There are several dog breeds, each with its own set of characteristics. On the other hand, every dog is gentle, loving, and compassionate; they forgive and never hold grudges. A dog is always in the present moment, no matter what they are doing. But have you ever wondered which dog breed is the most intelligent?
Border Collies are intelligent and trainable dogs who excel in various canine sports such as obedience, flyball, agility, tracking, and flying disc competitions. They can make great family pets if they get enough physical and mental stimulation.
More About the Border Collie
One of the main reasons these dogs are so intelligent is that they were bred for intelligence. Border Collies have been bred for their intelligence and abilities rather than their looks for over a century.
Border Collies were created to herd and control sheep in the hilly border country between Scotland and England. They are known for their intense stare, or “eye,” which they use to manage their flock. They have boundless energy, stamina, and working drive, making them excellent herding dogs; they are still used to herd sheep on farms and ranches worldwide. Border Collies are intelligent and trainable dogs who excel in various canine sports, including obedience, flyball, agility, tracking, and flying disc competitions.
They can make excellent family pets if they receive plenty of physical and mental stimulation. You must also be at ease with a dog who can outwit you occasionally. This is the breed for you if you want a loving, intelligent dog who will keep you active and alert.
Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks
Chaser, a nine-year-old Border Collie, was trained to recognize the names of over 1000 objects. Chaser was recently discovered to distinguish between the names of objects and commands to fetch them.
Chaser rose to prominence by comprehending complete sentences that included a prepositional object, verb, and direct object. Dr. John Pilley, Chaser’s owner and a retired psychology professor at Wofford College in South Carolina, told Science News,
Chaser intuitively discovered how to comprehend sentences based on lots of background learning about different types of words.
- Dr. John Pilley, Psychology Professor, Wofford College
Chaser’s sentence comprehension was tested using a variety of familiar and novel objects. Chaser was even tested when she couldn’t see the objects when she was given commands. According to Pilley, the findings are both relevant and statistically significant.
Successful findings were attributed to Chaser’s intensive training in her first three years of life.
- Dr. John Pilley, Psychology Professor, Wofford College
Other Studies on Dog Intelligence
Similar studies have previously shown that dogs understand simple two-word sentences such as pull toy and fetch ball.
Roughly speaking, the average dog is equivalent to a human two-year-old in terms of mental abilities. And the ‘super dogs’ are equivalent to maybe a human two-and-a-half-year-old. ‘Super dogs’ are breeds ranked in the top 20 percent of canine intelligence. Border Collies are considered the most intelligent, followed by Poodles and German Shepherds. No matter what the breed, the key to teaching dogs to understand commands is repetitive training.
- Dr. Stanley Coren
Chaser’s ability to learn and remember over 1000 proper nouns, each mapped to a different object, was demonstrated in one study.
This demonstrates clear evidence of several capacities required for learning a receptive human language: the ability to discriminate between 1,022 different sounds representing names of objects, the ability to discriminate many objects visually, and an extensive vocabulary, as well as a substantial memory system that allowed the mapping of many auditory stimuli to many visual stimuli.
A second experiment demonstrated that Chaser correctly identified these as names rather than commands to retrieve the object. To test the independence of nouns and commands, the researchers would randomly combine nouns and commands to see if Chaser would react correctly to the object in each trial. Even on her first trial, Chaser, who had no special training, responded correctly to each combination.
This proved that she understood the distinction between commands and proper-noun names. Researchers concluded that Chaser understood that names referred to specific objects, regardless of the action requested involving that object.
According to a third experiment, Chaser understood different names for different categories of objects or common nouns, not just those that referred to individual names or proper nouns. Chaser discovered that the term “toy” referred to the 1022 objects she was permitted to play with, each with its proper noun name.
Chaser had created categories represented by common nouns, indicating that she had assigned a single label to a variety of objects. Chaser had also demonstrated her ability to map up to three labels onto the same object without making any errors. She accomplished this by knowing the proper nouns of all the objects used in the experiment. She had also assigned the common noun “toy” to these objects. She also had success with two common nouns: “ball” and “Frisbee,” implying that Chaser had assigned the third label to these objects. She had shown that she could map one-to-many and many-to-one in the noun/object categories, as well as the flexibility of words in Border Collies.
All of these experiments show that Chaser could learn names through associative learning procedures.
A fourth experiment revealed that Chaser could learn names through exclusion. She could deduce the name of a new object by excluding previously known objects. Chaser could remember these names by using this procedure for short periods, which is similar to how children learn. Alliston Reid said this via science daily,
“This research is important because it demonstrates that dogs, like children, can develop extensive vocabularies and understand that certain words represent individual objects and other words represent categories of objects, independent in the meaning of what one is asked to do with these objects,”
- Alliston Reid
More research is needed to determine whether other breeds share these impressive language skills. This study encourages further research into how the historical relationship between humans and dogs may have influenced our furry best friends’ ability to communicate with humans and whether this influence is unique to dogs.