Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How smart is a dog, really?

When seeing dogs in movies and TV commercials, some of them are pretty fantastic. The tricks have required extensive training, of course, but how smart is the average pooch, really? 

Stanley Coren at the University of British Columbia asked the same thing. According to the website livescience.com, a number of tests on dogs have given astonishing results.

Testing dogs on language revealed that the average pooch is on par with a 2-year-old child, able to learn around 165 words, including signals and gestures. Testing dogs on arithmetics gave even more interesting results; they trump a 3-4 year old and most dogs can count at least to four or five. They also have good social and spatial skills.

Border Collies, Poodles, and German
Shepherds top Coren's list
of smart dogs.
The smartest dogs are, according to Coren, Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds. One Border Collie has been tested on 1022 words. In comparison, 1,000 words make up 75% of the Oxford English Corpus; a measurement of which words are really used in everyday situations.

Now is a good time to point out that the smartest dogs don't necessarily make easy pets. Someone clever enough to figure out everything you say will also be smart enough to make up plenty of mischief, get bored easily, and know exactly how much they can get away with. =)

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