Which Dog Is the Smartest? - Pacific Standard

Which Dog Is the Smartest?

A leading canine researcher says dogs understand more than 150 words and can count up to four or five. He has compiled a list of the world's smartest dogs. See if your pooch cracks his Top 7.
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The American Psychological Association's 117th annual convention featured psychologist and leading canine researcher Stanley Coren, widely published author from the University of British Columbia. The subject of his talk: "How Dogs Think."

The good news: Dogs are as smart as 2-year-old kids, can comprehend more than 150 words (although "super dogs" can understand 250), and can count up to four or five. The bad news: They are "consciously deceptive" and trick people into giving them what they want. "And they are nearly as successful in deceiving humans as humans are in deceiving dogs," Coren said. But you knew that.

To settle the Mother of All Dog Park Arguments, Coren studied data from 208 dog-obedience judges in the United States and Canada to determine the differences in working and obedience intelligence across different dog breeds. And the results of the smartest pooch competition are in:

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No. 1: Border collies.

No. 2: Poodles (in what has to be called an upset, surely).

No. 3: German shepherds.

No. 4: Golden retrievers (sorry, folks, still not convinced).

No. 5: Dobermans.

No. 6: Shetland sheepdogs (this one's for you, MacDuff*).

No. 7: Labrador retrievers.

* The Napkin's boyhood dog

The Cocktail Napkin appears at the back page of each issue of Miller-McCune magazine, highlighting current research that merits a raised eyebrow or a painful grin.

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