Maybe you’re not imagining it. Maybe your dog really is dumb! Dr. Stanley Coren, a professor of canine psychology at the University of British Columbia asked 208 U.S. obedience trainers nationwide to rank dog breeds from smartest to dumbest.  Here’s a list of the canine world’s biggest ding-a-lings.

 

What’s Canine Intelligence?

 

Before we can determine who’s the smartest pup in the park, we have to understand what we’re measuring. Dr. Coren identified three aspects of cognition that he believed signaled brainpower.

 

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Instinctive Intelligence

 

This is the intelligence innate to the breed. Guard dogs protect, hounds track, and collies corral. Extending the same concept to species, you could say that herd animals are capable of navigating complex social group cues, that lions predate intelligently, and some fish and birds are capable of producing the instantaneous responses necessary to create murmuration, the process of moving in perfect synchronicity.

 

Adaptive Intelligence

 

Inside every breed or species there are standouts. These are individuals that possess an ability to live in their environment, encounter problems, and then find solutions for either selfish or altruistic reasons. One example of a dog demonstrating adaptive intelligence is Chaser, a Border Collie, that with the help of her trainer, learned the meaning of 1000 proper nouns and categories. Border Collies, by the way, are consistently ranked by AKA obedience trainers as brightest of all breeds.

 

 

Another example of Adaptive Intelligence is a wild Australian cockatoo, recently featured in the news, that learned how to open garbage dumpsters to find food. Once the problem had been solved, other cockatoos observed the behavior, learned it, and then repeated it at other dumpsters. Currently researchers are watching the skill fan across the Australian map from the initial point of learning.

 

 

Working and Obedience Intelligence

 

The last kind of intelligence as identified by Dr. Coren is the ability to learn what certain commands and signals mean, remember them, and then execute the behavior when the command is given. As an example: we entice a dog to sit, the dog sits and when he does, we speak the command, ‘Sit.’  Dr. Coren would argue that those dogs that are able to quickly learn and remember long term that the command, ‘sit’ equals resting back on one’s haunches are smarter than their counterparts.

Other Ways of Contemplating Animal Intelligence

 

While the ability of dogs to learn verbal and visual cues from humans and associate them with specific actions is undoubtedly the main reason we domesticated dogs to being with, this notion of intelligence seems anthropomorphic. Just because dogs are more interested in learning human commands than cats doesn’t necessarily mean that cats are dumber than dogs (as any cat owner can attest). It’s more likely that dogs evolved to be especially aware of the nuanced behavior of humans as a signal of when it was safe to scavenge around human encampments. As humans and dogs started to live in closer proximity, dogs were probably naturally and purposefully selected for their ability to pay attention to human verbal and non-verbal signals. So a dog’s ability to learn commands isn’t necessarily as sign of intelligence as much as it is a sign that the animal is better suited as a working animal for man’s use.

 

Indeed, the more humans try to zero in on an exact definition of intelligence that takes into account all animal species, the more illusive the definition becomes. Bees are amazing communicators with an ability to transmit the location of a nectar source, sometimes as far as a mile away, to thousands of other bees while doing something called a waggle dance inside a pitch black hive. The human equivalent of this feat would be for a person to communicate to others the location of a pot of gold hidden in distant forest by walking in figure eight circles inside a completely dark room and buzzing. Bees do not obey human commands, but surely their ability to communicate complex directions to thousands of other bees hints at some kind of special skill, albeit not one that humans might think of as especially intelligent.

 

Testing Individual Animal Intelligence

 

To try to level the playing field for all species, most researchers lean on the Adaptive Intelligence definition when giving out grades for smarts. That is to say, given a problem or obstacle, which individuals or species are more likely to find a solution?  Some of the species that are known standouts in this area are:

 

New Caledonian Crows

 

In both the wild and in research settings, the members of this species of birds from the Pacific Islands have demonstrated the ability to fashion and use tools suggesting that the birds are able to encounter obstacles to survival in the wild and navigate novel approaches based on the circumstances.

 

Octopuses

 

Octopuses continue to wow researches with their ability to navigate mazes and solve problems. What makes this feat especially amazing is that they do this with a complex neural anatomy of nine brains.

 

 

Goats and Chimps

 

Both goats and chimps demonstrate the ability to learn solutions to novel problems, but maybe more importantly, remember them for a long time, in some cases, outpacing their human counterparts.

 

 

But Back To the Dumbest Dogs

 

Because it was unfair to evaluate and scale dog intelligence based on Instinctive Intelligence (who is to say that the ability to guard is superior to the ability to hunt?) or Adaptive Intelligence (only a handful of canine examples are widely known), Dr. Corin decided to reach out to American and Canadian Kennel Club obedience trainers. These are individuals that clock hundreds of hours observing and conducting training on pure breed dogs. Approximately 200 of these trainers shared their experience observing all breeds of dogs and came up with a list of those breeds that have the most difficult time learning commands and remembering them. Tell us if you think you own the exception to the rule!

 

The Beagle, The World’s 8th Worst At Learning and Remembering Commands

 

In our opinion, Beagles are not dumb, rather they are driven to pursue their goals, not ours. That’s likely what’s holding them back from learning commands…they have no interest!

 

The Shih Tzu. Maybe her bow is too tight?  #11 World’s Dumbest

 

How stupid can they be if they figured out how to be the royal dogs of Chinese Emperors for centuries?

The Bulldog. Ranked #3 as World’s Dumbest Dog

And I thought that was drool coming out of his mouth. Turned out to be leaky brains!  Nah, bulldogs, like the other dogs that are least obedient just happen to be more concerned with what they think they should do rather than what we think the should do.

 

World’s Dumbest Dog?

Drum Roll Please!  Click the link below to see the dog that made Dr. Corin’s list as World’s Dumbest Dog.

 

World’s Dumbest Dog

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Maybe you’re not imagining it. Maybe your dog really is dumb! Dr. Stanley Coren, a professor of canine psychology at the University of British Columbia asked 208 U.S. obedience trainers nationwide to rank dog breeds from smartest to dumbest.  Here’s a list of the canine world’s biggest ding-a-lings.

 

What’s Canine Intelligence?

 

Before we can determine who’s the smartest pup in the park, we have to understand what we’re measuring. Dr. Coren identified three aspects of cognition that he believed signaled brainpower.

 

Instinctive Intelligence

 

This is the intelligence innate to the breed. Guard dogs protect, hounds track, and collies coral. Extending the same concept to species, you could say that herd animals are capable of navigating complex social group cues, that lions predate intelligently, and some fish and birds are capable of producing the instantaneous responses necessary to create murmuration, the process of moving in perfect synchronicity.

 

Adaptive Intelligence

 

Inside every breed or species there are standouts. These are individuals that possess an ability to live in their environment, encounter problems, and then find solutions for either selfish or altruistic reasons. One example is a dog demonstrating adaptive intelligence is Chaser, a Border Collie, that with the help of her trainer, learned the meaning of 1000 proper nouns and categories. Border Collies, by the way, are consistently ranked by AKA obedience trainers as brightest of all breeds.

 

 

Another example of Adaptive Intelligence is a wild Australian cockatoo, recently featured in the news, that learned how to open garbage dumpsters to find food. Once the problem had been solved, other cockatoos observed the behavior, learned it and then repeated it at other dumpsters. Currently researchers are watching the learned skill fan across the Australian map from the initial point of learning.

 

 

Working and Obedience Intelligence

 

The last kind of intelligence as identified by Dr. Coren is the ability to learn what certain commands and signals mean, remember them, and then execute the behavior when the command is given. As an example: we entice a dog to sit, the dog sits and when he does, we speak the command, ‘Sit.’  Dr. Coren would argue that those dogs that are able to quickly learn and remember long term that the command, ‘sit’ equals resting back on one’s haunches are smarter than their counterparts.

Other Ways of Contemplating Animal Intelligence

 

While the ability of dogs to learn verbal and visual cues from humans and associate them with specific actions is undoubtedly the main reason we domesticated dogs to being with, this notion of intelligence seemsanthropomorphic. Just because dogs are more interested in learning human commands than cats doesn’t necessarily mean that cats are dumber than dogs (as any cat owner can attest). It’s more likely that dogs evolved to be especially aware of the nuanced behavior of humans as a signal of when it was safe to scavenge around human encampments. As humans and dogs started to live in closer proximity, dogs were probably naturally and purposefully selected for their ability to pay attention to human verbal and non-verbal signals. So a dog’s ability to learn commands isn’t necessarily as sign of intelligence as much as it is a sign that the animal is better suited as a working animal for man’s use.

 

Indeed, the more humans try to zero in on an exact definition of intelligence that takes into account all animal species, the more illusive the definition becomes. Bees are amazing communicators with an ability to transmit the location of a nectar source, sometimes as far as a mile away, to thousands of other bees while doing something called a waggle dance inside a pitch black hive. The human equivalent of this feat would be for a person to communicate to others the location of a pot of gold hidden in distant forest by walking in figure eight circles inside a completely dark room and buzzing. Bees do not obey human commands, but surely their ability to communicate complex directions to thousands of other bees hints at some kind of special skill, albeit not one that humans might think of as especially intelligent.

 

Testing Individual Animal Intelligence

 

To try to level the playing field for all species, most researchers lean on the Adaptive definition of intelligence when giving out grades for smarts. That is to say: given a problem or obstacle, which individuals or species are more likely to find a solution.  Some of the species that are known standouts in this area are:

 

New Caledonian Crows

 

In both the wild and in research settings, this species of birds from the Pacific Islands have demonstrated the ability to fashion and use tools suggesting that the birds are able to encounter obstacles to survival in the wild and navigate novel approaches based on the circumstances.

 

Octopuses

 

Octopi continue to wow researches with their ability to navigate mazes and solve problems. What makes this feat especially amazing is that they do this with a complex neural anatomy of nine brains.

 

 

Goats and Chimps

 

Both goats and chimps demonstrate the ability to learn solutions to novel problems, but maybe more importantly, remember them for a long time, in some cases, outpacing their human counterparts.

 

 

But Back To the Dumbest Dogs

 

Because it was unfair to evaluate and scale dog intelligence based on Instinctive Intelligence (who is to say that the ability to guard is superior to the ability to hunt?) or Adaptive Intelligence (only a handful of canine examples are widely known), Dr. Corin decided to reach out to American and Canadian Kennel Club obedience trainers. These are individuals that clock hundreds of hours observing and conducting training on pure breed dogs. Approximately 200 of these trainers shared their experience observing all breeds of dogs and came up with a list of those breeds that have the most difficult time learning commands and remembering them. Tell us if you think you own the exception to the rule!

 

The Beagle, The World’s 8th Worst At Learning and Remembering Commands

 

In our opinion, Beagles are not dumb, but they are driven. That’s likely what’s holding them back from learning commands…they have no interest!

 

The Shih Tzu. Maybe her bow is too tight?  #11 World’s Dumbest

 

How stupid can they be if they figured out how to be the royal dogs of Chinese Emperors for centuries?

The Bulldog. Ranked #3 as World’s Dumbest Dog

And I thought that was drool coming out of his mouth. Turned out to be leaky brains!  Nah, bulldogs, like the other dogs that are least obedient just happen to be more concerned with what they think they should do rather than what WE think the should do.

 

World’s Dumbest Dog?

Drum Roll Please!  Click the link below to see the dog that made Dr. Corin’s list as World’s Dumbest Dog.

 

World’s Dumbest Dog