Belgian Malinois Named Most Intelligent Dog After New Study
Which breed of dog is the most intelligent? You might think of Border Collies or Poodles , Labradors or Golden Retrievers – or maybe German Shepherds .
According to a new study , however, the Belgian Malinois is the smartest pooch in town.
The Malinois Is the Pick of the Bunch
Scientists assessed 1,000 dogs across 13 different breeds. They set them seven cognitive and three behavioral tasks. They measured their independence, as well as how fast they went to a human for help after giving them a task they couldn’t solve.
The researchers also looked at how good they were at reading human gestures, and at detouring around a transparent fence to get to a food reward.
The Belgian Malinois topped the rankings, with a total of 35 points out of 39. It’s easy to see why they’re often used as police and guard dogs.
In second place, perhaps unsurprisingly, were Border Collies, while the Hovawart came third.
A Standout Performance
“The Belgian malinois stood out in many of the cognitive tasks, having very good results in a majority of the tests,” Dr. Katriina Tiira from the University of Helsinki told The Sunday Telegraph .
“Most breeds had their own strengths and weaknesses,” explained Saara Junttila, co-author of the study and a PhD researcher in canine cognition at the University of Helsinki . “For example, the Labrador retriever was very good at reading human gestures, but not so good at spatial problem-solving. Some breeds, such as the Shetland sheepdog, scored quite evenly in almost all tests.”
The scientists selected dogs that were both interested in working for food and not overly aggressive with people. The dogs were aged between one and eight, with the reasoning that older dogs may experience cognitive decline while younger dogs might not have full cognitive development.
The pups took part in smartDOG tests between March 2016 and February 2022.