Are Dogs as Smart as Two-Year-Olds?

Are Dogs as Smart as Two-Year-Olds?

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Carrie McBride
Aug 14, 2009

This question doesn't actually seem so ridiculous to us. Many months ago when our son was a newborn we remarked to a friend that we were looking forward to the day when his intelligence surpassed the cats' (and, frankly, our cats aren't the sharpest tacks in the drawer). A canine expert has been looking at all kinds of dog IQ studies and recently delivered an overview at a meeting of the American Psychological Association. His verdict: the average dog has the mental abilities of a 2-year old child.

The article we read focused more on the intelligence of dogs and how this differed by breed, but it did offer several interesting tidbits comparing dogs and children:

• A language development test showed that the average dog and the average two-year-old can learn about 165 words including signals and gestures.

• Dogs were even more impressive in math and do better than most three and four-year-olds in basic arithmetic (and can count up to 4 or 5).

• In terms of social smarts, dogs come closer to teenagers and have complex social lives (though their emotional "toolbox" is closer to toddlers).

Does any of this surprise you?

(Photo: by Flickr member otakuchick licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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