Are Big Dogs Smarter Than Small Dogs?

Learn about intelligence differences in dog breeds.

It seems as though, whenever there's a list of the most intelligent dogs, medium and large breeds dominate it. But is that true? Are large and medium-breed dogs generally smarter than small and giant breed ones?

Different Types of Intelligence

Just as with humans, it turns out that there are different types of intelligence for dogs. In his book The Intelligence of Dogs, Stanley Coren, Ph.D., identifies them as:

It turns out that most of the lists you'll find that score dogs' intelligence focus on the last type, working and obedience. And dogs in the medium and large categories tend to do quite well in that category.

Why Are Medium and Large Dogs Scoring High on Obedience Intelligence?

Researchers have some ideas about why dogs in the medium and large breed categories tend to do better on tests of obedience intelligence than small breeds. Here are some of their theories:

But there's a third suggestion about why medium and large breed dogs score better on working intelligence meters than small and giant breeds, and it may be the one with the most oomph:

Works Cited

  1. Stanley Coren PhD., D. F. (2016, Aug. 31). Can a Dog's Size Predict Its Intelligence? Retrieved from

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