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Dog Gone Smart

November 7, 2013 - Jane Whitmore
Every now and then an item lands on my desk about dogs. My long-haired German Shepherd Dog named Alaska has been gone for several years, but will long be remembered by those who knew her. Of course, my dog was smart. The one and only time I put a bumper sticker on my vehicle, it was about my dog. It read:?My German Shepherd (picture of the dog) is smarter than your honor student. And she was! So when I saw the article about the 10 smartest dog breeds, I was a bit put out that German Shepherd dogs came in number two. The article was written by Cheryl Lock, who had interviewed a spokesperson with the American Kennel Club. The introduction to the article states: “While all dogs are smart, certain breds are more intelligent at specific tasks than others” and acknowledges that every dog is different and mixed-breeds are some of the smartest. So, what tops the list of dog breeds that excel in intelligence, especially when it comes to the job they do? The workaholic Border Collie. Here’s the comment: “...prized for its intelligence and working ability, the Border Collie excels at agility. Border Collies have extraordinary instinct and need a job to do in order to be happy.” German Shepherd dogs came in second, noting they are extremely smart at police work. “They are well-known to be the world’s leading police, military and guard dog. They are also loyal and dependable.” We agree. Bloodhound comes in at number three:?“Bloodhounds are the best at trailing. They are often used in policework and search and rescue. Their scenting abilities are so exceptional that a Bloodhound’s mantrailing results are permissible in court.” Number four - Beagle. “Beagles tend to follow their nose, which makes them exceptional for detection work. Bed bugs became a major problem for businesses and homeowners over the past few years so the Beagle came to the rescue. With their excellent noses, exterminators and business owners enlisted the dog’s incredible abilities to find where bed bugs were hiding so humans could get rid of them.” Number five - Labrador Retriever. “Labs are the smartest guide dogs. They are highly trainable and are very eager to please. This is also why Labs make such great family pets and are the most popular dog, according to AKC?Registration Statistics.” Newfoundland are the smartest at water rescue and came in at number six. “They have a large lung capacity that enables them to be masters at long-distance swimming and they have true lifesaving instincts in water. They are intelligent and easily trained.” Number seven - Belgian Malinois. “Belgian Malinois are extremely smart military dogs. They are strong, agile, highly trainable and have a strong desire to work. They are confident and naturally protective, which makes them effective at military work.” Number eight - Siberian Huskies. “Siberian Huskies excel at sledding. They were bred in Northeast Asia as sled dogs, and have amazing endurance and willingness to work.” Golden Retriever is number nine. “Golden Retrievers are very smart assistance dogs. They have an innate working ability, are intelligent and have an eager-to-please attitude.” Number ten on the list are Australian Shepherds. “Aussies are amazing herders - the breed lives for its job. Aussies are adaptable, energetic, intelligent and have very strong natural herding instincts.” Are you a little smarter now? Or, do you feel like you’ve just watched the Westminster Kennel Club show? So how do you tell if your dog is happy??Dogs wag their tails predominantly to the right (from the dog’s point of view) when they see something that makes them happy. This could well be their owner is approaching They wag their tails predominantly to the left when they are stressed out by a larger dog or another stimuli they find threatening. I’m not sure if the tail wagging research applies to cats. There are other signs of behavior, likes and dislikes, in the cat world, so I’m told. Pets are much like people. They have their areas of expertise and they have the ability to communicate when they are happy or threatened.


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