Dogs as smart as two to three year olds


As Seen With - Cathy Rosenthal

Encourage Kindness to Animals!

Highly-acclaimed children's books for your child or organization

Dogs as smart as two to three year olds

Updated Aug 10, 2009

The Border Collie is ranked as the smartest dog among breeds because of its ability to understand language and human signals in working environments. (Source: Wikipedia)

When it comes to intelligence, the latest researchs shows dogs are apparently as smart as two to three year old kids. They can comprehend about 165 words, learn signals, and can even count up to about 5, according to Stanley Coren, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and author of ” How Dogs Think.” Coren was sharing this new research at a recent American Psychological Association meeting.

“One of the most recent breakthroughs is that people began to use tests which were originally designed for young humans — for pre-linguistic or limited-linguistic humans — to see whether dogs had certain capacities.,” says Coren. “And that allows you then to do a whole bunch of things, not only to determine whether a dog has a certain thinking skill but to place him in terms of where would you be in terms of human beings, as well as in terms of other animals.” 

And who’s the smartest dog of them all? Here’s a list of the top ten smartest breeds and why they are such smart pooches.

1. Border Collies
2. Poodles
3. German Shepherd
4. Golden Retreivers
5. Doberman Pinschers
6. Shetland Sheepdog
7. Labrador Retrievers
8. Papillion
9. Rottweiler
10. Australian Cattle Dog

These top of the pack breeds may be as smart as a 2-1/2 year old, according to Coren, because they have been trained to be so. Indeed, training has been shown to make a dog smarter.

Was this article helpful? Share with others!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Cathy Rosenthal, CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 25 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

Other Articles You Might Enjoy

How to introduce a puppy to a home with two cats

Dear Cathy, We have two cats, and we’re thinking about getting a puppy. The cats are two years old. What suggestions do you have for ...
Read More

Why do dogs like squeaky things?

Does your dog go crazy every time you bring home a squeaky toy. Does he grab it and shake his head back and forth as ...
Read More

Unsafe levels of fluoride found in dog food

The Environmental Working Group recently commissioned an independent study and discovered that eight national brands of dog food, marketed to puppies and adults, had unsafe levels ...
Read More