Dog Intelligence Ranking: Discover How Smart Your Pooch Really Is!

LAST MODIFIED: Monday, February 18, 2019
Intelligent Dog Reading The Newspaper

Have you ever wondered why some dogs are easier to train than others?

Does it have anything to do with intelligence?

One of the most popular and best-known studies in the field of dog breed intelligence is Stanley Coren’s “The Intelligence of Dogs.”

 

Dog Intelligence Ranking

The intelligence of dogs is a very broad term and has been the subject of many studies and much research. A dogs intelligence is generally defined as the ability of a dog to think, learn and solve various problems.

In the past, most studies of animal intelligence were focused on observation of behavior, based on the famous Pavlov’s dog experiments. Today there are numerous tests and researches which study the subject of intelligence in dogs in detail. Certainly one of the most popular and recognized research in this field is “The Intelligence of Dogs” by Stanley Coren.

When the book first came out in 1994, there were a lot of negative commentaries and bad media attention. Particularly controversial was Coren’s list of the smartest dog breeds. But the methodology he used in ranking the breeds become accepted and valid over the years.

There are three types of intelligence according to Coren’s book:

  1. Adaptive – learning and problem-solving ability, which is individual and measured by canine IQ tests.
  2. Instinctive – also individual and measured by canine IQ tests.
  3. Working intelligence – also called obedience intelligence, which depends on the breed.

Coren published a number of other books and studies on dog behavior and psychology, and he concluded that dogs could solve complex problems and are more like humans and other higher primates than previously thought. According to his studies, dogs know how to count, understand more than 150 words and may deliberately deceive other dogs and people to get treats. His research showed that dog intelligence is at the level of a two-year child.

Studies also showed that dogs by observing could learn: where is the valuable object (eg. a treat), the shortest routes in the environment (eg. The fastest way to a favorite spot), how to handle simple devices (such as latches) and the meaning of words and their symbols (just by listening to the speech of people and by watching their actions).

 

Dog Intelligence List

If you want to know which dog breeds are the smartest, here is a list of the smartest dog breeds, based on Coren’s “The Intelligence of Dogs. And if you want to check your dog’s IQ by yourself, there is a lot of interesting games and questionnaires at Dognition to test your dog.

We must emphasize that this study has its drawbacks. It did not cover all known types of dogs, however it did cover 130 breeds. Many new races and crossbreeds were omitted.

Here is Coren’s list of the smartest dogs ranked dogs by working and obedience intelligence in six categories:

 

CATEGORY 1: BRIGHTEST DOGS

German Shepard Chewing on a Toy

5 or Less Repetitions Required to Understand New Commands:

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

 

CATEGORY 2: EXCELLENT WORKING DOGS

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

5-15 Repetitions Required to Understand New Commands:

  1. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  2. Miniature Schnauzer
  3. English Springer Spaniel
  4. Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervuren)
  5. Schipperke, Belgian Sheepdog
  6. Collie, Keeshond
  7. German Shorthaired Pointer
  8. Flat-Coated Retriever, English Cocker Spaniel, Standard Schnauzer
  9. Brittany
  10. Cocker Spaniel
  11. Weimaraner
  12. Belgian Malinois, Bernese Mountain Dog
  13. Pomeranian
  14. Irish Water Spaniel
  15. Vizsla
  16. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

 

CATEGORY 3: ABOVE AVERAGE WORKING DOGS

Yorkshire Terrier

15-25 Repetitions Required to Understand New Commands:

  1. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
    Puli
    Yorkshire Terrier
  2. Giant Schnauzer
    Portuguese Water Dog
  3. Airedale Terrier
    Bouvier des Flandres
  4. Border Terrier
    Briard
  5. Welsh Springer Spaniel
  6. Manchester Terrier
  7. Samoyed
  8. Field Spaniel
    Newfoundland
    Australian Terrier
    American Staffordshire Terrier
    Gordon Setter
    Bearded Collie
  9. Cairn Terrier
    Kerry Blue Terrier
    Irish Setter
  10. Norwegian Elkhound
  11. Affenpinscher
    Australian Silky Terrier
    Miniature Pinscher
    English Setter
    Pharaoh Hound
    Clumber Spaniel
  12. Norwich Terrier
  13. Dalmatian

 

CATEGORY 4: AVERAGE WORKING/OBEDIENCE INTELLIGENCE

Siberian Husky

25-40 Repetitions Required to Understand New Commands:

  1. Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier
    Bedlington Terrier
    Fox Terrier (Smooth)
  2. Curly Coated Retriever
    Irish Wolfhound
  3. Kuvasz
    Australian Shepherd
  4. Saluki
    Finnish Spitz
    Pointer
  5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
    German Wirehaired Pointer
    Black and Tan Coonhound
    American Water Spaniel
  6. Siberian Husky
    Bichon Frise
    Havanese
    King Charles Spaniel
  7. Tibetan Spaniel
    English Foxhound
    Otterhound
    Jack Russell Terrier
    American Foxhound
    Greyhound
    Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  8. West Highland White Terrier
    Scottish Deerhound
  9. Boxer
    Great Dane
  10. Dachshund
    Shiba Inu
    Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  11. Alaskan Malamute
  12. Whippet
    Chinese Shar Pei
    Wire Fox Terrier
  13. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  14. Ibizan Hound
    Welsh Terrier
    Irish Terrier
  15. Boston Terrier
    Akita

 

CATEGORY 5: FAIR WORKING/OBEDIENCE INTELLIGENCE

French Bulldog

40-80 Repetitions Required to Understand New Commands:

  1. Skye Terrier
  2. Norfolk Terrier
    Sealyham Terrier
  3. Pug
  4. French Bulldog
  5. Griffon Bruxellois
    Maltese
  6. Italian Greyhound
    Coton de Tulear
  7. Chinese Crested
  8. Dandie Dinmont Terrier
    Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
    Tibetan Terrier
    Japanese Chin
    Lakeland Terrier
  9. Old English Sheepdog
  10. Great Pyrenees
  11. Scottish Terrier
    Saint Bernard
  12. Bull Terrier
  13. Chihuahua
  14. Lhasa Apso
  15. Bullmastiff

 

CATEGORY 6: LOWEST DEGREE OF WORKING/OBEDIENCE INTELLIGENCE

Chow Chow

80-100 Repetitions Required to Understand New Commands:

  1. Shih Tzu
  2. Basset Hound
  3. Mastiff
    Beagle
  4. Pekingese
  5. Bloodhound
  6. Borzoi
  7. Chow Chow
  8. Bulldog
  9. Basenji
  10. Afghan Hound

If your canine is not ranked so well, don’t give up easily. Remember that Coren’s list of the smartest dogs is mostly based on a dog´s willingness to accept training. Just like people, some dogs learn faster, and some dogs need more patience and persistence.

With proper technique and the right kind of motivation, whether it’s treats, petting, or praise you shouldn’t have any issues training your dog.

 

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