All dog lovers will tell you that the man’s best friend has intelligence, and is capable of learning, memory and reasoning prowess. If all dogs are able to integrate and memorize a minimum of orders and words, some are more talented than others.
The American researcher Stanley Coren has established a ranking of the most intelligent breeds, according to several criteria that allowed him to calculate their cognitive abilities.
How to define intelligence in dogs?
Dr. Coren has demonstrated three types of intelligence in dogs: innate intelligence (thus related to genetic factors), the intelligence of adaptation and the intelligence of work. As with us humans, dogs are more or less talented in different areas, and of course the genetic share of each race will determine the faculties in question.
For example, it is this instinctive intelligence that is expressed in sheepdogs when they find themselves in the presence of a herd or even hunting dogs in the face of prey. This instinct allows them to “know” what to do and it will then be easier to teach them the appropriate orders for the situation. But the dog also has faculties of learning beyond these instinctive tendencies; thus, the Labrador and the Golden Retriever make wonderful guides for the blind and assistance because it is in their nature to learn orders and apply them to the right situations. This ability to analyze and react back to the intelligence of adaptation.
Finally, work intelligence depends on the factors mentioned above but also on concentration and endurance in defined work situations. In all these forms of intelligence, memory, observation and mimicry, which can be developed by stimulation, also play a fundamental role. Language comprehension is also crucial for measuring dog intelligence, and some can include up to 1000 words versus about 165 words in an “average” dog!
6. The Border Collie
The Border Collie is a herding dog with excellent working skills and needs sustained intellectual and physical stimulation. Real gifted shepherd dogs, obedience and agility competitions, he is very receptive to education and must be firmly but justly led from an early age. Athletic and voluntary, he needs a master available and open to physical activities, who knows both develop its capabilities and channel its energy overflowing. His aptitude for work is well established and is often cited as the most intelligent breed. His strong instinct, however, must be controlled and it should be reserved for experienced masters.
5. The Australian Shepherd
It is not for nothing that this breed is more and more popular in recent years. The “aussie” has great learning abilities, a great memory and a concentration faculty of many sheepdogs. These assets make it very effective in many situations of working with livestock, but also with humans: the Australian Shepherd excels in particular in agility and rhythmic obedience, a discipline consisting in “dancing” with his dog. He is able to remember hundreds of words, analyze situations and act accordingly. Like all intelligent races, it needs to be stimulated every day by play and various learning.
4. The German Shepherd
The power and loyalty of the German Shepherd are undoubtedly his best assets. He remained for many years the favorite dog of the French. He is appreciated in the policing community for his quiet strength and coolness that make him an excellent rescue dog. His natural abilities for learning and obedience, as well as his remarkable will are recognized in all countries. Sometimes a victim of her success, the German Shepherd has a great need for physical exercise and can be bored easily, so city life is not necessarily made for him. He will flourish with a dynamic master to whom he will prove his unparalleled loyalty.
3. The Poodle
This little dog full of malice deserves its place in the top 6 of the most intelligent breeds! Indeed, if his size is not intended for intense work, he can learn many tricks and understand several hundred words and situations. Sensitive and energetic, the Poodle is affectionate and very attached to his master, and his playful temperament allows him to be easily educated by playful means. He is an excellent candidate for acrobatic prowess, so he is often used to perform numbers in the circus and music hall. His thirst for learning makes him a friendly, willing and tireless accomplice, sometimes even a little too much!
2. The Golden Retriever
Like his cousin Labrador, the Goldie is known for his skills as a service dog and guide dog for the blind. Docile and easy to educate, he needs a master present and to spend many walks, if possible at the water’s edge. Indeed, the Golden Retriever loves to swim and his favorite game is to bring back objects thrown into the water. It is a dog that educates rather than stands up: the best results will be achieved through play and positive reinforcement. On the other hand, he is able to steer himself in unjust situations and does not support punishment. His great sense of smell also makes him an excellent tracking dog, he is also used for the detection of explosives.
1. The Rottweiler
This category 2 guard dog is affectionate, willing and dedicated to his master. As a working dog, he is prized for his reliability, unlike the image unfairly conveyed by popular belief. Well trained, he has no reason to be unpredictable but his status as a dangerous dog taint his reputation. However, the Rottweiler has many qualities behind its molosse tunes, including excellent learning and a desire to please. It is certainly not a dog to put in all hands because it has a strong temperament and great physical strength. He is gentle with children and must be educated to remain dissuasive above all else.