Animals and Insects

Which dog breed is the smartest?

Scientists studied 1,000 dogs from 13 different breeds to determine how they measured up in 10 different intelligence tests.

Two golden retrievers sit together.
Richard Drew / AP
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How smart is your dog? Scientists in Finland sought an answer.

Their study featured more than 1,000 dogs from 13 different breeds. They took part in 10 different intelligence tests, and the results were published in Nature Scientific Reports.

One of the tests measured the friendliness of the dogs. They were scored on whether they would approach the tester and allow her to pet them.

The golden retriever is the most friendly when greeting an unfamiliar person, according to the study. The Shetland sheepdog was the most fearful or aggressive of the group and the Australian Kelpie was the most overexcited, the study notes.

The dogs were also tested on impulse control in the cylinder test.

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"In this test, the dog is required to inhibit reaching directly for a visible food reward and instead detour around the transparent barrier to reach the reward," the study's authors stated.

The border collie and mixed breed dogs were among the highest scorers.

Dogs also underwent numerous tests to determine how well they respond to human gestures. The study's authors note that understanding human gestures is often used as a measure of social cognition.

The Belgian Malinois, border collie and Australian Kelpie all received high marks.

While these experiments offer insight into a dog's mind, the study's authors say the results do not represent the entire dog population. Researchers say findings may differ across countries and cultures.