Canine Intelligence: A Hobe Sound, FL Veterinarian Weighs In

Have you ever wondered how smart your dog is? Some of our canine buddies are extremely intelligent. The average pooch can learn over 100 words and gestures. Some can learn as many as 250, or even more! In fact, Fido’s intelligence is roughly equivalent to that of a two-year-old human child! A local Hobe Sound, FL veterinarian delves into this fascinating topic below.

What dog has the highest IQ?

Breed definitely plays a role in Fido’s intelligence. Various studies and tests have been done on this, and the same pups trot their way to the top of the list each time.

Here are the most intelligent pooches:

  • 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

This definitive list was laid out in the 1994 book. The Intelligence of Dogs by Stanley Coren, PhD. Other studies have been done since, and may show some variation or changes in order, but for the most part, these pooches are at the top of the hill.

Cohen also broke down doggy intelligence into three distinct areas:

Instinctive Intelligence measures what the dog has been bred by humans to do. An example of this may be the Border Collie’s habit of ‘herding’ his humans. The breed was developed to herd cattle. Another example would be

Adaptive Intelligence is how a dog’s thought processes change in response to his environment. This may come into play with many working dogs, such as service dogs that work with the visually impaired. They may, for instance, refuse to guide their humans across a street if a car is coming, even when commanded to.

Working Obedience describes how hard Fido will work to please you. For instance, in one study, the smartest breeds responded to commands the first time more than 95% of the time.

How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Smart?

Are you curious as to how smart your dog is? Well, if Fido has figured out how to open the door or lock the cat in the bedroom, he may be pretty bright. That said, there are a few ways you can test your pup.

Word Play: Do you usually use a certain tone of voice when calling your dog? Say something else in that same tone. The word can be anything. In a way, the more random, the better. If Fido ignores you when you yell ‘Cheese sauce’ or ‘Pizza time!’ but perks up when he hears his name, he’s probably pretty astute.

Puzzle Toys: This is another good way to test your pet’s doggy IQ. Give Fido a toy that requires him to manipulate it or handle it a certain way to get his treat. You can also try hiding snacks under a cup.

New Tricks: You should definitely focus on teaching your canine buddy basic obedience commands before moving on to tricks. However, when training your pet, pay attention to how long it takes him to learn something new.

Paw Pads: These are fairly new devices, but they are producing some amazing results! Some of our canine pals are becoming quite astute at learning how to ‘speak’ to their humans using these devices.

Of course, it may be in some cases easier to figure out that your pup isn’t the sharpest pooch on the block. However, even if your pet isn’t exactly a furry, four-legged brainiac, he’ll make up for it with his adorable face and loyal friendship!

What Is The Average IQ Of A Dog?

While we can’t exactly give Fido written tests, scientists have done quite a bit of research here. Studies indicate that the average pooch has an IQ of about 100. However, keep in mind that dogs don’t think the way we do, and even the smartest pups don’t process information the same way humans do. In a way, it is an apples-to-oranges comparison.

Who Are The Smartest Dogs In The World?

We’ve listed the smartest breeds separately, so we’ll shine the Spot light on some smart individual pups for this one.

Two Border Collies are at the top of that list. First, we have Chaser. This extraordinary pup was able to learn how to identify over 1000 objects by name! The adorable pup was part of a training course at Wofford College. Before Chase bounded onto the scene, another Border Collie, Rico, was also making waves for his intelligence. Rico knew over 200 words!

Of course, both Chaser and Rico are playing second and third fiddle, respectively, to another animal. Believe it or not, the smartest animal on record may very well be a bird. One particular feathered fluff ball, a Budgie named Puck, learned over 1700 words!

These aren’t the only two to make waves with their intelligence. There are countless cases of amazing pups. One only need to look at the average service dog to realize that our canine friends are quite intelligent. These amazing pups can perform a variety of tasks, from guiding people around obstacles to helping them get mail to turning lights off and on … the list goes on.

That said, here are a few more ‘pawesome’ pups:

Colonel: This Denver doggie belonged to Charles Kestler, proprietor of the Merchants’ Hotel.  Colonel’s favorite thing ever was playing with his favorite ball, which Kestler kept in the drawer of his writing desk. Colonel sat by the desk, but when no one got the hint, he took matters into his own paws and figured out how to open the drawer … which required going under and behind the desk, standing on his back legs, and pushing the drawer open!

Fellow: his German Shepherd won the heart of a man named Jacob Herbert when he was just a puppy. Impressed by the pup’s intelligence from the start, Herbert was able to train his canine pal to follow very specific instructions, such as Go into the back room and Jump Over The Sofa.

Gander: This pup is renowned for both his intelligence and his bravery. Originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Gander became famous for his bravery in helping Canadian soldiers during World War II. He was known for repeatedly charging the enemy. The incredible pooch even picked up a live grenade and carried it away from his soldier friends … ultimately sacrificing himself to save them.

What Are The World’s Dumbest Dogs?

Okay, before we delve into this one, we have to unequivocally state that we love all of our canine patients. Not every dog needs to know how to fetch specific items or follow complex orders! However, in case you were wondering what the least intelligent dog breeds are, well, we have that list as well.

  • Basset Hound
  • Mastiff
  • Beagle
  • Pekingese
  • Bloodhound
  • Borzoi
  • Chow Chow
  • Bulldog
  • Basenji>
  • Afghan Hound

Of course, these pups are still very good boys, and deserve treats, love, and belly rubs, just like any other pup. It’s also important to realize that these pups may be smart in their own way. That said, we would probably advise being extra diligent about petproofing and taking a few extra safety precautions if your canine buddy is one of these. Ask your Hobe Sound, FL veterinarian for specific advice.

A Learning Curve

Cohen’s research continues to be widely respected, but several other studies have shed more light on this topic since then.

One particularly interesting study from Helsinki was published in 2022’s Scientific Reports.

Researchers evaluated over 2350 pups between 2016 and 2022. The dogs were a mix of purebreds and mutts. They each went through a series of tests, which were aptly named the smartDOG test battery. The tests measured several areas of doggy intelligence, including greeting behavior, activity level, exploratory behavior, learning, memory, inhibition control, problem-solving, logic, and gesture interpretation. Many of the results were as expected, particularly for breeds. For instance, the Malinois did well with gestures, which would be expected of a herding dog. Some of the results were surprising. For instance, the Labrador Retriever, which often is ranked as a very smart pooch, didn’t fare very well.

Schedule An Appointment With Your Hobe Sound, FL Animal Clinic

Of course, no matter where your pet falls on the intelligence scale, he’ll need proper veterinary care to stay happy and healthy. This is also a great time to ask for care tips!

Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Please feel free to contact us anytime. As your Hobe Sound, FL local animal clinic, we are here to help!

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