Dogs could be more intelligent than two year olds

by Leanne Thompson on August 11, 2009

Looking at your dog, you might be forgiven for thinking they think of nothing more than eating, sleeping and walkies, but apparently they can also understand certain words and even basic maths according to scientists.

The scientists also said that some dogs are as bright as the average two year old and can comprehend around 250 words or gestures and even do simple maths or count to five.

Of course, not all breeds of dog are equal though.  Top of the class is the Border collie, then the Poodle and the German shepherd, followed by the Golden retriever and the Doberman Pinscher.  At the bottom of the class – it might be best not to tell them – were the Basset hound, the Mastiff and the Beagle.

Professor Stanley Coren, a canine expert from the University of British Columbia, said:

“The average dog is about as bright linguistically as a human two year-old. This means they can understand about 165 words, signs and signals.  Those in the top 20 per cent were able to understand as many as 250 words and signals, about the same as a two-and-a-half-year-old.”

The professor reviewed studies and showed how dogs can count to four or five and pick out problems in simple maths, suggesting they are capable of doing simple maths.

Within the study, treats were lowered one by one behind a screen as the dogs watched and then the screen was lifted.  When scientists secretly removed or added a treat, the dogs searched for longer, indicating they realised there was a problem.

Professor Coren said: “Dogs can tell that one plus one should equal two and not one or three.  The dogs that are the brightest in terms of school learning ability tend to be the dogs that are much more recently developed.  There’s a high probability that we’ve been breeding dogs so they’re more responsive to human beings.”

Is your dog more intelligent than the average two year old?

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