Working Obedience refers to how hard Fido will work to please you. For example, in one study, the sharpest breeds replied to directions correctly more than 95% of the time. The pups that weren’t quite as bright had to be told several times. Adaptive Intelligence describes how a dog’s mental processes evolve in reaction to his surroundings. This could apply to a variety of working dogs, including assistance dogs who work with the visually impaired. An example of this would be a service dog refusing to assist their owner across a street when there is a car approaching, even if told to do so. Instinctive Intelligence assesses how Fido instinctively does what his breed was developed to do. An example of this could be the Border Collie’s propensity of ‘herding’ his humans. The breed was created to herd cattle. 

We’re Still Learning … And So Is Fido

Cohen’s research is still generally accepted, although various additional investigations have given new light on the subject since then. One particularly fascinating study from Helsinki was published in the 2022 Scientific Reports.

From 2016 to 2022, researchers tested over 2350 puppies. The dogs were a mixture of purebreds and mutts. They were all subjected to a battery of tests known as the smartDOG test. The tests assessed several aspects of canine intelligence, such as greeting behavior, activity level, exploratory behavior, learning, memory, inhibitory control, problem-solving, reasoning, and gesture interpretation. 

Many of the outcomes were predictable, particularly for breeds. For example, the Malinois performed well with gestures, as would be expected of a herding dog. Some of the findings were surprising. The Labrador Retriever, for example, despite being regarded as a highly intelligent dog, performed poorly. Talk about a plot twist! 

What Are The Least Intelligent Dog Breeds?

Okay, before we get into this one, we must state unequivocally that we adore all of our canine patients. Fido doesn’t necessarily need to know how to fetch certain items or follow sophisticated commands to be a wonderful pet!

However, if you’re wondering which dog breeds are the least intellectual, we’ve got that list as well.

  • Basset Hound
  • Mastiff
  • Beagle
  • Pekingese and bloodhounds.
  • Borzoi Chow Chow Bulldog
  • Basenji
  • Afghan Hound

Of course, these puppies are still excellent boys who deserve treats, attention, and belly rubs just like any other dog. However, if your canine companion is one of these, we recommend being especially cautious when it comes to petproofing, and perhaps adopting a few extra safety steps. Ask your Hendersonville, NC vet for more information.

Who Are the Smartest Dogs in the World?

We’ve already identified the smartest breeds, so this time we’ll focus on some smart individual pups.

Two Border Collies are at the top of the list. First, we have Chaser. This remarkable puppy was able to learn to recognize over 1000 objects by name! Chaser was part of a training program at Wofford College. Rico, another Border Collie, also made headlines with his intelligence. Rico knew more than 200 words!

Of course, Chaser and Rico are playing second and third violin to another animal: a Budgie named Puck. The feathered fluffball learned more than 1700 words!

These aren’t the only two dogs with impressive intelligence. There are numerous examples of beautiful puppies. One need just glance at the average service dog to realize that our canine companions are highly intelligent. These incredible canines can perform a variety of jobs, like navigating people past obstacles, delivering mail, and turning off lights.

That being said, here are some more ‘pawesome’ puppies:

Fellow: This German Shepherd captured the heart of Jacob Herbert when he was just a puppy. Herbert was impressed by the dog’s intellect and trained him to follow very specific directions like “Go Into The Back Room” and “Jump Over the Sofa.”

Colonel: This Denver dog belonged to Charles Kestler, the operator of the Merchants’ Hotel.  Colonel’s favorite thing to do was play with his ball, which Kestler kept in his writing desk drawer. Colonel sat beside the desk, hoping someone would play with him. When no one got the hint, he took matters into his own hands and worked out how to open the drawer. This involved going under and behind the desk, standing on his back legs, and forcing the drawer open!

Gander: This puppy is known for both his brains and fearlessness. Gander, who was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, rose to prominence after assisting Canadian soldiers during World War II. He was noted for repeatedly charging at the adversary. The heroic dog even picked up a live grenade and carried it away from his soldier pals,  sacrificing his life to save theirs.

Have you got any questions about your dog’s health or care? Please feel free to contact us at any time. As your local Hendersonville, NC animal clinic, we are here to assist!