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are some breeds smarter than others?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Webber

22300
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 25, '06 5:30pm PST 
i noticed my mom and dad try to teach my brother duncan new tricks and he never listens. he only knows "sit", "down" to lay down, and "home" to go into his crate. so sometimes when mom tells him "hi-5", i end up hi-5'ing her because he doesn't know what to do. what's wrong with him? doesn't he understand english? smile
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Marlowe, CGC

BAH-ROO-ROO-ROOO- OO!!!
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 25, '06 5:49pm PST 
Well, some breeds are more highly trainable than others, it's true. But it isn't a matter of intelligence but of motivation, distractibility and focus. I have hounds, frequently accused of being stupid breeds, so I definately speak from experience. smile

Retrievers and herders tend to be highly trainable because their original jobs relied on recieving cues and directions from humans and from having very intense focus. Hounds and terriers tend to be less trainable because their original jobs relied on them being able to NOT listen to humans but to follow their noses or eyes in order to hunt prey. Being able to execute complex behaviors was never a priority in breeding these dogs as it wasn't part of their job. When I teach my hounds a new beahvior, they need to be shown quite clearly why on earth they should care--it just isn't readily apparent to them. But stupid? Not at all.

That isn't to say that I haven't met individual dogs that are dumber than a bag of hair, because I totally have. But that's more about poor breeding practices and the vagaies of genetics than a breed trait.
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Molly

PLAY RUN JUMP- PLAY RUN- JUMP.......
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 25, '06 6:00pm PST 
I'm thinking that maybe the smart dogs are the ones that DON"T listen - they get to do whatever they want to do !! Me, I try to do what Mom tells me and that can be hard work !!
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Gio

CD RE (CKC)- RXMCL (CARO) FM- CGN SJATD
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 25, '06 6:07pm PST 
I completely agree with Marlowe (I love the name, btw! haha). Whether or not you would consider a breed "smarter" than another definately depends on how you define "smart". From your original post, you seem to be implying that some breeds are more trainable than others. In this case, definately so.

There is an interesting book written by Stanley Coren called "The Intelligence of Dogs". It begins with attempting to define canine intelligence and separate it into the different types of "smart" that a dog can be and how individual breeds tend to fall into those types based on what they were originally intended to do. It then tries to summarize a method of determining how smart dogs are. It touches upon trainability based on the accounts of trainers and obedience judges across the US and Canada, and also delves into logic and reasoning obtainable by different breeds. There are, of course, biases and problems with integral aspects to these tests, but they set out an interesting series of results.

Coren attempts to then create a list of the smartest dog breeds based soley on trainability in basic obedience. Obedience, he says, is representative of a dogs ability and willing ness to learn a taught task. On this list, Border Collies, Poodles, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, and Shetland Sheepdogs make up the top 6. (I had to choose the top 6 so that my Gio was included haha). Where the bottom 6 consist of, in decreasing "smartness" order, the Bloodhound, Borzoi, Chow Chow, Bulldog, Basenji, and Afghan Hound. We see that the top 6 is dominated by herding and hunting/retieving breeds while the bottom 6 are dominated by hounds with the exception of the Chow Chow. This is definately not to say that these bottom 6 are the stupidest dogs out there, they just ranked the lowest based on the particular test they were judged in, in this case the ability to learn obedience.

So, in summary, yes there are "stupid" dogs out there, but to try and classify them based on breed is quite impossible (and unfair for the dog haha), because each breed was originally intended for a different purpose, so will learn to different extents and in different ways, making them completely uncomparable. I don't like to put too much store in what books tell me, though in the case of Stanley Coren's books, they are often very interesting and occassionally informative, if nothing else than to enjoy an amusing and well written book on our favorite species.
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Abby

Feelin' groovy!
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 25, '06 6:26pm PST 
I'm definitely smarter than my mom, and cat brother Waverly is smarter than both of us. Oh, but that wasn't the question, was it?

Abby
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River

A home is not a- home without- fur.
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 25, '06 6:36pm PST 
Marlowe is correct, its all about the drive the dog is strongest in.
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Kimo

I take any- dares.
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 25, '06 6:42pm PST 
maybe you can teach your little brother a thing or two. maybe your folks should try training him when you aren't around.
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D . O . G

there are no- stupid dogs only- stupid ppl
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 25, '06 6:43pm PST 
all dogs have an equil chance to be verry smart but like alot of people have said in here it is a matter of motivation on how fast they learn if you take a border collie they will learn faster than an afganie shepard both are dogs from the same breed class aka there both stock dogs but the border collie typicaly as a breed can learn something in as little as 4 repititions to learn something new the afganie shepard typicaly known as the dumbest dog in the world takes somewhere around 100 repititions to learn something
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Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 25, '06 6:55pm PST 
Yeah, a lot of breeds get a bad rep because they simply don't care about making their humans happy. It took me months to convince Vance to target. But it took him 5 hours to figure out gagging will make me coming running from across the house - which is about as long as it took me to catch on to him. (He actually was sick those 5 hours, and I did NOT want raw salmon vomit soaking into my carpet for any length of time. The next three days, he was faking.)

Most of the time, you can actually see him calculating how NOT to do what I've asked.

He is also one of the best "speakers" of dog I've ever seen. Quite seriously, he can work any room I put him in, provided all the other dogs are mentally stable. His expertise is getting shy dogs to come out of their shell. I know therapy dogs who could compeate in Rally-O who never, ever be able to do that. Just as much as Vance would give me the "I don't know what you're talking about... Hey, is that cone there for me to pee on?" in a Rally-O ring.
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Gio

CD RE (CKC)- RXMCL (CARO) FM- CGN SJATD
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 25, '06 7:11pm PST 
LOL Vance sounds just like one of Gio's pals. He is a Husky X Border Collie cross ... but definately got the Husky end of the stick in that pairing. He is a pro at ignoring commands, but is even better at being a Wal-Mart greeter. He even convinced Gio to go in the river when the only water Gio would touch before had to be in a bowl or coming out the end of a garden hose. He will bring any anti-social dog out of its shell and have it playing in no time. But respond to a "come" command ... NO WAY! Sit? You have got to be kidding me! Lay down? Sounds like some form of ancient torture!
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