If you're an animal lover, the chances are you like cats, dogs, guinea pigs and all sorts of other pets. You may even share your home with a few of them. However, the debate over whether our canine friends are smarter than their feline counterparts goes on as vigorously as ever with dog lovers saying their pets must be more intelligent simply because they are easier to train. Cat lovers on the other hand, say their pets are smarter because they tend to “train” their owners and are much too clever to let anyone train them preferring to be doing other important things.
Research carried out at Oxford University back in 2010 established that dogs have larger brains than cats. Their brains are more developed too which means they are smarter. The study explained that dogs are more social by nature and therefore evolved to have larger brains so they could survive. At the other end of the scale, cats are characteristically more aloof and solitary creatures by nature, as such they had less need to develop a social aspect in their lives in order to survive.
Researchers explained that being “social” equals having to develop “smart” behaviours, this in turn means certain animals have more developed brains, hence dogs are smarter than cats. Other animals with more “smart brain power” include dolphins, horses, monkeys and even camels because they are all social by nature.
A dog's intelligence is comparable to that of a 2-year old kid and they are more than capable of learning anything up to 165 words. Our canine companions can also count up to five and they boast great problem solving skills. Dogs can, as any owner knows, get quite creative when they need or want to whether they’re being well behaved or very naughty which best selling dog author Stanley Coren believes is much the same as in people.
Dogs just love to please, which is part of their need to be social. They’ll watch what their owners do and take it all in because they want to learn what makes people happy when they live in the same environment. Studies into a dog's behaviour established they are a lot more focused and always ready for a new challenge that humans send their way, literally lapping up the experience with relish.
However, cats are clever too, but not in the same way. They are not as trainable as their canine counterparts, but this is not to say they are not intelligent, because as any owner will testify, their pets often outsmart them and get what they want very easily. Cats have evolved to be extremely adaptable which is why they are such good “survivors” in the wild. However, domestic cats survive in other ways which includes finding the warmest spot to snuggle up and knowing when food bowls are about to be filled with some of their favourite food.
However, cats if left to their own devices are perfectly capable of fending for themselves which is something dogs find hard to do. For thousands of years our feline companions have learned the art of survival and they have done so extremely well in many harsh environments. Cats also have very good memories which means although not as easy to train, it is possible with more cats taking part in agility than ever before! Feline agility really took off in the States a few years ago and over recent times, it has taken the UK by storm too.
The most intelligent dog on the planet is a Border Collie called Chaser owned by John Pilley. This very smart dog learned to recognise around 1000 toys by name and could find 9 of them on command, proving that this lovely breed are one of the smartest on the planet.
For years people have argued over which of the most popular pets in the world are the smartest. Dog owners claim their pets are more intelligent and cat owners say their pets are far too clever to put up with being trained. However, research has established that dogs have larger and more developed brains than their feline counterparts and they are therefore more intelligent. But this does not mean cats are dumb – quite the contrary, they are just smarter in other ways which includes knowing how to wrap their owners around their little paws when they want something!