If you’re a dog owner, you likely know that your cherished dog is very, very smart—but scientists don’t necessarily agree with you. Dogs are certainly smarter than a dodo bird, but dogs are not the smartest animals of them all.
Why Did Fido Get An F?
When it comes to smart animals, dogs rank pretty low on the list. Dogs are relatively smart. They can learn tricks. They know when it’s time to eat, and they are experts are pulling on human heartstrings.
That being said, some other animals are way smarter than dogs. Pigs, for example, generally score higher than dogs on cognitive tests. Dolphins and monkies have also been proven to be smarter than dogs.
Comparing Apples To Oranges
Is it really fair to compare dogs to wild animals? For example, dogs are closely related to hyenas, but there is a key difference between dogs and hyenas. Dogs usually live in homes of their human companions while hyenas live in the wild. In some areas, hyenas test as being more intelligent than dogs, but those areas involve skills that only need to be used in the wild.
Dogs might have those skills buried somewhere deep down, but when a skill is not used it is lost. Modern dogs have been domesticated and cared for by humans for several generations, so they are behind the learning curve when it comes to things like hunting. Hyenas would likely score low on showing affection to humans and begging for food.
Out Of Sight Out Of Mind
There are plenty of other animals way smarter than dogs, but we don’t see those animals all the time. Humans live closely with dogs, which makes it easier to observe their intelligence.
We don’t see dolphins, hyenas, or giraffes on a daily basis, so we’re less likely to notice their intelligence. Scientists who study the intelligence of all types of animals are more likely to note the smarts of other animals.
Where Dogs Shine
Dogs have been known to be great problem solvers. For example, many dogs are able to figure out how to free themselves from kennels and other enclosures. Dogs also show great emotional intelligence—as many dog owners know, they seem to be able to tell when humans are feeling sad. With training, dogs can complete tasks that many humans could only hope to do.
Trained service dogs can even discern when their owners are going through a health crisis, such as a seizure or sudden drop in blood sugar. Seeing eye dogs help to guide their blind owners in new environments. Law enforcement dogs can be taught to sniff out drugs and bombs. Dogs that can sniff out a human scent have even been used in recovery efforts to find people trapped under debris after natural disasters. There’s no debating that dogs are amazing. They may not be the smartest animals in the world, but they will always be #1 in our hearts.