08:15 11 August 2009
While dogs may only appear to be cunning when they're begging for food, new research claims that they may even be as bright as a child.
Select breeds of dogs can understand basic maths and the meaning of some words (up to 250), which puts them on a par with a two-year-old's development. Dogs can also count up to five.
Adopting tests originally designed to demonstrate the development of language, pre-language and basic arithmetic in children, the team of researchers were able to show that the average dog is much more intelligent than we may have at first thought.
They also compiled a list of the most and least intelligent dog breeds using information from obedience classes.
The border collie and retriever were rated highest for intelligence while hounds and terriers were deemed the least bright.
Stanley Coren, a professor and canine expert said: "We all want insight into how our furry companions think, and we want to understand the silly, quirky and apparently irrational behaviours [that] Lassie or Rover demonstrate.
"Their stunning flashes of brilliance and creativity are reminders that they may not be Einsteins but are sure closer to humans than we thought."
The research continued to state that domesticated animals tend to be far brighter as they have had chance to learn from their owners and surroundings. Professor Coren noted that when a human points, a wild wolf would look simply at the finger while a domestic dog would look where the finger is pointing.
Coren continued: "The dogs that are the brightest dogs in terms of school learning ability tend to be the dogs that are much more recently developed."
However, he also wisely warned that sometimes a less intelligent dog makes for a better pet, because not only will a smarter dog learn what its owner wants it to know, but will also learn everything it can get away with too.
Ten most intelligent breeds
Least intelligent breeds
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