Dog Intelligence

Dog cognition comes in all shapes and sizes, and intelligence is only one factor in choosing a pet.     A smart dog is not always a well-behaved dog, so it is important to consider other characteristics in order to select a breed that fits your lifestyle.
There are many factors that go into dog intelligence.   In his bestselling book, The Intelligence of   Dogs, neuropsychologist Stanley Coren, PhD, focuses on trainability as a marker of intelligence.       In his view, a measure of strong cognition is the ability to understand new commands within five repetitions and obey them 95% of the time or better.
But training techniques, the atmosphere in which training takes place and the types of motivation provided can greatly impact the results. Dogs not only react to verbal commands, they also follow     our body language and hand gestures.
Dog cognition research has mostly been done on mammals. The work of Thorndike, Pavlov and the outspoken behaviorist John B. Watson set the direction of much research on animal behavior for     more than half a century. During this time there was considerable progress in understanding simple associations; notably around 1930 the differences between Thorndike’s instrumental (or operant) conditioning and Pavlov’s classical (or Pavlovian) conditioning were clarified, first by Miller and Kanorski, then by B.F. Skinner. (Wikipedia).
The following breeds are universally recognized for their superior intelligence and trainability.
 Top Ten Most Intelligent Dogs
  1. Border Collie: A workaholic, this breed is the world’s premier sheep herder prized for its intelligence, extraordinary instinct and working ability.
  2. Poodle: Exceptionally smart and active, this dog is bred to retrieve things from the water. The miniature variety may have been used for truffle hunting.
  3. German Shepherd: The world’s leading police, guard, and military dog, and a loving family companion and herder.
  4. Golden Retriever: Intelligent and eager to please. Bred as a hunting companion, this breed is ideal as a guide and for assisting with search-and-rescue operations.
  5. Doberman Pinscher: Known for its stamina and speed. Bred to be a guardian and in demand as a police and war dog.
  6. Shetland Sheepdog: The “Sheltie” is essentially a miniature working Collie. A rough-coated, longhaired breed that is keenly intelligent. Excels in herding.
  7. Labrador Retriever: An ideal sporting and family dog. Gentle and intelligent.
  8. Papillon: A happy, alert breed that isn’t shy or aggressive. Known as Dwarf Spaniels in the 16th and 17th centuries, they reach 8-11 inches high.
  9. Rottweiler: Robust, powerful and happiest with a job. Suitable as a police dog, herder, service dog, therapy dog, obedience competitor and devoted companion.
  10. Australian Cattle Dog: Happiest doing a job like herding, obedience or agility. Energetic and intelligent.



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