A dog’s cognitive abilities, which include facets such as learning, memory, inhibitory control, problem solving, and social cognitionare fundamental traits in almost all aspects of an animal’s life, from finding food, to cooperating with other dogs and with humans.
But as this study from the University of Helsinki points out, the heritability of cognitive traits in non-human animals remains a largely unknown subject. The results of this study and the work of Stanley Coren serve as the basis for preparing this list of the most intelligent dog breeds.
The eight smartest dog breeds
The great Genetic and phenotypic diversity of the domestic dog provides a unique opportunity to advance in the understanding of this topic, as pointed out by Saara Junttilaresearcher who led the study published in Nature at the end of last year.
Previous studies showed inconsistent results in the study of factors such as logical reasoning ability, inhibitory control, or memory. For provide a more complete picture of cognitive differences between dog breeds the University of Helsinki explored racial differences not only in the sociocognitive abilities of dogs, but also in various cognitive traits that do not involve a social aspect.
The golden retriever is known for its friendly character and Finnish researchers confirmed this in the salute test. This dog was the one who got the best “note” in this test showing most of them friendly with unfamiliar people. However, he appeared the most human-dependent dog breed among those analyzed.
It is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, Canada and Argentina, being popular for its tracking skills, originally a hunting dog for water, emerging in Scotland in the mid-19th century.
english cocker spaniel
This breed of dog was the one who scored the best in the exploration of a new environment test above the Belgian Malinois, the German Shepherd or the Labrador Retriever. In the global classification, taking the average of all the tests, this breed was fourth. Is about a dog of Spanish origin As the name indicates, it arrived in England at the end of the Middle Ages, beginning to proliferate in the mansions of British aristocrats.
It is a dog that was not included in the analysis of the University of Helsinki but that has been recognized by other studies as one of the most intelligent, such as the work of Stanley Coren, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. from Canada who dedicates one of his numerous books to canine intelligence.
For him, the poodle is the great exception among dogs with greater cognitive capacity, since it is not a breed that originally had a herding or work function, but rather as a companion dog for aristocrats and nobles, or for the own royalty. Are very methodical and responsive.
Third on Coren’s list, the German Shepherd was indeed one of the breeds studied by the Finnish researchers. It is not a secret that it has always been considered one of the most intuitive dog breeds and the results of the tests seem to confirm it.
Was the third in the activity testbehind the cocker spaniel and the Belgian shepherd, and the fourth in the space exploration testalthough he was moderately fearful or aggressive in the test of greeting unknown people.
For Coren, he is also one of the most intelligent dogs, despite his reputation for being aggressive. And it is that the initial purpose of this breed of dog was collecting taxes! We already know that many people do not take these contributions very well, so Karl Friedrich-Louis Dobermann he thought it would be nice if a dog with “bad fleas” accompanied him… just in case. In addition, with a dog like that, she scared away friends better than others.
Despite everything, a very intelligent and collaborative animal with good training. Nevertheless, we must remember that intelligence is not synonymous with docilityit is not between humans, nor between dogs.
Belgian shepherd malinois
It is one of the most popular dogs among police and military organizations, being also an excellent watchdog and defense dog. His extensive skills and disposition for his work make him the choice for many complicated tasks of security and police or government control. Surely you’ve seen it at airports… You know what they’re looking for.
Named after the city of Mechelen in Belgium where it originally came from, was the breed of dog that obtained the best overall score in the study by the University of Finlandbeing the best in the test of the unsolvable task that tests the persistence of the animal.
It is a large breed of dog originating from the Black Forest in Germany that arose to occupy the position of farm guardian, from which its name comes. It is a dog that needs prompt socialization to moderate this guardian instinct. In the memory test he was the bestalso being one of the best in the independence test.
It has always been considered one of the most intelligent dogs in the world, before the first scientific studies began to appear. He arose from the cross of a sheepdog with a greyhound. For Stanley Coren it is the most intelligent breed of dogwhile the Finnish study placed him as one of the best in the memory test, being able to recognize 1,000 words and learn instructions with only five repetitions.
Besides, came first in the cylinder test that studies social cognition and inhibitory control– The dog is required to inhibit direct seeking for a visible food reward and instead detour around the transparent barrier to reach the reward.