Dogs as smart as 2 year old kids

Green Zebra

love to nap
Oct 17, 2008
1,768
1
Second City
By Jeanna Bryner, Senior Writer
http://www.livescience.com/animals/090808-smart-dogs.html


The canine IQ test results are in: Even the average dog has the mental abilities of a 2-year-old child.

The finding is based on a language development test, revealing average dogs can learn 165 words (similar to a 2-year-old child), including signals and gestures, and dogs in the top 20 percent in intelligence can learn 250 words.

And the smartest?

Border collies, poodles, and German shepherds, in that order, says Stanley Coren, a canine expert and professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia. Those breeds have been created recently compared with other dog breeds and may be smarter in part because we've trained and bred them to be so, Coren said. The dogs at the top of the pack are on par with a 2.5-year-old.


Better at math and socializing
While dogs ranked with the 2-year-olds in language, they would ***** a 3- or 4-year-old in basic arithmetic, Coren found. In terms of social smarts, our drooling furballs fare even better.

"The social life of dogs is much more complex, much more like human teenagers at that stage, interested in who is moving up in the pack and who is sleeping with who and that sort of thing," Coren told LiveScience.

Coren, who has written more than a half-dozen books on dogs and dog behavior, will present an overview of various studies on dog smarts at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting in Toronto.

"We all want insight into how our furry companions think, and we want to understand the silly, quirky and apparently irrational behaviors [that] Lassie or Rover demonstrate," Coren said. "Their stunning flashes of brilliance and creativity are reminders that they may not be Einsteins but are sure closer to humans than we thought."


Math test
To get inside the noggin of man's best friend, scientists are modifying tests for dogs that were originally developed to measure skills in children.

Here's one: In an arithmetic test, dogs watch as one treat and then another treat are lowered down behind a screen. When the screen gets lifted, the dogs, if they get arithmetic (1+1=2), will expect to see two treats. (For toddlers, other objects would be used.)

But say the scientist swipes one of the treats, or adds another so the end result is one, or three treats, respectively. "Now we're giving him the wrong equation which is 1+1=1, or 1+1=3," Coren said. Sure enough, studies show the dogs get it. "The dog acts surprised and stares at it for a longer period of time, just like a human kid would," he said.

These studies suggest dogs have a basic understanding of arithmetic, and they can count to four or five.


Basic emotions
Other studies Coren notes have found that dogs show spatial problem-solving skills. For instance, they can locate valued items, such as treats, find better routes in the environment, such as the fastest way to a favorite chair, and figure out how to operate latches and simple machines.

Like human toddlers, dogs also show some basic emotions, such as happiness, anger and disgust. But more complex emotions, such as guilt, are not in a dog's toolbox. (What humans once thought was guilt was found to be doggy fear, Coren noted.)

And while dogs know whether they're being treated fairly, they don't grasp the concept of equity. Coren recalls a study in which dogs get a treat for "giving a paw."

When one dog gets a treat and the other doesn't, the unrewarded dog stops performing the trick and avoids making eye contact with the trainer. But if one dog, say, gets rewarded with a juicy steak while the other snags a measly piece of bread, on average the dogs don't care about the inequality of the treats.


Top dogs
To find out which dogs had the top school smarts, Coren collected data from more than 200 dog obedience judges from the United States and Canada.

He found the top dogs, in order of their doggy IQ are:

  1. Border collies
  2. Poodles
  3. German shepherds
  4. Golden retrievers
  5. Dobermans
  6. Shetland sheepdogs
  7. Labrador retrievers
At the bottom of the intelligence barrel, Coren would include many of the hounds, such as the bassett hound and the Afghan hound, along with the bulldog, beagle and basenji (a hunting dog).

"It's important to note that these breeds which don't do as well tend to be considerably older breeds," he said. "They were developed when the task of a hound was to find something by smell or sight." These dogs might fare better on tests of so-called instinctive intelligence, which measure how well dogs do what they are bred to do.

"The dogs that are the brightest dogs in terms of school learning ability tend to be the dogs that are much more recently developed," Coren said. He added that there's a "high probability that we've been breeding dogs so they're more responsive to human beings and human signals." So the most recently bred dogs would be more human-friendly and rank higher on school smarts.

Many of these smarty-pants are also the most popular pets. "We like dogs that understand us," Coren said.

We also love the beagle, which made it to the top 10 list of most popular dog breeds in 2008 by the American Kennel Club. That's because they are so sweet and socialable, Coren said. "Sometimes people love the dumb blonde," Coren said.

And sometimes the dim-wits make better pets. While a smart dog will figure out everything you want it to know, your super pet will also learn everything it can get away with, Coren warns.
 
Last edited:

dallas

O.G.
Jan 17, 2007
6,087
9
Here's one: In an arithmetic test, dogs watch as one treat and then another treat are lowered down behind a screen. When the screen gets lifted, the dogs, if they get arithmetic (1+1=2), will expect to see two treats. (For toddlers, other objects would be used.)

But say the scientist swipes one of the treats, or adds another so the end result is one, or three treats, respectively. "Now we're giving him the wrong equation which is 1+1=1, or 1+1=3," Coren said. Sure enough, studies show the dogs get it. "The dog acts surprised and stares at it for a longer period of time, just like a human kid would," he said.
I'm not for a second doubting the intelligence of our furry buddies, but I have to say the method by which it is tested sounds like nonsense to me. The arithmetic test is based on the dog acting suprised and the length of time it stares? That means the dog gets it? And this Coren guy can somehow compare those results with that of a child ... or "human kid" as he puts it? I don't get it. Perhaps I'm not intelligent enough. :shame:
 

CoffeeAddict

Member
May 15, 2007
241
0
Interesting.

If they got those results from obedience judges then they were skewed.

Border Collies, GSDs and Goldens blanket obedience trials like grains of sand on a beach. If more people took the time to actually train their hounds (or other non traditional OB breeds) for competition obedience then there would be more entered, more doing well and these results would show a different outcome.

Certain breeds are more "programable" then others, but a Border Collie is not smarter than a hound because it wants to work 24/7 and the hound would rather sniff the ground. That just means they are motivated by different things.
 

boomie

Dogs Rule
Nov 24, 2008
2,314
0
Norfolk, Va
Here's the full list: (my Aussie is 42nd?????? No way!)

Ranking of dogs by breed

[edit] Brightest Dogs

* Understanding of New Commands: Fewer than 5 repetitions.
* Obey First Command: 95% of the time or better.

1. Border Collie
2. Poodle
3. German Shepherd Dog
4. Golden Retriever
5. Doberman Pinscher
6. Shetland Sheepdog
7. Labrador Retriever
8. Papillon
9. Rottweiler
10. Australian Cattle Dog

[edit] Excellent Working Dogs

* Understanding of New Commands: 5 to 15 repetitions.
* Obey First Command: 85% of the time or better.

11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
12. Miniature Schnauzer
13. English Springer Spaniel
14. Belgian Shepherd Tervuren
15. Schipperke
Belgian Sheepdog
16. Scotch Collie
Keeshond
17. German Shorthaired Pointer
18. Flat-Coated Retriever
English Cocker Spaniel
Standard Schnauzer
19. Brittany
20. American Cocker Spaniel
21. Weimaraner
22. Belgian Malinois
Bernese Mountain Dog
23. Pomeranian
24. Irish Water Spaniel
25. Vizsla
26. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

[edit] Above Average Working Dogs

* Understanding of New Commands: 15 to 25 repetitions.
* Obey First Command: 70% of the time or better

27. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Puli
Yorkshire Terrier
28. Giant Schnauzer
29. Airedale Terrier
Bouvier des Flandres
30. Border Terrier
Briard
31. Welsh Springer Spaniel
32. Manchester Terrier
33. Samoyed
34. Field Spaniel
Newfoundland
Australian Terrier
American Staffordshire Terrier
Gordon Setter
Bearded Collie
35. Cairn Terrier
Kerry Blue Terrier
Irish Setter
36. Norwegian Elkhound
37. Affenpinscher
Silky Terrier
Miniature Pinscher
English Setter
Pharaoh Hound
Clumber Spaniel
38. Norwich Terrier
39. Dalmatian

[edit] Average Working/Obedience Intelligence

* Understanding of New Commands: 25 to 40 repetitions.
* Obey First Command: 50% of the time or better.

40. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
Bedlington Terrier
Fox Terrier (Smooth)
41. Curly Coated Retriever
Irish Wolfhound
42. Kuvasz
Australian Shepherd
43. Saluki
Finnish Spitz
Pointer
44. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
German Wirehaired Pointer
Black and Tan Coonhound
American Water Spaniel
45. Siberian Husky
Bichon Frise
English Toy Spaniel
46. Tibetan Spaniel
English Foxhound
Otterhound
American Foxhound
Greyhound
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
47. West Highland White Terrier
Scottish Deerhound
48. Boxer
Great Dane
49. Dachshund
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
50. Alaskan Malamute
51. Whippet
Chinese Shar Pei
Wire Fox Terrier
52. Rhodesian Ridgeback
53. Ibizan Hound
Welsh Terrier
Irish Terrier
54. Boston Terrier
Akita

[edit] Fair Working/Obedience Intelligence

* Understanding of New Commands: 40 to 80 repetitions.
* Obey First Command: 30% of the time or better.

55. Skye Terrier
56. Norfolk Terrier
Sealyham Terrier
57. Pug
58. French Bulldog
59. Brussels Griffon
Maltese
60. Italian Greyhound
61. Chinese Crested
62. Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Tibetan Terrier
Japanese Chin
Lakeland Terrier
63. Old English Sheepdog
64. Great Pyrenees
65. Scottish Terrier
Saint Bernard
66. Bull Terrier
67. Chihuahua
68. Lhasa Apso
69. Bullmastiff

[edit] Lowest Degree of Working/Obedience Intelligence

* Understanding of New Commands: 80 to 100 repetitions or more.
* Obey First Command: 25% of the time or worse.

70. Shih Tzu
71. Basset Hound
72. Mastiff
Beagle
73. Pekingese
74. Bloodhound
75. Borzoi
76. Chow Chow
77. Bulldog
78. Basenji
79. Afghan Hound
 

CoffeeAddict

Member
May 15, 2007
241
0
My Aussie would like to question his standing as well. I've never met a smarter dog and I work with dogs everyday.

He learns in less than 5 reps and he obey every single time I ask him to do something. Without question.

Met many Aussies that are smarter than your average BC.
 

Izznit

haha no.
Aug 2, 2007
3,417
3
Interesting article... Thanks for posting!

And thanks Boomie for posting the ranks! I guess 48 isn't too bad... I like to think my boxer's are geniuses though...They always know how to get what they want :lol:
 
Sep 7, 2008
20,931
12
33°53'S,151°10'E
Boomie, it doesn't surprise me that working dogs got a few spots in the top 10. I have an Australian Cattle Dog and I always figured they were a pretty smart breed of dog. Working dogs tend to be good at problem solving and are highly motivated.
CoffeeAddict, the fact a tracking or hound dog scored less in this test does not mean much in the scheme of things. A hound dog that is good at what it does outshines any other breed of dog for that particular task. The results of this dog's intelligence rating, on the other hand, was from a series of set of tests desgined by humans, based on what humans think represents the IQ of a canine. I take it all with a grain of salt. I've met some smart dogs and some pretty dumb dogs in my lifetime, but I'll go out on a limb and say IMHO most of them were smarter to me than a 2.5 year old human...and they were cuter too. They're all winners in my book.
 

Lakritze

♥
O.G.
Jun 4, 2006
1,054
1
Germany
^^ ITA. I think this test doesn't say too much about the IQ of different breeds. They were all bred for different kind of jobs and it doesn't make a dog more intelligent if he responds to commands faster.
 

elizat

Member
Sep 21, 2007
9,779
5
Really interesting!

I have a poodle mix and although he is my baby, I don't think I'd say he is super smart. He does know his toys apart a bit- when you say penguin, he will get that one, when you say bear, he'll get the bear, etc. But, he has his own mind and pretends he is deaf when he is inclined! :amuse:
 

buzzytoes

Dog Chauffeur
O.G.
Jun 7, 2008
15,807
800
43
6600 Feet Above Sea Level
I'm not for a second doubting the intelligence of our furry buddies, but I have to say the method by which it is tested sounds like nonsense to me. The arithmetic test is based on the dog acting suprised and the length of time it stares? That means the dog gets it? And this Coren guy can somehow compare those results with that of a child ... or "human kid" as he puts it? I don't get it. Perhaps I'm not intelligent enough. :shame:

I had the same thoughts as you. Yeah I like to think I know what my dogs are thinking at times but just because they "look" surprised doesn't mean they are. For all anyone knows that's their "sad" look!
 

Brooke11

polisher
Apr 13, 2008
3,780
0
east coast
I think my dogs are much smarter than a two year old :smile: I think my Australian Shep/Border Collie/Akita/Boxer mix is a bit smarter than my Grey Hound/Lab/Poodle/Border Collie/Etc. mix, lol. But honestly, I think my dogs are very intelligent (or psychic, haha).. they know when my fiance and I are about to get home (they go to the door when we're at least a mile away from home still), Cara especially knows my moods -- I can be upset about something and not saying anything (like I read a sad story) and she'll come over and snuggle against me. Oh and about the guilt thing.. my dog Cara shows guilt (Emily does not), which I do not consider fear -- if she does something she isn't supposed to, for example, while I was out, she'll come up to me when I get home with her guilty face. I never, ever yell at my dogs and I don't punish them (I'm doing to have terribly wild children one day, I'm sure), but she knows when she did something that I wouldn't appreciate, like chewing up one of her toys, or stealing a bowl of cat food. I guess I just don't see how her guilt could be fear driven, because I've never given her anything to fear, and she doesn't act fearful about ANYTHING else -- she's basically a fearless dog. Very interesting article though, I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks so much for sharing :smile: