Giant dog breeds tend to be very memorable when we see them out and about, often simply due to their large size – and the fact that huge dogs are fairly uncommon too, and so when we do see one, we tend to remember them!
There are numerous reasons why giant dog breeds are not as common as smaller ones, and two factors in particular play an important part – a giant dog needs a very large home, and a giant dog is also apt to cost a lot to keep.
There aren’t as many dog breeds within the giant size stakes as in most other size groups either – in fact, just a total of 17 different breeds, some of which aren’t really seen commonly seen in the UK at all, even given the overall rarity of giant breeds.
Choosing a giant dog breed is not a decision to undertake lightly if you’ve got your heart set on one as your next pet – and you need to find out as much as possible about the breed you’re considering and the implications of owning it before you go ahead with a purchase.
One aspect of dog breeds that is commonly overlooked by prospective owners is how smart dogs of the breed tend to be, and when it comes to giant breeds, few of them fall hugely high on the scale compared to breeds of other sizes.
The “scale” in question is called the Coren scale, which was devised by canine psychology professor Stanley Coren to rank dog breeds in order based on working ability, and it encompasses 138 different dog breeds across every part of the size spectrum.
If you own a giant dog breed or are comparing giant breeds and considering buying one, you might be wondering how they stack up in the intelligence stakes compared to other breeds of a similar size.
With this in mind, this article will tell you the five smartest giant dog breeds based on the Coren scale, with some information on how they compare to dogs of all sizes, and what this means in practice. Read on to learn more.
The Great Dane is one of the more popular giant dog breeds in the UK, but they are still uncommon overall, being ranked in 76th place across all sizes.
The Great Dane is the fifth most intelligent giant dog breed, beating out 12 other giant competitors to make it into the spot! They are ranked as the 91st most intelligent out of 138 breeds altogether, however, so fairly far down the intelligence scale in general.
The Great Dane’s place on the intelligence scale reflects dog breeds that are expected to be able to learn a new command within 25-40 repetitions, and follow it first time 50% of the time or better.
The Scottish deerhound is as seriously tall and leggy dog, sometimes mistaken for an Irish wolfhound although they are only really similar at a glance! This is a very uncommon breed in most areas of the UK, being the 135th most popular overall out of 244 different dog breeds and types.
In terms of the Scottish deerhound’s intelligence, they’re the 4th smartest giant dog breed, and the 89th smartest dog breed overall, which places them just two steps above the fifth-placed Great Dane.
They have the same expectation level to learn commands as the Great Dane too, taking on average 25-40 repetitions to learn a new command and following it first time 50% of the time or better.
The Irish wolfhound is another very tall and imposing looking dog, and also an uncommon one – the 159th most popular breed in the UK overall.
They’re the third most intelligent giant dog breed, and compared to dogs of all breeds and sizes, they fall in 67th place on the scale, so quite a big jump up from the Scottish deerhound and Great Dane.
However, this still leaves the Irish wolfhound in the “average” group in the intelligence stakes, likely to learn a new command in 25-40 attempts and follow it first time 50% of the time or better.
The Newfoundland is huge, handsome and ponderous, and they’re one of the more popular giant breeds in the UK too, in 66th place overall out of all dog sizes – which still makes them very rare!
They’re the second smartest giant breed in the world too, and when ranked next to all dog breeds and sizes, come in 46th place out of 138 dog breeds, so a big step up from the Irish wolfhound and soundly into the top 50% of the list.
The Newfoundland falls in the intelligence group reserved for “above average” working dogs, which is those that can learn a command within 15-25 repetitions, and follow it first time 70% of the time or better, making it the first of two giant breeds that distinguish themselves in the intelligence stakes.
So, what’s the smartest giant dog breed of all? It’s the giant schnauzer! The giant schnauzer is also the 35th most intelligent dog breed overall, which places them just on the borders of the top 25% of the most intelligent breeds, still within the “above average” group like the Newfoundland.
Giant schnauzers aren’t common in the UK, and are in fact the 143rd ranked dog breed in the popularity stakes here – but if more buyers knew how smart this giant breed is, they might gain a little more attention!
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