When it comes to obedience, a variety of factors can affect a dog’s disposition. The quality and duration of training, environmental factors, and individual puppy personalities are all major contributors, but how much of a role can a dog’s breed and genetic makeup play?
In 1994, neuropsychology researcher Stanley Coren sought to compile the definitive resource for understanding the inner workings of our canine companions, captured in his book, “The Intelligence of Dogs.” Coren’s research was based on extensive surveys of 208 U.S. and Canadian Kennel Club obedience judges, representing half of all judges in North America. According to Coren, 51% of a dog’s intelligence comes from their genes while 49% is based on environmental circumstances. Coren ultimately collected statistically significant data for 140 recognized dog breeds, ranking them according to their working and obedience intelligence. This form of canine intelligence represents a breed’s ability to learn and respond to commands and training, described by Coren as a “measure of what the dog can do for humans.”
Building on Coren’s research, Stacker compiled the breeds ranked in the bottom half of working and obedience intelligence. Each breed is broken down based on their estimated understanding of new commands and their ability to obey a known command the first time around while adding details about their trainability and history as a breed. Coren’s research assessed the animal’s problem-solving abilities, obedience, memory, social training, and powers of observation.
Read on to see why not all retrievers are created equal when it comes to trainability and why you can’t discount lapdogs when it comes to their watchdog abilities.
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