My dog is smarter than your dog: How to identify pet intelligence

Just like people, dogs have differing levels of intelligence. You may have wondered whether your own pet dog is the Einstein of the furry world, or whether he or she is lacking in the brain cell department. To find this out we need to have a look at what intelligence actually is in the dogie domain.

In the wild dogs who were intelligent would learn how to work as a team. This was necessary for survival, and also to ensure that pack members all found their place successfully in the pack. They would have behaved in such a way that was helpful to other pack members, so that the pack could perform as a unit. This type of intelligence is instinctive in nature.

Another type of dog intelligence, which crosses over slightly with the first in places, is that which is learnt and which is picked up from the environment. This kind of intelligence shows a dogs ability to adapt to his or her social environment and to get the most out of it.

The breed of your dog is said to have a bearing on their intelligence, hence German Shepherds are said to be brighter than Afghan Hounds. But this assumption is based on genetics alone, and doesn’t take into account social learning. So an Afghan Hound may still be brighter than a German Shepherd under the right circumstances. Its unlikely, but it is possible!

The amount of social interaction that your dog has had, particularly while growing up can also have a bearing on how well they perform in intelligence tests. A dog who already understands commands and knows that it is likely to receive a treat for doing well is more likely to succeed faster in some reward based activities.

There are as many variables as there are intelligence tests that may affect how well your dog performs in man made tests, which incidentally are sometimes based more on the human idea of intelligence than that which resides in the world of dogs.

However, there are some basic ways to find out if your dog has the intelligence of Lassie, or of the hapless wolf in the Roadrunner cartoons. Its best for your dog if you approach these tests with fun in mind, making them a game for your furry pal, rather than a stressful chore.


Place a towel over your dogs head, so that his or her eyes are covered, and see how long it takes for your dog to get it off again. make sure though, that you dont let your hound walk into a wall in this state like my intelligent dog did immediately when we did the test. Apparently if the towel is removed in under fifteen seconds then

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