It turns out that humans might not be that much smarter than our dogs. In a new study, researchers found that the cognitive structure of a dog’s brain might be similar to that of humans. The study tested 68 border collies on various intelligence tests and found that dogs that performed better on one test than other dogs tended to also do well on other tests. For example, a dog that was able to complete an obstacle course well also showed an ability to choose the larger of two food portions.
These findings correlate with the general human cognitive structure—meaning that if you are good at one, it usually correlates with being good at another similar activity. The study also showed that, essentially, some dogs were smarter than others and showed a range of intelligence, in the same way that children and adults show in the classroom and throughout life. This study could hold a promising future in being able to learn about human intelligence through studying the intelligence of dogs, such as findings of whether intelligence is related to life span or the effects of dementia on the brain.
However, this isn’t the first study that revealed that dogs may be smarter than we ever thought—previous tests showed that certain breeds were capable of deception as well as predicting the actions of others. Researchers are optimistic about the future of studies such as these and are looking to perform similar intelligence tests on other breeds. Maybe the phrase about dogs being a man’s best friend weren’t that far off after all….