August 8, 2009

Researcher: Dogs have IQ of human toddlers

Dogs are as bright as a human toddler, a Canadian canine researcher told the American Psychological Association Saturday.

Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia, speaking on the topic How dogs think, said the average dog can understand about 150 words and signs and can practice intentional deceit on dogs and people.

We all want insight into how our furry companions think, and we want to understand the silly, quirky and apparently irrational behaviors Lassie or Rover demonstrate, Coren said. Their stunning flashes of brilliance and creativity are reminders that they may not be Einsteins but are sure closer to humans than we thought.

Coren said dogs show three types of intelligence: instinctive, which is hard-wired; adaptive, which they learn from their environment; and working and obedience, the equivalent of school learning. He said they are as intelligent as children ages 2 to 2 ½.

The smartest dogs can learn about 250 words, Coren said. Dogs also have some ability to do arithmetic, counting up to 5 and spotting errors in simple addition.

He said border collies are the smartest breed, followed by poodles and German shepherds.