It turns out that dog intelligence is not exceptional after all, according to a study published in the journal Learning & Behavior. “Dogs are dogs,” as one of the researchers put it.
For years experts have debated whether dogs are more intelligent than other animals, and the general consensus has been that yes – your canine pal may have an advantage in the brains department.
Researchers even suggested that dogs have more neurons in their cerebral cortex, giving them twice the intelligence of cats, National Geographic reported last year.
Now researchers are questioning whether that intelligence is exclusive to dogs.
A team from the University of Exeter and Canterbury Christ Church University examined over 300 papers documenting the intelligence of dogs and other animals, and found that the cognitive abilities of dogs were matched by several species including domestic animals, social hunters and other carnivorans such as wolves, bears, lions and hyenas.
Professor Stephen Lea, of the University of Exeter, said many studies in dog cognitive research attempted to demonstrate dog intelligence in comparison, according to Phys.org.
Each time the results fell in favor of dogs, it was “added to their reputation as something exceptional,” Lea said. “Yet in each and every case we found other valid comparison species that do at least as well as dogs do in those tasks.”
Dr. Britta Osthaus, of Canterbury Christ Church University, explained that the review looked at the sensory, physical, spatial and social cognition of domestic animals, social hunters and carnivorans, and found that dog cognition was not “exceptional” in comparison.
“We are doing dogs no favor by expecting too much of them,” Osthaus said. “Dogs are dogs, and we need to take their needs and true abilities into account when considering how we treat them.”
Dog intelligence may have been knocked down a notch after this latest study, but it does not take away their acts of courage, which was acknowledged at the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards Sunday.
The standout winner of the “American Dog Hero” title was awarded to a four-year-old Golden Retriever that was left for dead in a garbage bag and nearly lost all four of her legs as a result, but refused to give up hope in humanity.
Chi Chi cwas found in South Korea, stuffed into a garbage bag, her legs bound, worn to the bone and necrotized, according to American Humane.
However, after receiving her own set of custom prosthetics, the canine has flourished as a pet and certified therapy dog,
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