Studies reveal that the ranking of dog intelligence can be a result of physical differences instead of cognitive or intellectual capacity.
‘Really small dogs are hard to train. Really big dogs, on the other hand, are really hard to physically handle. Hence, medium dogs, the Goldilocks’ dogs, are seen as being the most intelligent. This does not mean they are actually the most intelligent, they are just perceived to be,’ says William Henton, a New Zealand researcher.
So if we take out the medium to large dog breeds out of the equation, which smartest dog breeds prevail in an all-small-dog breed category?
The breed got its name from the French word papillon which means butterfly. Their wing-shaped upright ears resemble a butterfly. The papillon is not only one of the dog breeds that are easily trained but it is also ranked first amongst toy breeds in the obedience competition.
Despite looking like a lapdog, the papillon is a bundle of energy that requires plenty of exercise. They are outgoing and love the active life, acting as the family protector.
2. Poodle (Miniature and Toy)
The standard poodle is one of the smartest dog breeds in the world, and the miniature poodle and toy poodle share the same intellectual attributes. These mini dog breeds excel in a variety of dog sports and shows. Though this breed has an excellent capacity for learning many things, appropriate training is needed to reach their potential.
3. Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland sheepdog resembles the miniature version of a border collie with its luxurious double coat and a long snout. Just like the collies, the Shetland sheepdogs are great in agility sports. They are extremely intelligent capable of learning new commands and hundreds of spoken words.
As with any other smart breeds, Shetland owners need to provide them with activities that are mentally stimulating. They exhibit different personalities and are not shy to express them from time to time through body language and facial and vocal expressions.
4. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh corgi is statistically ranked as the 11th brightest dog breed in the world, capable of comprehending new commands within 5 to 15 repetitions. They excel in different activities including agility, tracking, fly ball, obedience, and other dog sports.
Corgis have always been known to be great watchdogs. They bark as soon as they sense the presence of strangers or hears unusual sounds. They enjoy being treated like a lapdog and will often initiate lap sessions by jumping on your lap.
5. Miniature Schnauzer
The miniature schnauzer loves to perform in front of people. It is one of the easiest small dog breeds to train. However, schnauzers retain a very strong instinctive drive to chase around what they perceive as prey. This behaviour can be corrected through training as well as early exposure to other animals. With high energy levels, schnauzers need plenty of exercise to burn off the energy. With proper training, this breed can excel in agility and herding competitions.
6. Brussels Griffon
This is a breed with high intelligence but can be challenging to train. When forced, they may lose interest in participating in training sessions. They respond well to positive reinforcement and gentle training, therefore, a positive training method must be used.
The Brussels griffon enjoys spending time with their owners. They are likely to get attached to the family so they’d prefer staying in the house. They may not do well staying in kennel or garage.
The schipperke has an almost fox-like stance with its wedge-shaped head and upright pointed ears. This breed is highly intelligent with an intense curiosity that can at times lead them to undesirable situations. That being said, training should be firm and consistent. However, they may also be too sensitive, so be sure to shower them with love and attention after training.
Note that schipperkes are susceptible to dog separation anxiety. This can be dealt with by training them to be by themselves at an early age.
Pomeranians are ideal companion dogs. Because of their intelligence and alertness, they make great watchdogs. With their high-energy levels, they enjoy interactive activities and learning new tricks. They wouldn’t miss a chance to walk, run, or play.
Because of their small size, they can be mistaken for squirrels or rabbits, thus, they may become targets of predatory birds. So when they are outdoors, it’s important that they are accompanied by their handlers.
9. Cairn Terrier
Cairn terriers earned their name from the small piles of stones called ‘cairns’ which they dig to make open access to the rodents residing below. Because of their alertness, they excel in hunting, tracking, herding, and agility competitions.
Cairn terriers should be provided with a moderate amount of exercise such as a brisk walk or a game of fetch, which provides an outlet for their energy. They are highly adaptable and will do well in different living conditions.
Did your small dog make the list? Share your thoughts to other dog owners in the comments below!
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