Leader of the Pack – Smartest Dog Breeds
Nadia Crighton investigates some of the smartest dog breeds around town and the reasons they have earned such a title. She also looks at what really makes a ‘smart’ dog?
Every pet owner will swear that their dog and breed are the smartest canines around town. There is no denying that all dogs are incredibly smart. In fact, according to Animal Psychologists (yes there is such a title), dogs can understand up to 250 words and gestures and can count to five.
They have also been shown to perform and understand simple math! Making them as intelligent as the average two-year-old human. It’s no wonder many pet owners swear that their dog, regardless of their breed, is the smartest pooch around.
Dr Stanley Coren is the expert on the topic. The author of The Intelligence of Dogs is at the forefront of research on this very topic. As a respected scientist and professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, Dr Coren’s researched has shaped the way we view our pet’s intelligence levels.
It’s pretty clear from a dog owner’s perspective that every dog is incredibly smart. However, the list above is rated on how easily each of these breeds is to train and work alongside their human companion. The list also takes into account ‘smart’ behaviours. You’d be amazed how clever some dogs are at getting attention. Some of these behaviours are also very undesirable to their two-legged companions! However annoying or a real nuisance these behaviours might be, often they have us doing exactly what the dog wants…cue dog scratching at the back door, or physically opening the door. This type of thinking is a clear sign of intelligence.
Many of these breeds are eager to please and respond well to the time and attention good training takes. It is no wonder most of the above breeds are known work dogs. From Police and security work, to life on the farm, or just the best darn fetcher down the park. This is also not to say that every dog on the breed list above will be super-smart. Some pups shine more than others. There is also something smart about a dog who would prefer to snuggle all day rather than fetch.
What Makes a Smart Dog?
We’ve seen that with research and time you can certainly decipher traditionally smarter breeds regarding trainability and general intelligence levels. However, being smart is certainly not just about how easy your pooch is to train. After all, a hound that can think for himself or needs you to think outside of the box to ensure a successful training session is smart in their own right.
There is also the undoubtable first-hand knowledge that it’s all down to the trainer. Some dog trainers can turn any dog into a pooch-superstar. Take the case of the adorable Shadow. The rescue pup that was hours away from being euthanatized. With the help of amazing dog trainers, this pup learnt how to co-pilot a plane in the UK-based series Dogs Might Fly.
It just goes to show that any dog or any breed can be a superstar given the time, affection and custom training needed to encourage them to learn.