My Dog Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student — Really

250px-Wikilabrador_jardin200px-A_child_runningNext time some parents carries on about how smarter their toddler is, throw the little boy a ball and tell him to roll over. A recent student has shown that dogs are actually as smart or smarter than most 2 1/2 year old toddlers. I was told about the study after my speech at the American Psychological Association in Toronto this week.

The study was conducted by tanley Coren, a professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia.

The average dog can understand about 165 words, including signs, signals and gestures. They can also count to about 5 — try that on your typical AKC toddler, even with Mozart in the womb and flash cards since birth.

It appears, however, that some breeds are smarter than others. In the book “The Intelligence of Dogs,” a poll of dog-obedience judges put border collies, poodles, retrievers, German shepherds and Doberman pinschers on top. The slow-sledding dogs at the bottom of the list were borzoi, chow chow, bulldog, and basenji. The breed at the end of this intellectual dog sled team was the Afghan hound.

However, while studies have shown that apes are smarter than toddler, prior studies showing dogs are as smart have been clouded by controversy after the dogs were accused of cheating. Dr. Emma Collier-Baker insisted “Dogs were a surprising exception, repeatedly passing the task in several studies in the 1990s. However, our study – involving 35 dogs of various breeds – showed they were using other simple cues to find the object and not ‘thinking’ or using logic after all.” Others have suspected that Collier-Baker is a shill or scratching post for the cat industry.

Consider Maggie the Amazing Counting Dog:

Then there is this incredible canine:

The final proof:

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5 thoughts on “My Dog Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student — Really”

  1. I have an Australian Shepherd. She is the 4th aussie I’ve had and isn’t as bright as the others were but she is still smarter than my 16 year old nephew. she can count to 5 and is learning Japanese.
    she knows the difference between “front yard” and “backyard” she knows the difference between my car and my jeep. she knows the names of my kids and that she allowed to drink from the pool but not the koi pond. she was three when we got her from a show kennel and had never been in a house before that so she is kind of a freak but she can ask for what she wants and is very charming.
    my nephew, sadly, is stuck on “what’s in it for me” and Hitler’s 14 words.
    I don’t think he’ll be learning Japanese anytime soon.

    enu means dog in Japanese.

  2. Our two year old Yellow Lab, named Buster, is a sweetheart that loves everyone and sometimes gets overexcited when company arrives. He is pretty smart, but he sometimes is too playful to listen. He knows how to wake me up in the morning to take him out and he also is pretty good with and without a leash. He usually goes into the wild areas of the yard to do his “bidness” as AY calls it, which makes my cleanup easier. I don’t know if he is smarter than a 2 1/2 year old, but he is a good pup nonetheless!

  3. I have a mixed dog. Australian Shepherd/Collie. She has all of the colorings of the Collie but the marking of the Shep. Zee Fraulines name is Goldie. I was unaware until somebody posted on her that that was a Aldophs Shepherds name. She is lovable and well trained, she is good. She is about 14 months old so still a pup. When she wants to go out to yard, she is smart enough to lick me on the ear, so I get up, let her out and then she does her bidness.

    She becomes immediately different when you put her leash on. Totally submissive and ready to walk. She had helped get me through a few rough patches.

  4. I once knew a guy who bred Afghans. They are without a doubt the dumbest breed going. You have to keep the hair trimmed away from their mouths because if they start eating it, they are too stupid to stop before they choke.

    That being said, dogs often not only display more intelligence than children, but many adults too. I forget which comic said it, but “you don’t see [dogs] working 9 to 5 or screwing each other over for a percentage.”

    We don’t even need to discuss the whole “who has generally better character, man or dog?” issue, do we?

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