How Smart Is My Dog?

How Smart Is My Dog?

Dog can do the strangest things; they chase their own tails, bark at reflections, dig on solid floors, eat stones, get scared of feather dusters, and steal inanimate objects to hide in the garden - and that’s just to name a few! So, understandably, it can be pretty hard to work out how intelligent they are.

We often presume that dogs that are disobedient or hard to train are lacking in intelligence, but this is far from true. In fact, the smartest dogs are usually the hardest to train - a result of being easily bored, distracted, or too smart for their own good (it is not uncommon for dogs to manipulate their owners to get what they want!).

golden retriever looking up

Who could resist those puppy dog eyes?!

Here are some behaviours that may indicate you own an intelligent dog:

  • They are continually finding new ways to get in trouble e.g. by destroying or chasing things
  • If there is a new exit or possible escape route, they will likely find it
  • They are quick in understanding the meaning of your words
  • They evaluate your mood, and will respond accordingly

Coren Scale

Otherwise, you can look up your dog in the Coren Scale, which ranks canine intelligence in a list by breed. Whilst mixed or cross-breeds may haze this scale a little, typically this is an accurate indicator in how clever your dog is.

Here are the top 10 smartest dog breeds in the Coren Scale:

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

Otherwise, you can test your Pet’s IQ via an online quiz on Petplan or WebMD. Or, you can complete a series of intelligence tests – such as overcoming an obstacle and memory games – such as that seen in WikiHow.

border collie running through water

A basic understanding of your dog’s intelligence will allow you to understand the behaviour and ability of your dog, and adapt your training accordingly. Regardless if they are at the top of the Coren Scale or right at the bottom, dogs are part of the family and need the best entertainment and love you can give them!

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