Why Are Small Dogs So Stupid

Depending on your definition of intelligence. According to a recent study published in Animal Cognition, bigger dogs perform better than smaller dogs on various IQ tests because they have larger brains.

Larger dogs with larger brains perform particularly well on an aspect of intelligence known as “executive functioning,” which is connected to self-control in both humans and dogs.

In people, the degree of executive function can have an impact on things like academic performance, social interaction skills, and the willpower required to refrain from risky or self-destructive conduct. Canines’ executive function is what allows them to continue acting in a way that is appropriate for the situation.

Because of this, large breeds like Great Danes and Labrador retrievers have stronger executive function than tiny breeds like Yorkshire terriers and Welsh corgis.

These are the conclusions of researchers from the University of Arizona who used data from the Dognition website for citizen science. They made use of information from almost 7,000 domestic purebred dogs representing 74 different breeds. Based on breed criteria, the size of the brain was estimated.

Owners of dogs put their canines’ short-term memory to the test by concealing treats under one of two turned-over plastic cups while the dogs were there. The owners gave the dogs between 60 and 150 seconds to wait before releasing them to receive the treats.

By placing treats in front of the dogs while directing them not to eat them, the dog owners tested the canines’ ability to exercise restraint. The owners then looked away while they kept track of how long it took the dogs to steal the treat.

Larger dogs were better able to resist the urge to devour the rewards than smaller canines.

In addition, the researchers took into account whether the dogs had any prior obedience training. Researchers discovered that larger brained breeds have superior self-control and short-term memory than smaller canines, regardless of training level.

Smaller breeds, however, are equally adept at other activities, like following their owner’s direction when instructed, which the researchers refer to as an example of social intelligence, which involves the capacity to employ logic to comply with orders.

According to research co-author and University of Arizona graduate student in biological anthropology Daniel Horschler, MA, who is also a part of the university’s Canine Cognition Center, it’s too soon to say.

It’s unclear why, specifically, brain size might be related to cognition, according to Horschler. “We think of it as possibly a proxy for something else going on, whether it’s the difference in connectivity between neurons or the amount of neurons that counts. Nobody is entirely certain yet, but we’re curious to learn what those deeper things are.

Are little dogs less intelligent than large dogs?

Only one of the top 10 most intelligent dog breeds, according to a survey and book written by Stanley Coren, is a tiny breed. Through 200 interviews with dog-obedience assessors, the Papillon was granted the eighth-best ranking. The fact that there is only one little dog among the top 10 smartest dogs does not necessarily mean that bigger dogs are smarter. Additionally, the sole focus of this experiment was on a dog’s capacity for command learning. Therefore, it’s possible that other aspects of intellect or influencing factors weren’t taken into account. This could give a skewed impression of their intelligence.

Afghan Hound

According to The Intelligence of Dogs, the Afghan Hound is the dumbest dog breed, but Afghan enthusiasts undoubtedly disagree. Afghans were developed to hunt utilizing their exceptional speed and vision since they are sighthounds. Afghans, like many sighthounds, can be aloof, even a touch reserved and standoffish, especially around strangers. They may also be independent and stubborn. Afghans are difficult to train because of these characteristics, but that doesn’t mean they are stupid. Simply said, they favor independent thought and doing things their way. When training an Afghan, you might need to get a little more creative, but they make for unique companions thanks to their elegance, regal demeanor, and dedication to their owners.


Due to their independence and aloofness, sighthounds like the Basenji are among the stupidest canine breeds. This breed has been compared to cats, and many Basenjis will groom themselves in the manner of cats. Despite the fact that ease of training is not usually a reliable predictor of intelligence, the breed has developed a reputation for being “untrainable.” Contrarily, Basenjis are witty, inquisitive, and lively. They are intelligent enough to cause trouble if you don’t watch them attentively, just like curious babies. A Basenji’s upbringing might occasionally resemble taming a wild animal. They are cautious and watchful, and while they bond with their owners in most cases, they might or might not like your companions. Conclusion: Basenjis can be trained, but they are headstrong and not always obedient. Positive approaches work best.


The Bulldog is another type on the list of stupidest dog breeds that is renowned for its stubbornness. The phrase “bullheaded” perfectly describes the Bulldog. Because of this, bulldogs can be challenging to teach, but dumb? It only takes one of the well-known Bulldogs who excels at skateboarding or surfing to understand that they can learn. Bulldogs are sometimes associated with laziness, however some of them like more active pursuits than simply lounging around.

Chow Chow

Although they may have a cute teddy bear appearance, chow chows are not typically the most cuddly of dogs. Chows are somber, independent, and distant because they were originally intended to be guard dogs. They are among the stupidest dog breeds because they are strong-willed and headstrong, making them more challenging to train. Chows are bright; they merely have independent brains. Chows may challenge their humans for authority if they are improperly trained, which can be problematic. Because of these factors, Chows need intensive socializing beginning at a young age as well as tough but fair training. Chows are noble, obedient, and faithful friends when reared properly.


The Borzoi is an independent freethinker and another sighthound. Since this breed can also be stubborn, it makes the list of the dumbest dog breeds. Training a Borzoi requires patience. Instead of classes lasting an hour, frequent, brief training sessions tend to work best for borzois. They are typically quite well-behaved, serene, clean, and affectionate inside the home, especially with their special people.


You may be able to comprehend how a scenthound like the Bloodhound “sees the world with his sensitive nose” if you have ever seen the aurora borealis, the vibrant northern lights display that turns the night sky into a breathtaking sight to see. Because they are so distracted by the many wonderful scents that are just waiting to be discovered, bloodhounds rank among the dumbest canine breeds and are challenging to train. Additionally, they are extremely energetic, independent, and stubborn, and they pursue scent trails with unrelenting tenacity. When combined, the Bloodhound’s distinctive abilities can make these dogs difficult to live with, but put a Bloodhound in a tracking competition and see his unique qualities show.


Because they resemble sloths in several ways, Pekingese may be perceived as being fairly slow by some people. They like to lounge around the house and look over their territory. This may be a result of their physical makeup or be at least in part a legacy of their past as revered Tang Dynasty pets in eighth-century China. Because members of the Imperial household carried their beloved pets around snuggly curled in their voluminous sleeves, Pekingese were indeed known as “sleeve dogs.” Can you really blame the Peke for taking it easy? Additionally, Pekingese are resistant and challenging to housebreak. They are not stupid because of this, but it does present some training issues. Begin your workouts early and consistently.


Beagles enjoy following their noses, much like Bloodhounds, which can occasionally put them in trouble and place them on the list of dumbest dog breeds. The Beagle may give the impression that he is unintelligent due to his lovely, friendly attitude and upbeat perspective, yet this breed is everything but. Beagles should ideally be led at all times. They are driven by an insatiable want to discover, smell, and hunt for little animals.


The big, mellow Mastiff is a very relaxed dog. He’s actually so laid-back that you could think he’s a little dim. Additionally, they might be a little headstrong and harder to teach than some breeds. Once more, level of activity and ease of training are not always reliable measures of intellect. Mastiffs are intelligent animals. In order for Mastiffs to grow up to be well-behaved and discerning companions, owners must begin training and socializing early in the puppy stage due to their size and innate wariness of strangers.

Basset Hound

Basset Hounds, like Pekingese, can be a little lethargic. They may have long, low bodies or laid-back personalities, which contribute to this. Like their scenthound cousins the Bloodhounds and the Beagles, Bassets can be a little stubborn and may find it difficult to focus on learning for lengthy periods of time if there are great odors all around them. Bassets do, however, react well to training since they have a strong desire to please their owners and are highly motivated by food. However, don’t mistake the Basset’s laid-back demeanor for a lack of intelligence. They are intelligent and devoted dogs.

The bottom line on the dumbest dog breeds

It’s unfair to categorize any breed or specific dog as being stupid. Yes, some dogs are smarter than others, but you just have to figure out what because most dogs are brilliant at something.

According to Dr. Dodman, some dogs are better at doing some things than others and exhibit distinct habits.

Because they are simple to train, German Shepherd Dog and Malinois breeds are frequently used as police and army dogs. Does that imply they’re intelligent? Or does the fact that they always go along with what others say and don’t think for themselves imply that they aren’t very smart? It is subject to both arguments.

Why are puppies so vicious?

According to Serpell, dogs who are small may become more scared and aggressive in self-defense. Because they have more to fear, little breeds may be more prone to take a protective stance.

The evolution of the pups may have incorporated aggression. The effects of being attacked by a Chihuahua are undoubtedly considerably less severe than those of being attacked by a Great Dane or a Siberian husky, according to Serpell. To put it another way, over the ages, people may not have tried to breed aggressive traits out of little dogs because the repercussions of being attacked by large hounds were more severe.

Studies linking aggressive behavior to the growth factor gene that causes little canines to be small lend credence to the last argument. The correlation could simply be a coincidence, but research has shown that little dogs exhibit more extreme aggression-related behaviors than large dogs do, as well as more acute separation anxiety, more frequent barking, and a higher likelihood of urinating indoors, according to Serpell. This supports the hypothesis that the extreme behavior of tiny dogs is influenced by genetics.

Because they haven’t yet investigated the causes of the aggressive behavior of small dogs, scientists are unsure which of the theories is accurate, according to Serpell. Every theory has the potential to be relevant.

The regulation does not apply to all little breeds. The Coton de Tulear, also referred to as the Royal Dog of Madagascar, is one illustration. This dog resembles a bichon frise since it is petite, white, and fluffy.

According to Serpell, “the breed appears to have generally quite restrained demeanor for whatever reason, but it also has a variety of medical issues.” “It’s unclear if this is a result of them possibly lacking a crucial genetic component. Or it might have something to do with the fact that they’re simply less physically fit and able to react strongly.”

Why wouldn’t you want a little dog?

Since toy dogs typically live longer than larger dogs, experts warn they won’t save you money on food bills and that many of them have genetic problems with their teeth and joints.

Under 7 pounds, the Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Yorkshire terrier, and Maltese are considered toy dogs according to the American Kennel Club.

The Yorkshire terrier, which is the most popular toy breed in the country and is ranked No. 6 on the list of all Kennel Club-registered breeds this year, is unknown exactly how many of these dogs are present in the United States or elsewhere in the world.

According to Jessica Rice D’Amato, a representative for the American Kennel Club, small dogs like Yorkies still need extensive care.

They don’t necessarily require less activity or mental stimulation than other breeds just because they are smaller, she noted.

Why do giant dogs seem friendlier than little ones?

Compared to most small dogs, big dogs have less barking, are better with kids, and are simpler to train. These dogs make wonderful family pets.

Do tiny dogs believe they are large?

Your small dog may be acting afraid or even aggressively toward larger dogs because they are afraid. We observe the lunging, barking, or snapping at larger dogs as a result. It appears from this behavior that little dogs think they are bigger than they actually are.

Which canine is the smartest?

The border collie is the smartest canine breed known to man, according The Intelligence of Dogs, which assesses 131 dog breeds based on their relative intelligence. Want proof? Chaser, a border collie from South Carolina with exceptional language skills, recognized more than 1,000 words. But being “book smart” is only one aspect of it. The border collie is a breed of dog that is descended from European herding dogs that lived in the rocky borders of England, Scotland, and Wales. These dogs were bred to be cunning and athletic enough to survive the dangerous terrain. Additionally, it benefits from a strong work ethic. The border collie is described as “clever, friendly, and enthusiastic,” as well as a “remarkably brilliant workaholic,” by the AKC, which recognized the breed in 1995.

The AKC advises border collie owners to be ready to give their dog plenty of mental and physical stimulation. It is logical to assume that many of the breed are quite skilled at getting what they want from their owners because they are so bright and skilled at connecting with people. Because of this, we declare the border collie to be the brightest dog in the entire world.



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