Border Collies are among the most intelligent dog breeds
Border Collies are among the most intelligent dog breeds

Dogs to compete in live virtual intelligence test to determine the smartest pooch

Six hounds from around the world will go head-to-head in the Genius Dog Challenge

Jade Bremner@jadebremner
Wednesday 11 November 2020 14:20

Dogs will test their memories to the limits in a live-streamed competition on Wednesday night to determine the smartest canine.

The Genius Dog Challenge includes six of the planet’s brainiest dogs, set to go head-to-head in a virtual stream test.

Five academics from Hungary’s Eötvös Loránd University (ELU), including ethology professors, biologists, dog experts, specialists in cognitive skills, and even a former dog trainer for the Israeli police, have spent two years putting together this event.

The process has involved searching far and wide for the cleverest dogs, who will have to perform a number of advanced tasks in the competition. Over two stages, the dogs must first learn the names of six toys, then will have to learn the names of a dozen toys.

“We invite you to join us in this new way to a better understanding our best friends,” said am ELU representative.

“We found six such dogs scattered all over the world,” explained Dr Claudia Fugazza from ELU.

The dogs battling it out for glory are border collies: Rico from Spain, Whisky from Norway, Max from Budapest, Sqaull from Florida, Gaia from Sao Paulo, and Nalani from the Netherlands.

“Of course, we cannot claim this is an ability that only belongs to border collies but indeed it does seem to be more frequent in [them],” said Fugazza.

It’s commonly known that well-trained dogs can easily learn the names of many commands, but the skills in this competition are more complex and use more episodic-like memory skills.

“Dogs are among the few species that people consider ‘clever,’ and yet we are still surprised whenever a study reveals that dogs and their owners may share some mental abilities despite our distant evolutionary relationship,” says Fugazza.

Stanley Coren, a neuropsychological researcher from the University of British Columbia, said the most intelligent dog breeds in terms of obedience intelligence include the border collie, poodle, German shepherd, golden retriever, Doberman pinscher, Shetland sheepdog,  Labrador retriever, Papillon, rottweiler and the Australian cattle dog. 

According to his research, Coren claims among the least intelligent are the chow chow, bulldog, basenji and Afghan Hound.

Six live virtual screenings of the Genius Dog Challenge will include two dogs being tested, watch it on Facebook and YouTube at 7pm CET (6pm UK time) each week, from 11 November until 16 December, with each broadcast showing two of the dogs being challenged.

The bigger picture is to help study the relationship between dogs and humans and help solve some of the mysteries of language. 

Viewers are welcome to donate towards canine research, which the scientists involved believe teaches us a great deal about both humans and dogs. Visit the Genius Dog Challenge webpage for more details.

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