How A Dog's Breed Influences Intelligence
As it turns out, size really does matter. Well, at least in the animal kingdom. According to a new study published by Animal Cognition, larger breeds of dogs performed better in tests of intelligence when compared against their smaller counterparts.
The dogs who took part in the study were tested on short-term memory and self control. For the short-term memory tests, the owners of participating dogs hid a treat under a plastic cup while their dog watched. After waiting 60, 90, 120 and 150 seconds before letting the dog find it, smaller dogs seemed to have more trouble remembering where the treat was. In the self control test, the owners placed treats in front of their dogs and told them not to take it. As the owners watched the dog, turned away and covered their eyes, the larger dogs generally waited longer to eat the treat.
These findings are backed up by “The Intelligence of Dogs,” written by psychologist Stanley Coren. Coren’s book explains that when ranking dog breeds by intelligence, only one toy breed, the Papillon, broke the top 20 percent. One of Coren’s bio-psychologist colleagues explains that that makes sense, as larger brains allow for more neurons and connections, meaning that bigger dogs are able to process information and store memories better.
However, these findings aren’t set in stone. Biologist Marc Bekoff stresses that these results can’t be taken as scientific proof, citing the need for more research.