The subject of dog intelligence is an interesting one. We all know that dogs are clever. For centuries, they have been helping humans to complete tasks that would otherwise be very difficult, or, in some cases, impossible. Dogs can be trained to do all kinds of things. Including tasks that humans are not capable of, even when using specialist equipment.
It is widely accepted that dogs are intelligent, but we have only recently started to try to answer questions like – how clever are dogs?, and which breeds are the most intelligent?
The findings are still coming in, but over the past few decades several methods have been developed to rank dog breeds by intelligence. One of the best, and biggest, bodies of research into this area is that carried out by Stanley Coren who is a Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. He, and his team, have spent a lot of time analysing the intelligence of dogs, and have ranked many breeds using a simple, and easy to understand method.
How Coren’s team ranked dog intelligence
They simply used the number of times a dog needed to be shown something before they would learn it as a way to measure intelligence. The most intelligent breeds only had to be given the command up to five times before they understood, and obeyed. These dogs obey commands that they already recognise 95% of the time.
Dogs that understand commands after five to 15 repetitions make up the second tier. They obey 85% of the time, once trained. The third tier of dogs require between 15 and 25 repetitions before understanding what they need to do. Once they understand what is required they then obey around 70% of the time.
Which are the most intelligent dogs?
Unsurprisingly the working breeds came top of the list. The top ten includes border collies, German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, Australian cattle dogs, and Doberman pinchers. This is not surprising because they are all working dogs that are still used, today, for important tasks.
At number two on the list, is the poodle, something that surprises many people because poodles are rarely put to work in the modern world. As a result, their exceptional talents, and intelligence, are now not well known.
You can read more about Professor Coren’s work here, and check where your pet appears in his dog intelligence list. It is a bit of a revelation, and is sure to help you to better understand why your pet behaves in the way they do.
Using the list will also help you to work out which type of dog is right for you. The next time you see puppies for sale in Scotland, or elsewhere, you will be able to use the list to gauge how clever the puppy is likely to be once it has reached adulthood. For those who want a dog that is quick to learn and obedient this is an important consideration. Knowing which breeds to focus on, will help you to find a puppy that is right for you and your family.
This is a collaborative post.