While all dogs make for best friends, some are, um, more lovably clueless than others. But when it comes to working intelligence (i.e. following commands), certain types stand out from the pack. After surveying almost 200 dog-obedience judges, psychologist Stanley Coren named these breeds as the best of the bunch in his book The Intelligence of Dogs.
And, if you’re curious, we’ve answered some FAQs about dogs’ IQs that may blow your mind:
What makes a dog “smart?”
Coren evaluated breeds’ levels of intelligence based on instincts, obedience, and ability to adapt. But pet behavior specialist Sarah Hodgson says it’s all relative. “Some are social and emotionally dependent on people, so they are easier to train and far more receptive to our vision of what they should do,” she says. “But they have little intuitive smarts.”
One example is a hound, because although they’re not receptive, they have superior senses of sight and smell. Similarly, terriers might not take direction well, but they have excellent hearing.
Do dogs have an IQ?
Not exactly. Like Hodgson explained, “IQ” really depends on the quality you’re observing. In Coren’s book, you can have your dog take an IQ test he created based on his analyses.
Are bigger dogs smarter than small dogs?
It hasn’t been confirmed as a fact, but research suggests that bigger dogs could be smarter. If you look at this list, you’ll find that the only tiny pup is the papillon. Coren recently posed this question in a post for Psychology Today, aptly titled “Are Big Dogs Smarter Than Small Dogs?”
Looking at a study from earlier this year, Coren shared, “Data were obtained from 1,888 dogs, and the results were unambiguous. There was a clear trend indicating that larger dogs were able to accurately remember over a longer period of time than were their smaller counterparts.”
Keep in mind, however, that some companion dogs were bred to have particular traits, like being calm and non-confrontational. Hodgson adds that many small breeds are bred down from larger breeds, and thus have similar drives, instincts, and yes, smarts.