IQ Dog Tests – New and Advanced Findings



This article is posted as part of PGAA’s curation efforts.


IQ dog tests are newly developing. This has been made possible through widespread and extensive intelligence canine tests by scientists. In the near future, we may have a canine Einstein in our homes! And not just because we think they are a dog genius. But because they really are … umm …scientifically proven!

Researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Edinburgh are working on a general intelligence test for dogs. Like the human IQ, the exam will pose a series of challenges designed to measure canine problem-solving abilities. (Mental_Floss, by Anna Green)

A scientific paper published in Intelligence is now available to readers on the subject of IQ dog tests. To those who wish to read similar studies, use the keywords dog, intelligence, canine, cognitive abilities and evolution.

In the canine study, several things were discovered:IQ dog tests

  • The structure of cognitive abilities in dogs was found to be similar to that in people.
  • Problems that were solved quickly by dogs were found to be as accurate as those solved in less time.
  • Like people, the cognitive abilities of dogs can be solved quickly.
  • Canine studies that have large individual differences in dog cognition are contributing to cognitive epidemiology.

Assessment of IQ dog tests

An assessment of individual differences in 68 border collies was conducted, determining the structure of intelligence in the chosen dog group. The assessment was based on a detour test and repeated trials.

  • Testing was done on alternative models to explain test performance.
  • What was the best-fitting model was a hierarchical model that had three lower-order factors, accounting for 68% of the variance in task scores.
  • Meanwhile, the higher order factor accounted for 17% of the variance.
  • Dogs that completed the detour tasks rapidly scored high on choice tasks, which was explained by a general intelligence factor.
  • Learning in non-human species is feasible because testing cognitive abilities in other species does not depend on ecologically relevant tests.
  • Discovering intelligence in fitness-bearing traits in other species constitutes a major advance in understanding the evolution of intelligence.

The IQ dog test took less than one hour to complete, utilizing three cognitive tasks: (1) a navigational challenge where the 68 collies found food behind barriers; (2) a challenge where the dogs judged different quantities of food; and (3) a test to see how well the dogs could follow a human pointing to an object.

IQ dog tests and cognitive skills IQ dog tests

  • In human cognitive abilities, a person who is above average at one task it most likely is good at others.
  • As demonstrated by the IQ dog tests, the collies were tested within the structure of their cognitive abilities.
  • What was discovered was the behavioral adaptations of dogs are breed-specific, such as pointing or herding. After talking to dog breeders, it has been noticed that dogs are breed specific when choosing a partner to breed with – chihuahua to chihuahua or Eskimo to Eskimo. However, some dog traits carry across various breeds.

But basically, if the dogs in the study were good at one task, they were good at all of them.

The same as with humans.


Intelligent Breed by Rank, from Stanley Coren

  • 1. Border Collies
  • 2. Poodle
  • 3. German Shepherd
  • 4. Golden Retriever
  • 5. Doberman Pincher
  • 6. Shetland Sheepdog
  • 7. Labrador Retriever
  • 8. Papillon
  • 9. Rottwieler
  • 10. Australian Cattle Dog
  • 11. Pembrook Welsh Corgi
  • 12. Miniature Schnauzer

At the low end of the intelligence rankings are:

  • 106. Borzoi
  • 107. Chow Chow
  • 108. Bull dog
  • 109. Basenji
  • 110. Afghan Hound

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WayCoolDog posts originally appeared on WayCoolDogs and are re-posted with the permission of Nancy Houser of WayCoolDogs © 2009 – 2016