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I subscribe to a newsletter from purebredbreeders.com. This was an article they sent. Very interesting. Although we have a "mixed-breed", our two breeds are in the top 10 smartest breeds. At the end of the article it suggests some "games" to try to see if your dog is really smart or just so-so. The games looked like fun and I think our babies would love doing them.
Dog Smarts - Do you have Einstein or Stooge?
You might think you have the smartest pup in the dog park. He comes when he's called, sits when commanded, doesn't tear up your favorite shoes, and even performs his best "roll-over" trick for guests. Or maybe you're wondering if your dog is clueless - not knowing the difference between "sit" or "stay," and sometimes forgetting his own name. Doggie intelligence, like human intelligence is hard to define.
A dog's mental ability is similar to a toddler between 2 to 2.5 years of age, but when it comes to canine intelligence - breed does matter. Different dogs are good at different things. Some dogs are bred to herd cattle, others have webbed feed and are better swimmers, while some are better trackers. Every dog has instinctive behaviors that are attributed to their breeds.
What is doggie intelligence?
Brian Hare, founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center and author for The Genius of Dogs, says most pet owners have a misconception between "smart" and "dumb" dogs, and will underestimate their pup's wits.
Everyone has a different perception of intelligence. Some might think a smart dog will fetch you the morning paper, others might assume a dog who can open doors is Einstein reincarnated in your furry pal. The ability to learn and obey commands is not the only way to measure canine intelligence.
Dog expert and author of The Intelligence of Dogs, Stanley Coren defines canny canines into three categories: adaptive, instinctive, and working/obedience intelligence. In his bestselling book, Coren tested 110 breeds and had over 200 professional dog obedience judges rank them based on their working/obedience intelligence (View list below.)
Adaptive intelligence measures what a dog can do for himself. This type of intelligence is specific to problem-solving, understanding language, and your pups ability to learn and recognize relationships.
Instinctive intelligence is embedded into a dog's genetic code. It's based on what the dog was bred to do. For example, border collies are herding dogs which are known for rounding up animals, keeping them close, and giving them a sort of direction. This ingrained skill is breed specific to herding dogs such as Sheep dogs, collies, German shepherds, Corgis, ect.
How well can your dog can follow commands? This school-like learning ability is based on what the dog can do when instructed by humans. When most people think of dog smarts, they think of a well-trained dog who can respond to commands. A dog who correctly responds to a command is showing his obedience intelligence.
World's Smartest Dog
Meet Chaser, a 9-year-old border collie who knows 1,000 words. Formally known as "the most scientifically important dog in over a century," she knows nouns and actions. Just like any other dog, she loves to play, but her ability to understand human language sets her apart from most canines. She can interpret sentences with three elements of grammar, for example "To ball, take Frisbee" and she also learns by imitation. When her owner John W. Pilley says "Watch what I do. Now you do it," she is able to mimic the behavior. Like all dogs, training Chaser requires lots of consistency, attention, rewards, and affection.
(Image source: TIMES.COM VIA Dana Cubbage Photography )
Top 10 Brightest Breeds:
These top breeds were able to understand commands in less than five repetitions and obeyed them 95% of the time or better.
These breeds had to hear the commands 80-100 times more before they obeyed them 25% or less of the time.
So what does this mean? If you have an Afghan Hound, you're living with a Stooge - No. Quite the opposite. Afghan Hounds are one of the oldest dog breeds in existence. They were bred to hunt, making them extremely fast and agile runners.
There is no one clear-cut way to determine how smart a dog is, but you can test their canine's brain power.
Quiz Time - Dognition
Below are a few ways to test your furry friend's dog smarts. Don't try these tests all in one day, your dog might become overwhelmed and not respond to his best ability. Remember to reward your pup with treats and make this fun.
Place a towel or blanket over your dogs head. If he removes it in less than 15 seconds, give him 3 points. If it takes him 15-30 seconds to remove the towel, give him 2 points. Anything longer, give him 1 point.
Take 3 buckets and place a dog treat or your dog's favorite toy under one of them. Let your dog see which bucket the object is under, turn the dog away for a few seconds, and then let the dog go. If your dog goes immediately to the right bucket, give him 3 points. If it takes two attempts, give 2 points. If your dog checks the wrong two buckets first, then give 1 point.
Take a treat and wrap it in aluminum foil. If your dogs uses his paws to open the foil, give him 3 points. If he uses his mouth, give him 2. If he doesn't open the foil and starts playing with it instead, give him 1 point.
6 - higher: Einstein
5 - 4: Average
3 - less: Not the brightest kibble in the bag, but we still love them.
Canine Intelligence-Breed Does Matter
Einstein or Stooge: Measuring Canine Intelligence
Dogs' Intelligence on Par With Two-Year-Old Human, Canine Researcher Says
The Brilliance of the Dog Mind