After conducting cognitive tests on more than 1,000 specimens from 13 dog breeds that are known for their intellectual prowess, researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland determined that the Belgian Malinois is the smartest dog breed of all.
Among the canine breeds represented in the study, the Belgian Malinois earned outstanding points for solving problems and understanding human needs. The report was published in an article in Nature and given the spotlight by online newspaper AS.
The dogs that took part in this research were subjected to ten tasks that were designed to measure their cognitive and behavioral responses. Metrics included logical reasoning and cognition, the ability to read human gestures, and the degree of independence that the dogs have.
For instance, to test the latter quality, the dogs were given a problem that was impossible for them to solve on their own. Then, they were observed to see whether or not they would ask their human companions to help them find a solution to the said problem.
The Border Collie and the old German breed Hovawart came second and third after the Belgian Malinois in the ranking for cognitive ability. Notable behavior was also observed among the English Cocker Spaniels that took part in the study, as they displayed thoroughness and curiosity when exploring novel environments.
Providing Dogs with Mental Stimulation
To live happy, healthy, and holistic lives, dogs require adequate mental stimulation as well as physical training. No matter your dog’s breed, you can build their intelligence and keep them mentally engaged by presenting them with many opportunities to investigate and interact with the world around them.
This can be done, for example, through the use of custom dog toys, puzzles, and other pet merchandise that are specially designed for canine companions. Playing with your dog, asking them to retrieve items or look for treats, and going on walks and hikes with them can also help nurture your canine’s natural curiosity.
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