Show Details

Sizing Up Dogs I

December 29, 2016

A listener asks whether large dogs are more intelligent than small dogs.


The brainiest dogs…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A listener named Amanda wants to know if a Labrador retriever has a larger brain than a miniature dachshund, and whether a larger brain makes a dog more intelligent. We consulted University of British Columbia canine expert Stanley Coren, who confirms that Labs do have larger brains.

STANLEY COREN (University of British Columbia):
But the really important thing is the size of the brain compared to the size of the body. And animals which have brains which are bigger than we expect for their body size are smarter.

Coren says Labs have bigger brains for their body size than mini dachshunds and that they are more intelligent on average. He adds that dogs have several different kinds of intelligence. But in terms of trainability, many experts agree that the brightest dogs are border collies and poodles, and the least trainable are Afghan hounds and basenjis. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.