Just how smart is our favorite lovable chihuahua? How hard is dog training her?
A science and technology article by Larry O’Hanlon for NBC News titled “Size Matters in Canine Smarts” reveals the findings from a study in New Zealand that larger dogs tend to follow pointing cues from humans better than smaller dogs, making the larger dogs appear smarter.
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104 dogs were divided into 2 groups, those larger than 50 pounds and those smaller than 50 pounds.
The pooches were briefly taught to follow the directions of a visual cue from a human handler. The proper response for the dog was to retrieve the food from the bowl.
Then for the test, the handler stood, arms folded, quickly pointed at a food dish, and then refolded their arms.
The larger dogs performed much better than the smaller dogs.
Case closed, then, right? Our poor, but lovable and loyal chi ain’t so bright.
Well, researchers pondered that the truth may actually lie in the fact that larger breeds have greater distances between the eyes!
Not that they are truly smarter. These large dogs can “see” better. Can pick up the visual cue better than the smaller dogs.
Furthermore, larger dogs have been selectively bred for working roles and are better equipped for watching and responding to their handlers.
So, might there still be hope for our chis?
The chihuahua is lower on the chart, anywhere from middle of the field all the way down to the bottom 10 on the list.
However, a lot of it depends on a couple of factors #1) how do you measure intelligence in a dog breed? and #2) are there different types of intelligence just as there are in humans?
In The Intelligence of Dogs, a book by Stanley Coren, in which he ranks canine intelligence, there are 3 types of intelligence. 1) Instinctive intelligence, 2) adaptive intelligence, and 3) work intelligence and obedience.
Using these criteria, the lovable, confident, protective and loyal chihuahua ranks . . . 67 out of 79…. 🙁
just below pugs and french bulldogs, but at least above basset hounds, English bulldogs, and Chow Chows.
I call that a win!!
So the takeaway? We love our Chis. They may not pull sleds through the snow, perform amazing stunts, rescue people in floods or accidents, sniff out disease, herd sheep, guard nuclear powerplants, but, they sure as heck make great lap dogs!! They will guard your house from awful UPS deliveries and mail carriers, and fit in your purse, which is the perfect size for sneaking into stores or elevators … and there’s nothing funnier than being on a quiet elevator and hearing a muffled bark coming from your purse! “Ma’m, Is your purse barking?”
View Orginal Video here.