Why Dogs Are Intelligent

The process through which dogs acquire knowledge and mental abilities, store them in memory, retrieve them, combine and compare them, and use them in novel circumstances is known as canine intelligence or dog cognition. [1]

According to studies, dogs exhibit various intelligence-related traits. They can read and respond appropriately to human body language like gesturing and pointing, as well as comprehend human speech commands, thanks to their exceptional memory skills. Dogs deceive each other to show that they have a theory of mind.

How perceptive is a dog?



Dogs can count, even though you wouldn’t want one to balance your checkbook.

According to psychologist and top canine researcher Stanley Coren, PhD, of the University of British Columbia, these animals are also capable of comprehending more than 150 phrases and deceiving both humans and other dogs on purpose in order to obtain treats. On Saturday, he discussed about “How Dogs Think at the 117th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

Coren, the author of more than a dozen widely read books on dogs and canine behavior, has analyzed a number of research and come to the conclusion that dogs are more intelligent than previously believed and are more closely related to humans and other higher primates than previously believed.

“According to Coren, in an interview, “we all want insight into how our furry friends think, and we want to comprehend the goofy, quirky, and sometimes nonsensical actions [that] Lassie or Rover display.” ” They may not be Einsteins, but their astounding bursts of creativity and intelligence serve as a constant reminder that they are more like us than we realized.

According to various behavioral tests, Coren claims that a human toddler between the ages of 2 and 2.5 and a canine have similar mental capacities.

According to Coren, there are variances in the intellect of different breeds of dogs, some of which are influenced by the breed. “Dog intelligence can be categorized into three categories: working and obedience (the canine version of “school learning”), adaptable (how well the dog learns from its surroundings to solve issues), and instinctive (what the dog is bred to accomplish).

According to Coren, data from 208 dog obedience judges from the United States and Canada revealed the variations in the working and obedience intelligence of canine breeds. “The top three dogs are border collies, poodles, and German shepherds. Golden retrievers are fourth on the list, followed by dobermans in fifth, Shetland sheepdogs in sixth, and Labrador retrievers in seventh, according to Coren.

The typical dog can acquire 165 words, including signs, in terms of language “According to Coren, super dogs (those in the top 20 percent of dog intelligence) are capable of learning 250 words. “The research of a border collie named Rico, who demonstrated ‘fast-track learning’ and knew 200 spoken phrases, helped determine the upper limit of dogs’ ability to learn language, according to Coren. Until then, scientists had thought that only humans and language-learning apes possessed this ability.

According to Coren, dogs can count up to four or five. Additionally, they have a fundamental comprehension of mathematics and can spot mistakes in straightforward calculations like 1+1=1 or 1+1=3.

He looked at four research that used a barrier-type challenge to simulate human or other dog behavior to evaluate how dogs handle spatial problems. According to Coren, dogs can learn through observation where to find valuable objects (treats), the quickest way to a favorite chair, how to use latches and other rudimentary devices, and the meaning of words and symbolic concepts (sometimes by simply listening to people speak and watching their actions).

Dogs are capable of purposefully attempting to fool humans and other dogs during play in order to obtain rewards, according to Coren. “And they are almost as successful at tricking people as people are at tricking dogs.

Are dogs the smartest animals?

When it came to our selection of the ten smartest animals, pigs only barely beat out dogs. Pigs have an IQ level far greater than that of dogs, which is comparable to that of a young child. At only six weeks old, they can comprehend the idea of reflection, but human infants cannot do so until they are several months old.

Pigs can communicate with one another using about 20 different sounds, and mothers sing to their young ones as they eat. Pigs react to emotion and, when appropriate, even display empathy, which is a very uncommon quality in the animal kingdom. This article contains further information about pigs.

Are dogs incredibly smart?

Dog lovers have been stating this for a long time: dogs are smarter than most people realize.

Scientists are now participating. Dogs are thought to be capable of stunning complex feats of social intelligence and emotional sensitivity, according to a variety of tests that have been conducted over the past ten years in the burgeoning field of canine behavior and intelligence. According to psychologist and dog expert Stanley Coren, the average dog has intelligence that is comparable to that of a toddler who is 2.5 years old.

The average dog is nearly as intelligent as a baby who is 2.5 years old.

According to study so far, dogs are capable of reading our body language, expressing their emotional connection to their owners, and even displaying jealousy. The smartest dogs seem to be able to pick up hundreds of phrases, according to studies. These skills have probably evolved over thousands of years, and we have chosen the dogs that are best suited to coexist with humans.

However, because the topic is relatively young, researchers continue to learn a surprisingly large amount. Gregory Berns, an Emory neuroscientist who uses dogs in his MRI study, notes that “most labs have traditionally used rodent and monkey models.” Dogs, however, are special creatures, and in my opinion, they’re among the finest for comprehending social interactions.

Numerous research centers across the world have examined the psychology of dogs and discovered that they are far more intelligent than most people believe using cutting-edge tools like MRI and well planned behavioral trials.

Dogs are adept at reading peopleoften better than chimps

A very straightforward test of implicit communication involves setting two cups upside down on the ground and pointing at the one with a treat hidden inside. Chimpanzees and human newborns less than a year generally fail this task. Although it seems ridiculously simple, neither chimps nor infants can understand this as a hint to find the food, and they only investigate the right cup first about half the time.

Dogs are unique. Brian Hare of Duke University discovered through a series of trials that dogs indeed perceive this cue, choosing the right cup at rates significantly higher than chance. (This was true even when the scent of the treat was present in both glasses.) Dogs appeared to be able to understand human looks and nods toward the proper cup.

In other studies, trained canines who are taught to refuse food do so significantly more frequently after an observer has left the room, closed their eyes, or turned their back. Again, it sounds quite simple, yet chimps do not appear to be able to comprehend the significance of a glance in this way.

Yet more research demonstrates that dogs can catch up on how we see things and behave accordingly. For instance, in one, dogs watched their masters open two boxes but were unable to see what was inside. When it came to the contents of one box, the owner acted positively (smiling, speaking in a favorable tone, and leaning toward it), but not when it came to the contents of the other (recoiling in shock and speaking in angry tones). 81 percent of the time, the dogs chose the former box, which is consistent with the findings of a comparable experiment done with 18-month-old newborns.

Dogs can learn hundreds of words

Like humans and other animal species, dogs have different levels of memory capacity. However, scientists have shown that certain canines with extremely good memories may be trained to memorize more than 1,000 different words.

The most well-known example is a border collie named Chaser, who was trained by John Pilley, a retired psychology professor. Chaser has memorized the names of 1,022 different toys, according to a 2011 study published in Behavioral Processes. When instructed to pick up a certain toy, she does so roughly 95% of the time. Chaser has recently received word recognition training from Pilley; she now understands the distinctions between picking something up, placing her paw on it, and placing her nose on it.

Although Chaser possesses exceptional skills, she is not the only one. When Rico hears a new phrase, he learns to go grab a new toy rather than one he has already learnt the term for. Rico has been demonstrated to recognize more than 200 different words and is capable of a cognitive process known as “fast-mapping.”

Dogs pay attention to the words of our speechnot just our tone

Many people believe that their dogs can only understand the tone of their voice, but investigations by psychology professor Victoria Ratcliffe at the University of Sussex reveal that they can also understand the words themselves.

The left hemisphere of the human brain is primarily responsible for language processing, whereas the right hemisphere is responsible for emotion and tone. The left hemisphere receives sound that enters our right ear, and the opposite is true. Therefore, for the majority of people, we perceive language disproportionately using our right ear’s sound and our left ear’s tone.

Ratcliffe demonstrated that canines share a similar bias. We set up speakers on either side of the dog, and we simultaneously played noises from both, she explains. The dogs turned disproportionately to the right when they played commands they were familiar with, and primarily to the left when they played commands in distorted speech or a language they had never heard before.

These “voice areas” are found in locations that are highly similar in the human and canine brains, according to research.

This demonstrated to us that they are paying attention to various calls and processing terms they are already familiar with in a unique manner. She is currently examining precisely what knowledge dogs have learned to associate with language.

These results have been supported by fMRI research, which trains dogs to remain still for up to 30 seconds inside of scanners while blood flow to various parts of the brain is monitored as a proxy for brain activity. According to research conducted at Hungary’s Etvs Lornd University, dogs’ brains are substantially more activated when they hear human voices than when they hear nonverbal stimuli in a particular region of the brain.

Lead researcher Attila Andics told me for a recent Smithsonian article on the discoveries, “The really intriguing finding is that these ‘voice areas’ are situated in very comparable places in both the human brain and the dog brain.

Dogs are emotionally connected to their owners

Berns’ lab at Emory has conducted some of the most exciting canine MRI research. In one of his most startling studies, Berns discovered that dogs’ caudate nuclei, a reward center involved in emotional connection, became more active when they smelled a rag saturated in their owner’s fragrance. But when a stranger’s scent was used in its place, it didn’t spike. Additionally, he discovered that the identical surge happens when a dog’s owner enters the room but not when a stranger does.

In more recent studies, Berns has used an fMRI to place dogs while having different persons send them a signal that indicates they are about to receive a treat. According to him, dogs with lower aggression scores had caudate responses that were specifically tuned to their owner.

On the other hand, more aggressive canines displayed comparable increases in the reward system when any person issued the signal. Currently, his team is collaborating with service dog organizations to determine whether this kind of test may be used to identify which dogs would make the best service animals.

Can a dog become envious?

April 16, 2021 — Yes, both you and your dog adore each other. Do dogs, however, also show some of the unfavorable consequences of intense affection, such as jealousy?

Yes, according to a study in the journal Psychological Science. Dogs would get jealous even when they can just envision their owners engaging with a possible rival, according to the study’s findings.

18 canines were placed in scenarios where their human companion engaged with a dummy dog or a cylinder of fleece. The artificial dog was the adversary, while the cylinder was the control.

The dogs observed while the dummy dog was set up close to the owner. Then a wall was built to prevent the real dog from seeing the imitation dog.

When the owners seemed to pet the phony dog behind the barrier, the dogs began to pull vehemently on their leashes. When the owners stroked the fleece cylinder, the dogs pulled much less firmly.

According to Amalia Bastos of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, who served as the paper’s lead author, research has confirmed what many dog owners fervently believe: dogs display jealous behavior when their human companion meets with a possible rival.

The study found that in prior studies, 80% of dog owners reported that their animals would exhibit jealous behavior, such as barking and pulling on the leash, when they paid attention to other dogs.

According to the new research, dogs are among the rare mammals that exhibit jealous behavior similar to what a human toddler could exhibit when their mother shows affection to another child.

According to the study, one reason animal cognition experts are so interested in researching jealousy and other secondary emotions in animals is because of the tight relationship between jealousy and self-awareness in humans.

It’s too soon, according to Bartos, to say whether dogs feel jealousy the same way that people do, but it is now known that they react to situations that cause envy, even if they take place out of sight.

Puppies grew irritated when their owners gave attention to a stuffed dog that had been designed to convincingly bark, whimper, and wag its tail, according to a 2014 study at the University of California, San Diego.

The owners’ jealousy only showed itself when they were caring for the plush puppy, not when they were preoccupied with other things.

Who is the world’s top dog?

Since 1991, the Labrador Retriever has held the top rank, making it a crowd favorite. See the ranked annual listings of breeds recognized by the AKC below.

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.