When considering welcoming a new dog into your home, there are many things to take into account. From the amount of energy they have to their physical needs and if they are compatible with children, it’s important to be aware of all aspects when choosing the right pup for you. One of these factors is the breed’s intelligence, some canines are far more clever than others, so understanding which breeds rank higher in cognitive ability will help you make the most informed decision.
A recent study conducted at the University of Helsinki in Finland set out to discover the most intelligent breeds by assessing 1000 dogs from 13 different types. This included Belgian Malinois, English Cocker Spaniels, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers alongside mixed-breed pooches. A series of 10 cognitive and behavioral tests were put forth, such as memory retention and how well they could read human gestures – with each breed’s performance determining their final ranking. Although this research has been hailed as potentially being one of the largest laboratory studies on canine intelligence ever conducted, Labrador Retrievers ended up sitting near the bottom for their lackluster problem solving and inhibitory control skills.
The Belgian Malinois came out on top after gaining 35 points out of 39. This breed is commonly used within law enforcement due its intelligence levels and was closely followed by Border Collies (26 points) and Hovawarts (25 points). However, not all pooches performed evenly across all tasks. While Labradors may have been weak in certain areas, they excelled when it came to understanding human gestures.
As for the dumbest breed? According to Professor Stanley Coren’s 1994 research The Intelligence of Dogs, this title belongs to Afghan Hounds who have an especially low obedience intelligence and find it difficult to learn new commands. Basenji dogs, Bulldogs, and Chow Chows also fall relatively low on the scale compared to other canine breeds.
Ultimately, selecting a new pup based solely on their intelligent capabilities isn’t always advisable. Many other factors should be taken into consideration such as whether or not it will fit in with your lifestyle or how much exercise it needs daily. But knowing which breeds top the intelligent rankings is definitely beneficial information that can help inform your decision-making process when choosing your perfect pooch pal!