Dog’s intelligence put to the test

by 13 Aug 2009

The smartest dogs in the world are on par with a 2½-year-old, recognising up to 250 words, according to American researcher Stanley Coren.

Using adapted tests designed for human children, psychologists have learned that average dogs can count, reason and recognise words and gestures on par with a human 2 -year-old, CNN online reports.

“They may not be Einsteins, but are sure closer to humans than we thought," said Stanley Coren, a professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia and leading researcher on dog behaviour.

Coren presented his research this week at the American Psychological Association's annual convention in Toronto, Canada.

He said the average dog can understand about 165 words, including signs, signals and gestures. Dogs can also count to about 5, he said.

For his book, The Intelligence of Dogs, Coren asked more than 200 dog-obedience judges to rank 110 breeds based on their intelligence. Border collies, poodles, retrievers, German shepherds and Doberman pinschers were at the top of the intelligence list. The bulldog and the afghan hound were rated as the least intelligent breeds.

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