Expert Q&A

Are some dogs just naturally smarter than others? I've noticed that certain dogs seem to be so much easier to train.


Several studies have investigated canine intelligence over the years. It appears that intelligence levels can vary across individuals, since there is a genetic component. Two factors, however, complicate this issue for canines. The first has to do with different dog breeds. Even if your pet is a mutt, it still retains a particular mixture of breed characteristics. Each breed comes with a skill set, such as dogs bred for hunting, scent detection, herding, agility and more. Because your dog inherited one or more of these skills, some mental and physical tasks may be easier for it than others. The second matter affecting dog intelligence has to do with environment and training. Some dog behaviorists argue that there are no dumb canines. Instead, there are only dogs that have received proper training in a nurturing environment and those that have not.

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