The Intelligence of Dogs – The LIST

Stanley Coren (born 1942) is a psychology professor and neuropsychological researcher who has become best known to the general public for a series of books regarding the intelligence, mental abilities and history of dogs. Through television shows and media coverage that has been broadcast in Canada and the United States as well as overseas, he has become popular with dog owners, while continuing research and instruction in psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia.

According to S. Coren, author of “The Intelligence of Dogs”, there are three types of dog intelligence:

  • Adaptive Intelligence (learning and problem-solving ability). This is specific to the individual animal and is measured by canine IQ tests.
  • Instinctive Intelligence. This is specific to the individual animal and is measured by canine IQ tests.
  • Working/Obedience Intelligence. This is breed dependent.

And, I personally think he’s brilliant.

Methodology

The author used “understanding of new commands” and “obey first command” as his standards of intelligence. He surveyed dog trainers and compiled this list of dog intelligence. While this method of ordering dog intelligence is acceptable for training and working with dogs, it does not apply to the genetic intelligence which can be measured by ingenuity and understanding of common situations.[5] The drawback of this rating scale, by the author’s own admission, is that it is heavily weighted towards obedience related behavioural traits (e.g. working or guard dogs), rather than understanding or creativity (e.g. hunting dogs).

As a result, some breeds may appear lower on the list due to their stubborn or independent nature, but this nature does not make them unintelligent or impossible to train. The book includes other sections on hunting and other intelligence types, as well a general IQ test that owners can perform on their dogs; that test is better weighted for ingenuity and independent problem solving, but rankings were provided only for working intelligence, and are listed below.

  •  1–10 Brightest Dogs
  • 11–26 Excellent Working Dogs
  • 27–39 Above Average Working Dogs
  • 40–54 Average Working/Obedience Intelligence
  • 55–69 Fair Working/Obedience Intelligence
  • 70–79 Lowest Degree of Working/Obedience Intelligence

Ranking of dogs by breed

Brightest Dogs

  • Understanding of New Commands: Fewer than 5 repetitions.
  • Obey First Command: 95% of the time or better.
  1. Border Collie
  2. Poodle
  3. German Shepherd
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Doberman Pinscher
  6. Shetland Sheepdog
  7. Labrador Retriever
  8. Papillon
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Australian Cattle Dog

Excellent Working Dogs

  • Understanding of New Commands: 5 to 15 repetitions.
  • Obey First Command: 85% of the time or better.
  1. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  2. Miniature Schnauzer
  3. English Springer Spaniel
  4. Belgian Shepherd Tervuren
  5. Schipperke
    Belgian Sheepdog
  6. Collie
    Keeshond
  7. German Shorthaired Pointer
  8. Flat-Coated Retriever
    English Cocker Spaniel
    Standard Schnauzer
  9. Brittany
  10. Cocker Spaniel
  11. Weimaraner
  12. Belgian Malinois
    Bernese Mountain Dog
  13. Pomeranian
  14. Irish Water Spaniel
  15. Vizsla
  16. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Above Average Working Dogs

  • Understanding of New Commands: 15 to 25 repetitions.
  • Obey First Command: 70% of the time or better
  1. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
    Puli
    Yorkshire Terrier
  2. Giant Schnauzer
  3. Airedale Terrier
    Bouvier des Flandres
  4. Border Terrier
    Briard
  5. Welsh Springer Spaniel
  6. Manchester Terrier
  7. Samoyed
  8. Field Spaniel
    Newfoundland
    Australian Terrier
    American Staffordshire Terrier
    Gordon Setter
    Bearded Collie
  9. Cairn Terrier
    Kerry Blue Terrier
    Irish Setter
  10. Norwegian Elkhound
  11. Affenpinscher
    Silky Terrier
    Miniature Pinscher
    English Setter
    Pharaoh Hound
    Clumber Spaniel
  12. Norwich Terrier
  13. Dalmatian

Average Working/Obedience Intelligence

  • Understanding of New Commands: 25 to 40 repetitions.
  • Obey First Command: 50% of the time or better.
  1. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
    Bedlington Terrier
    Fox Terrier (Smooth)
  2. Curly Coated Retriever
    Irish Wolfhound
  3. Kuvasz
    Australian Shepherd
  4. Saluki
    Finnish Spitz
    Pointer
  5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
    German Wirehaired Pointer
    Black and Tan Coonhound
    American Water Spaniel
  6. Siberian Husky
    Bichon Frise
    English Toy Spaniel
  7. Tibetan Spaniel
    English Foxhound
    Otterhound
    American Foxhound
    Greyhound
    Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  8. West Highland White Terrier
    Scottish Deerhound
  9. Boxer
    Great Dane
  10. Dachshund
    Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  11. Alaskan Malamute
  12. Whippet
    Chinese Shar Pei
    Wire Fox Terrier
  13. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  14. Ibizan Hound
    Welsh Terrier
    Irish Terrier
  15. Boston Terrier
    Akita

Fair Working/Obedience Intelligence

  • Understanding of New Commands: 40 to 80 repetitions.
  • Obey First Command: 30% of the time or better.
  1. Skye Terrier
  2. Norfolk Terrier
    Sealyham Terrier
  3. Pug
  4. French Bulldog
  5. Brussels Griffon
    Maltese
  6. Italian Greyhound
  7. Chinese Crested
  8. Dandie Dinmont Terrier
    Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
    Tibetan Terrier
    Japanese Chin
    Lakeland Terrier
  9. Old English Sheepdog
  10. Great Pyrenees
  11. Scottish Terrier
    Saint Bernard
  12. Bull Terrier
  13. Chihuahua
  14. Lhasa Apso
  15. Bullmastiff

Lowest Degree of Working/Obedience Intelligence

  • Understanding of New Commands: 80 to 100 repetitions or more.
  • Obey First Command: 25% of the time or worse.
  1. Shih Tzu
  2. Basset Hound
  3. Mastiff
  4. Beagle
  5. Pekingese
  6. Bloodhound
  7. Borzoi
  8. Chow Chow
  9. Bulldog
  10. Basenji
  11. Afghan Hound