Dog IQ Tests: How Smart Is Man’s Best Friend?

We all love our dogs, but most of us have no idea how smart they are. Dog IQ tests are the ideal way to determine whether your dog is a canine wonder, or if he’s barely able to walk and chew kibble at the same time.

These canine IQ tests are a relatively new phenomenon, but are hardly surprising given society’s fascination with our four-legged companions. Dr. Stanley Coren is regarded by many as the guru of dog smarts, having written a book, The Intelligence of Dogs, that helps people measure the IQ of their dogs.

Most dog IQ tests are designed to be used with dogs that are one year or older. It’s important to make sure that you’ve had the dog for at least three months, since a dog who is not comfortable with you or his new home is not likely to achieve a particularly high intelligence.

dog IQ testsJust to give you an overall framework for when you are assessing canine IQ….the average dog’s intelligence is equivalent to that of a two-year-old child! Most dogs have a vocabulary of about 165 words, which is what most children of that age have mastered.

Dog IQ Tests: What Do They Measure?

There are many different tests that can help you measure Fido’s potential. Most include a series of tests designed to measure a dog’s abilities in three different areas:

Adaptive Intelligence – the dog’s ability to problem solve, and to learn from experience.

Instinctive Intelligence – unique to each breed, this form of intelligence represents a dog’s ability to do what he was bred to do.

Obedience or Working Intelligence – largely breed-dependent, this shows how well the dog listens to commands, and follows direction.

Dog IQ Tests: Which Breeds Are The Best And the Brightest?

When it comes to measuring your dog’s intelligence, there are definitely some breeds that are head and shoulders above the others. Border collies are generally considered to be top dogs when it comes to intelligence. The Top 10 of List of Intelligent Dogs, according to dog trainers, includes:

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

These dogs were found to obey commands 95 percent of the time or more, and to require five or fewer repetitions of commands before they remembered them. In terms of dog smarts, they are the best and the brightest.

The Dog Whisperer’s website also offers a great overview of the intelligence intelligence in dogs.  There are some great examples of dogs who have been taught amazing skills, like using a computer.

Not that we are passing judgment or anything, but the five “slowest” dog breeds included:

1. Borzoi
2. Chow Chow
3. Bulldog
4. Basenji
5. Afghan Hound

But remember — your dog doesn’t have to be the sharpest tool in the shed to be well loved!

In fact, some of the most lovable dogs are those who are…ahem…intellectually challenged. If this strikes a chord, you might want to check out this hilarious blog about a woman who struggles with the realization that her dog’s IQ is less than stellar.

You’ll find the whole hilarious story at Hyperbole and a Half.

Putting Fido To The Dog IQ Test

Many dog IQ tests measure a dog’s abilities in a series of tests. This site includes another free dog IQ test that is inspired by Dr. Stanley Coren. It offers a series of six different tests that you can use to challenge your dog. They range from the simple to the more complex — from searching for treats to testing their ability to hear and recognize their name.

After completing the six tests, your dog is scored on a scale of 0 (dumb as dirt) to 40 (genius!).

You’ll find a similar version of this canine IQ test over at the Pedigree website.

This article provides a great overview of dog intelligence — how it is tested, and what it means.

There’s a fun video demonstrating a dog IQ test and how your pet can be scored here:

Other IQ tests for dogs involve a minimum of testing with the dog, and a smaller time investment. The results are derived through multiple choice questions, and some basic tests.

No matter how your dog performs on these intelligence tests, remember, the most important thing to him is your love and affection. Once you know how smart he is? Why not get an handle on your own IQ scores? It’s only fair!