Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Dogs As Intelligent As Average Two-Year-Old Children 472

Posted by timothy
from the buddy-the-dog-is-hiding-his-smarts dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "The Telegraph reports that researchers using tests originally designed to demonstrate the development of language, pre-language and basic arithmetic in human children have found that dogs are capable of understanding up to 250 words and gestures, can count up to five and can perform simple mathematical calculations putting them on par with the average two-year-old child. While most dogs understand simple commands such as sit, fetch and stay, a border collie tested by Professor Coren showed a knowledge of 200 spoken words. 'Obviously we are not going to be able to sit down and have a conversation with a dog, but like a two-year-old, they show that they can understand words and gestures,' says Professor Stanley Coren, a leading expert on canine intelligence at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Dogs can tell that one plus one should equal two and not one or three,' says Coren, adding that dogs 'can also deliberately deceive, which is something that young children only start developing later in their life.' Coren believes centuries of selective breeding and living alongside humans has helped to hone the intelligence of dogs. 'They may not be Einsteins, but are sure closer to humans than we thought.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Dogs As Intelligent As Average Two-Year-Old Children

Comments Filter:
  • Wolves (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pantherace (165052) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @03:54PM (#29004351)
    Be interesting to see what a Wolf would be like as they tend to have a larger brain to body mass ratio.
    • Re:Wolves (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Z00L00K (682162) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:01PM (#29004413) Homepage

      That's an interesting idea.

      And then - different breeds have different levels of potential too. Having been in contact with different breeds I have realized that there are those that are almost dumb as a brick while others are smart enough to figure out exactly when to sneak out and sneak back without being noticed and also realize when their master has confused right and left when they are given a command.

      • Re:Wolves (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 09, 2009 @06:32PM (#29005429)

        A lot of people think certain breeds are dumb because they misunderstand the instincts of the breed and/or confuse trainability and responsiveness with intelligence. Breeds commonly called dumb, like many of the hounds, were bred to work independently of humans. Whereas a retriever or herding dog needed to expect and act on cues from humans, a sight or scent hound would need to track based on his own instincts. A bloodhound who was constantly asking for direction would be a very poor scenthound and would not be used as breeding stock--just like an Australian Shepherd who ran without checking in would be a failure as a herding dog.

        It's important for people to research and understand the instincts in their particular dog, including mixed breeds, before bringing a pet into their home.

        Signed, Anonymous and Lazy--rather than cowardly.

        • Re:Wolves (Score:4, Interesting)

          by davidphogan74 (623610) on Monday August 10, 2009 @05:59AM (#29008951) Homepage
          That definitely makes sense. I had an Australian Shepherd (via a roommate) that did dumb things all the time, but had great problem solving skills. Opening doors and windows, knocking over beer cans (never glass bottles) onto the ground (but not carpet that would soak it up), running away and coming home a few days later. She knew a lot of commands too, but I'll never call her smart. She just was a loyal problem solver. And she enjoyed beer.
    • Re:Wolves (Score:5, Informative)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:12PM (#29004467) Homepage Journal

      According to TFA, wolves score lower than domestic dogs on the intelligence tests used. I suspect this may be an artifact of the test, since wolves are pretty damned smart in their wild behaviors. But unsurprisingly, domestic dogs have a kind of intelligence that responds better to tests designed by the same species that's been breeding and training them for the last several thousand years.

      • Re:Wolves (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:59PM (#29004803)
        Hence the pitfall of fuzzy terms like "intelligence".
      • Re:Wolves (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Reziac (43301) * on Sunday August 09, 2009 @11:48PM (#29007563) Homepage Journal

        Pro dog trainer here with 40 years experience.

        In my observation, wolves and wolf-hybrids are fairly dumb -- about on a par with the dimmer breeds of dogs, such as the majority of purely pet breeds. Which is indeed about the level of a 2 year old human child. This stands to reason since there hasn't been any intensive selection for intelligence or reasoning power. (Coyotes seem to be somewhat smarter, but as a DNA profile study revealed, a lot of coyotes have domestic dog DNA, dating from about 2000 years ago.)

        The bright breeds, those that have been bred for brains and thinking ability and that have to do a specific job that goes against wolf instincts (primarily gundogs and some herding breeds, but most especially Chesapeakes and fieldbred Labradors) are about on a par with a bright 5-6YO human child, and will think every bit as far, up to the point of playing simple practical jokes on unwitting humans.

        Trust me, it's a damn good thing for us that Chessies (and some Labs) don't have opposable thumbs.... that, and inability to form words, are probably the real limiting factors, much as they are for Downs syndrome children. And some dogs learn to work around those limits. I have one Lab who can open any door that doesn't lock with a key!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by LeinadSpoon (1602063)
      The article says that Wolves aren't as smart and theorizes that living alongside humans has made dogs outperform wolves. It could also be that living alongside humans make dogs better at intelligence tests performed by humans. Perhaps we should get dolphins to design some intelligence tests to compare wolves and dogs and see who performs better on those.
      • Re:Wolves (Score:5, Funny)

        by Shakrai (717556) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @05:53PM (#29005137) Journal

        Perhaps we should get dolphins to design some intelligence tests to compare wolves and dogs and see who performs better on those.

        That's easy. Mice would perform the best ;) Following them would be the dolphins and in a distant third would be homo sapiens.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by arcesilaus (1610567)
      All domesticated animals have smaller brains than their wild counterparts. The Domesticated Silver Fox [wikipedia.org], which was created by the Soviets after decades of breeding, lost many of the characteristics of their wild counterparts. It would seem that domesticated animals do not require the intelligence of their wild counterparts. No one is going to keep an animal that will challenge its owner for leadership.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Swizec (978239)

        No one is going to keep an animal that will challenge its owner for leadership.

        Then why, pray tell, do we keep cats around?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dryeo (100693)

          Cats don't challenge us for leadership. They just assume leadership.

    • Re:Wolves (Score:5, Interesting)

      by garnkelflax (1306647) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:39PM (#29004677)
      I watched a program on Animal Planet a few years ago where they ran tests on wolves. They determined that wolves had no desire to 'please' (utilize) humans regardless of whether they were raised from pups or not. One of the experiments involved food locked in a large cage. The wolves would scratch at the cage and try to beat it to death forever. The domesticated dogs would sniff around, check the cage for a while, then go to a human with those big puppy eyes asking for help. Before our Labradoodle I thought a half german half dobie mix was about as smart as they could get. But this one's vocabulary is astounding. She is about 90 pounds of brain. Besides sit, lay down, poop, pee, high five, shake, roll over, play dead, wait with cracker on nose then flip and catch it, and all the other stuff.... She can bring you any toy you ask for or take it to any named person over 90% of the time. She will also take her toys to her toy bin when told to do so. She knows the names of the animals outside the house and will attack whichever you tell her to (squirrel, bird, chipmunk, bunny) She understands words like closer, farther, gentle. Her favorite toy is a battery operated fur-real poodle that she gently brings around the house and will bring to us when she wants it turned on. It is still working after 2 years. She will take a treat into her mouth and not eat it until you tell her to. Or drop it if you tell her instead. She will go to parts of the house you tell her to go (kitchen, living room, upstairs, downstairs etc...) She mimics human behavior constantly. One example, if you are moving branches to a pile from the yard she participates and gets it right. One time we were tearing up the carpet transition to the linoleum on one side of the kitchen. She immediately went to the other side and started tearing up the other one (didn't need to come up though). We have a toy elephant made for babies that you pull the fabric string and it shakes as the string goes back in. She plays with it every day like a baby would. Pulling the string and making it shake. She has favorite rocks outside that she places in different areas. When we go to the lake to swim she hunts for a rock, takes it out to where it is about 5 feet deep and drops it then goes diving for it. She will do this for hours. Tons of other stuff to. She kinda freaks me out.
      • by scubamage (727538) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @05:35PM (#29005023)
        The simplest possible explanation: Your dog is the antichrist.
  • We already have bomb and drug-sniffing dogs, does this additional knowledge mean that we will end up with dogs in other support roles? I'm also interested as to how one becomes a professor of canine intelligence, does this guy need to test wolves too?
  • 2 years old. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Algorithmn (1601909)
    And a 2 year old is pretty damn smart!!
  • Actually... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ratnerstar (609443) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @03:58PM (#29004389) Homepage

    ...my dog is a lot like Einstein, in that her hair goes everywhere and she refuses to accept quantum mechanics.

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:09PM (#29004451)

      ...my dog is a lot like Einstein, in that her hair goes everywhere and she refuses to accept quantum mechanics.

      There's no reason we can't have a Schrödinger's dog too. Try it. Whether the dog survives or not, it'll have a far greater appreciation of quantum mechanics. Note: Do not put Schrödinger dog with Schrödinger cat. Experimental results may be random.

  • by MR.Mic (937158) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @03:59PM (#29004401)

    I've suspected this for a while, which is why I get especially worked up over people who get their jollies tormenting and abusing animals.

    It's basically like abusing a child, and is just as sick.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It's basically like abusing a child, and is just as sick.

      "Just as sick" is subjective. Also, it's not like abusing a child, because an animal is not anything like a child, not legally, physiologically, or in any other significant way. This is an emotion-driven argument. In many countries, people eat dogs and cats and some places consider them a delicacy. I have yet to hear of a country that fries up children and serves them. Pets are glorified livestock.

      That said... torturing of animals positively correlates with psychopathy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        There's a difference between killing an animal to eat it, and enjoying torturing it.

        Working at an abattoir doesn't make you a psychopath. Working at an abattoir so you can take animals to "the back room" and torture them before work does.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Working at an abattoir doesn't make you a psychopath. Working at an abattoir so you can take animals to "the back room" and torture them before work does.

          As the US Government has recently demonstrated to the world, the term 'torture' is subjective. It's like porn -- you know it when you see it, right? You have vegetarians that claim killing animals in and of itself is 'torture'. On the other extreme, you have corporate farms that pack animals in so tightly they die in double-digit percentages. It's not that they actively seek to harm the animal, they just want to maximize profits. Somewhere between these two extremes is a balancing point that we unquestionab

        • by SteveFoerster (136027) <steveNO@SPAMstevefoerster.com> on Sunday August 09, 2009 @06:43PM (#29005487) Homepage

          Working at an abattoir doesn't make you a psychopath.

          I'm not so sure. Considering the gruesome methods used to kill livestock in slaughterhouses I can't imagine working in one is all that good for one's long term psychological health.

  • dog lover science. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:00PM (#29004405)

    'They may not be Einsteins, but are sure closer to humans than we thought.'

    I don't think so. You're comparing a fully-mature animal to one in its infancy. We've long known that animals can learn behaviors that mimick that of humans -- in some cases, their physiological parts are superior to humans (the eyes of a hawk, for example). But to say they're "closer to humans than we thought" -- that's a quotable designed to be eaten up by the popular press because a lot of people are dog lovers and will jump at the chance to say "Aw, see, old charlie here is almost human smart!"

    I'm sorry to say that, no, Charlie is still a dog. A creature that has spent several thousand years being domesticated by humans -- I'd damn well expect it to be able to emulate certain kinds of human behavior and show types of intelligence other animals do not, that's exactly what domestication is supposed to do. But a dog does not have near-human intelligence. It doesn't even have remotely human intelligence -- it has simply learned behaviors that we can understand and manipulate to a far greater degree than other animals.

    • by plover (150551) * on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:17PM (#29004493) Homepage Journal

      A creature that has spent several thousand years being domesticated by humans -- I'd damn well expect it to be able to emulate certain kinds of human behavior and show types of intelligence other animals do not, that's exactly what domestication is supposed to do.

      I don't know if that's a valid argument. Even after several thousand years, domesticated cats are no more useful now then they have ever been. They're hunters of domestic pests, no more. Dogs, on the other hand, have been bred for hunting, where they point, retrieve, and flush out game. They've been bred for herding, rounding up cattle and sheep on command. They've been bred for guard duty. They have learned a lot more than other animals given the same opportunity.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Coeurderoy (717228)

        Cats are obviously much smarter than Dogs, not only where they able to show very little use, so they will not loose their time working for us, but they show a capacity to domesticate us cf: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8147566.stm [bbc.co.uk]

        So apparently they have learned the most :-)

      • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @05:04PM (#29004833) Homepage
        The difference between cats & dogs is that a dog wants to please you and the cat can't really be fucked what you think. It's just like people who think cats can't view things on a TV / monitor. I've seen cats chase mouse cursors but in general they don't care one bit because they know it's nothing good.

        I've had a cat learn how to open a door via the knob without being taught. But it doesn't have hands so after it awhile it realised it doesn't have a hope in hell and doesn't try again. She knew how to open the small refrigerator too but again didn't have the strength and gave up.

        I think dogs are the same. They don't care about the same things as us and for the most part they have what they need so where is the incentive to learn? People are like that too. The good life makes most living beings lazy and stupid.

        Of course cats or dogs will never be as smart as an adult human but I think people are giving 2 year olds too much credit. They're not that smart either. The only difference is they want to be like all the other humans and therefore have more incentive to improve and they have the added benefit of being surrounded by other humans that have a load of knowledge already and want the child to improve.
        • Neurologists have shown that cats have fewer neurons than dogs and some of their brain functions are reduced. The cat lifestyle requires a lot of sitting around doing nothing, and this implies that most of the time a big brain is a waste of energy. The cat brain is focussed on hunting alone. The dog brain is focussed on hunting in packs, which requires good development of parts of the brain that support co-operation. We've made use of that in selecting them to let us be the head of the pack.

          The cat doesn't

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

          I think people are giving 2 year olds too much credit. They're not that smart either.

          Having one of each type at the moment, it's easy to compare. Language aside, the human boy is far more clever than the dog pup, but the pup is much more skillful. If I put their favorite treat on a high shelf, the dog would try every possible approach to get it, and do some great leaping, but probably fail. If the boy tried this, his jumping would be consistent and pitiful, but then he would look at the problem, gather r

      • by jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @06:14PM (#29005273)
        Cats really haven't been bred for thousands of years like dogs have. They probably pretty well self domesticated a few thousand years ago and hung around in a more-or-less self domesticated state around the edge of our society for most of the intervening years, too pleasant and useful to get rid of, not nearly obedient enough to put to any orderly sort of work like a dog.
        Having three cats and a two year old nephew, I'd say that cats are about as smart as an eighteen month old child. They understand simple concepts, a few words, and enough problem solving to be interesting, but not as much as a dog.
        I think the role of cats as pets is one that they're uniquely suited for though, and there is a lot of material available to breed very convivial animals.
    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:18PM (#29004495) Homepage Journal

      You're comparing a fully-mature animal to one in its infancy.

      Profoundly retarded humans, such as adults who operate on a two-year-old level, still have what we recognize as human-type intelligence. They don't have as much of it as most people do, obviously, but they still think like humans as opposed to cattle, or hawks, or trout. So if dogs think similarly enough to us to score at all on human-type intelligence tests, then it's silly to say that their intelligence is "not even remotely human."

    • by Jeremi (14640)

      But a dog does not have near-human intelligence. It doesn't even have remotely human intelligence -- it has simply learned behaviors that we can understand and manipulate to a far greater degree than other animals.

      The thing is, you could say the same thing about a lot of people as well -- but that doesn't mean they aren't human.

      Human intelligence varies greatly from one individual to the next, and so does canine intelligence, and the two ranges overlap somewhat. I won't try to speculate as to what the mora

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) *

      It doesn't even have remotely human intelligence -- it has simply learned behaviors that we can understand and manipulate to a far greater degree than other animals.

      What's the difference? Ability to learn == intelligence.

  • This is a crock (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Latent Heat (558884) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:04PM (#29004423)
    PBS Nova had a show on the comparative skills of humans and the great apes.

    One test was that the subject was offered a treat inside a cage -- a banana pellet for the ape, a Gummy Bear candy for the human child -- an a kind of toothed rake to retreive the treat.

    In each case, the rake was handed to the subject tooth-side down, and the teeth were to widely spaced to make and headway retrieving the treat. In each case the subject, a chimp and a 2-year-old human, raked away to no effect.

    Then the experimenter turned the rake over and demonstrated how the treat could easily be retrieved using the flat end of the rake. Then the rake was returned to the subject with the tooth-side-down position of the rake.

    The ape went back to raking away to no effect. With respect to the human 2-year-old, however, not only did the 2-year-old achieve 1-trial learning that the flat side of the rake was the effective way to get the Gummy Bear candy, when the 2-year-old was shown this technique, the 2-year-old laughed out loud, as if to say, "Oh, that's cheating, but if cheating is allowed, I am certainly going to do it."

    What I figure was the role of the laughter and the sense that the rake experiment was a joke is this: humor is connected with this type of reasoning and this type of learning. A lot of learning is a matter of figuring out the exception to the rule, what has to be un-learned in order to effect an outcome. So not only did the 2-year-old learn in one trial, the 2-year-old developed a mental model of how the rake was supposed to operate and then made a conceptual correction to that model, and thought the whole thing to be funny.

    I don't know the equivalent experiment with a dog as dogs lack the hand dexterity of humans and apes, but the minute I see a dog respond with 1-trial learning to a related situation, only then will I believe any claim as to a dog have the intelligence of a 2-year-old human.

    • Re:This is a crock (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ahabswhale (1189519) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @05:01PM (#29004813)
      How many children and apes did they test with? One of each is not statistically significant as intelligence varies wildly in both species. Hell, I know adults who wouldn't pass the test you describe above.
  • They have always seemed pretty smart to me. Or is the stuff that they do not deemed "intelligent?"

  • If you are child-less, and thus have little patience for the little monsters, you'd say that dogs *can* be as stupid and annoying as those screaming spoiled rotten two year old brats at McDonalds. Please, parents, stick them in that soundproof screaming chamber area with the playground equipment!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:16PM (#29004489)

    No one needs academic elitists from Canada telling them their own sons and daughters are no smarter than an average dog. My husband Todd showed me this article while we were playing with Trig, and I sat down and I thought to myself, boy, what's the world coming to, that if you could equate a puppy's intelligence with that of an unborn child, you could give the puppy a post-birth abortion?

    And I'm telling you, when you put forth Americans in front of these scientists on Obama's health care panel, and they put your baby and an Ivy League-educate golden retriever on the scale, who do you trust they'll declare the victor? This is dystopian, this is an outrage, this is what we must fight, America!

    --Sarah Palin

  • Original Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord Byron II (671689) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:18PM (#29004497)
  • As a owner of two beagles I disagree that beagles are "unintelligent", which makes me question the validity of these findings. I dont even see a mention of how many dogs of each breed they used, you can't just grab one dog and generalize the breed based on it. One of the beagles I own is very human-like in some aspects. For example, I left some chicken nuggets out on a table in the McDonalds box half open. She tried to sneak out a SINGLE nugget and eat it, hoping that I wouldn't be able to notice the number
    • As a bulldog owner, I felt the urge to defend my breed too. ;) But stating that one breed is generally more intelligent than others doesn't mean your dogs, individually, are stupid. The breed ranking was based on surveys of obedience trainers, who probably have a pretty good feel for how different breeds act in general. Specifically, if they're rating intelligence by how well dogs respond to commands -- well, that's one particular type of intelligence, and it's worth evaluating, but there's a lot more to

    • by hax4bux (209237) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:30PM (#29004589)

      Beagles are not Border Collies. I'm glad you enjoy your pets (and I'm not dumping on them).

      There is a reason Border Collies, English Shepards, etc, are the norm on farms and ranches. They are quite clever and I think you would have to keep one to appreciate the difference.

      I also have a Rhodesian Ridgeback just to keep the proselytizing missionaries away. Sweet but intimidating. I think he would quit breathing if it weren't for autonomous body functions, yet I have met owners who think theirs is borderline canine Einstein. No way.

    • by Derosian (943622)
      As a longtime terrier owner I would have to say while very willfull and active, they are some of the most intelligent dogs I've known. The American Staffordshire Terrier in particular is a very strong-willed and intelligent breed, but their temperament makes them hard to control, generally they just want to do what they want, and don't think they should listen to you. Anyway the point I am making is that how an animal behaves or how well trained it is isn't necessarily only dependent on intelligence, and
  • by heffrey (229704) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:18PM (#29004505)

    The average two year old understands 250 words? My two year old and all her same age friends know far far more than that. I also don't think that you get cleverer as you get older. You just learn more.

  • 'They may not be Einsteins, but are sure closer to humans than we thought.'

    To be fair, not many humans are Einsteins either.

  • The value of life (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HRbnjR (12398) <chris@hubick.com> on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:28PM (#29004581) Homepage

    This makes me wonder how aborting a human life far less developed than a toddler can still draw so much debate, while relatively little concern is shown for the thousands of lost lives of unwanted pets euthanized every year in animal shelters.

  • by bennomatic (691188) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:32PM (#29004613) Homepage
    So a dog goes into the telegraph office and submits his message for transmission: "Woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof."

    The telegraph operator says, "We normally charge by the word, but if you like, I'll give you the tenth 'woof' for free."

    To this, the dog responded, "But that, my good chap, would make no sense at all!"
  • Summary is Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DynaSoar (714234) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @04:46PM (#29004725) Journal

    The statement "as intelligent as a 2 year old child" implies the ability to perform on par with a 2 year old with average mental abilities, or another child of different age with greater or lesser abilities, on an appropriate test of "intelligence" such the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (Revised).

    Since those expected responses which are not verbal are written, obviously they'll score 0.

    Since cognitive science seems to get further from a definition of intelligence the harder it tries to pin it down, even using the word is a problem. I quit believing in the concept when I saw a retarded child perform successfully (though slower, and with more effort)in a class of gifted children mostly because of the attention offered in the situation.

    "Can perform successfully tests of some functions and display some cognitive abilities which when given to humans can be accomplished by more than half of 2 year old children" might be acceptable.

    Besides, I've seen some dogs that were too stupid to live. And I've run and howled with some that I've trusted alone with my baby children. Who cares how smart a person they'd make? What matters is how smart a dog they are, and the smartest rarely need things like arithmetic.

    For that matter, how smart is a 2 year old human on a dog scale of "intelligence"? After all, that's 21 in dog years. It's not 7 to 1, it's 10.5 to 1 for the first two, then 4 to 1 after.

  • It's not breeding. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by w0mprat (1317953) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @06:02PM (#29005191)

    Coren believes centuries of selective breeding and living alongside humans has helped to hone the intelligence of dogs.

    Yet it is also well established that both cats and dogs have smaller brains relative to body size than their wild counterparts. This being a result of selective breeding which may select for more juvenille traits. I'm quite sure a wild big cat or wolf raised carefully in captivity would do just as well as their domesticated cousins, and there is reason to believe they may do better.

  • I'm not so sure... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oljanx (1318801) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @06:16PM (#29005287)
    Dogs might understand about as many words and gestures as the average two year old, but I don't believe they're as intelligent. At least not according to our definition of intelligence. My two year old (27 months) asked me last night, "Why are balls round?". Then followed up with "is the moon a ball?". You can teach a two year old to communicate, but they come up with those questions on their own. Would a dog ask questions like that if it could communicate with us? I doubt it, but maybe I'm wrong.
  • by Windrip (303053) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @06:22PM (#29005345) Journal

    I was with them until they ranked breeds by intelligence.

    What they're not telling you (and most of the +3 posts on this thread would indicate that the posters know little of professional dog breeding) is the pedigree of the subjects under test.

    I was especially disappointed when they chose to rank the Afghan Hound as one of the "dumber" breeds; which is sorting is such a human trait.

    Those who know the history of the Afghan in Europe are aware the breed descends from a very shallow gene pool. Find the history of the breed written in the 19th century by "those who would be king" (Google books maybe?) to read the description of just how intelligent those imperialists found the long-haired variety.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis

Working...