As dog owners, we like to believe that our pooch is the smartest of them all - well, we did train them, so it’s only natural!
They come when we call. They sit when they’re told. And sometimes we even get a high-five (but only if we’re lucky…).
Typically regarded as one of the most intelligent pets, dogs are seen as something of a prodigy when it comes to brain power, but it seems that they may have been fooling us all along…
Researchers from the University of Exeter found that dogs were at least matched by several species when it came to cognitive ability, in a survey of 300 papers on animal brain power.
The survey, which compared dogs with other domestic animals, social hunters and carnivores - such as wolves, bears and lions - found them to be no smarter than goats, sheep or even pigeons.
The fact that dogs are unable to recognise themselves in a mirror, for example, highlights how they fall short of chimpanzees and dolphins in this area.
Similarly, goats, pigs, dolphins, seals and sea lions each do at least as well as dogs at following human pointing, whilst pigs can identify humans by smell and sheep, pigeons and chimpanzees recognise human faces.
Speaking of the findings, Professor Stephen Lea said:
"During our work it seemed to us that many studies in dog cognition research set out to 'prove' how clever dogs are.
They are often compared to chimpanzees and whenever dogs 'win', this gets added to their reputation as something exceptional.
Yet in each and every case we found other valid comparison species that do at least as well as dogs do in those tasks."
So, while it’s undeniable that our pups are perfectly in tune with us and come with a whole myriad of top qualities, it seems that they may not be as smart as initially thought…
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