The smartest dog breed in the world isn't the one you think it is!

Helsinki, Finland - Many a dog lover has wondered which breed is the brightest of them all. Now, thanks to a new study, experts have an answer, and surprisingly, it's not the Border Collie.

According to the smartDOG cognition tests, the Belgian Malinois is the brightest of the breeds.
According to the smartDOG cognition tests, the Belgian Malinois is the brightest of the breeds.  © 123RF/eliskadlecova

The study, run by experts from the University of Helsinki and the Lapland University of Applied Sciences, put 13 dog breeds through a series of rigorous tests to determine which breed was the smartest of them all.

More than 1,000 dogs went through tests designed to examine the animals' cognitive abilities. These exams, called smartDOG cognition tests, looked into the dogs' problem-solving ability, impulse control, ability to read human gestures, ability to copy human behavior, memory, and logical reasoning.

The results, which were recently published in the journal Scientific Reports, might surprise many. Previous studies dubbed the Border Collie the smartest breed, but the Finnish study didn't come to the same conclusion.

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Dr. Saara Junttila, a dog cognition researcher at the University of Helsinki and author of the study, told The Telegraph, "Most breeds had their own strengths and weaknesses."

That said, the smartDOG cognition tests proved that the brightest breed is the Belgian Malinois and not the Border Collie.

Border Collies are considered some of the smartest dogs in the world.
Border Collies are considered some of the smartest dogs in the world.  © 123RF/eliskadlecova
Finnish Lapphunds weren't very good at understanding human gestures.
Finnish Lapphunds weren't very good at understanding human gestures.  © 123RF/lindaer

Dr. Saara Junttila noted that Border Collies did well on most tests, but were beaten by the Belgian Malinois.

Border Collies scored just nine points less than the Belgian dogs, which makes them the second-smartest breed.

Dr. Saara Junttila explained that different breeds were successful in different tests: "For example, the Labrador Retriever was very good at reading human gestures, but not so good at spatial problem-solving ability." The Shetland Sheepdog proved to be well-rounded doggos with neither super high nor super low scores on any of the tests.

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Experts think that many of the different breeds' strengths and weaknesses are related to the animals' breeding, but some tests produced surprising results – like the one that examined the dogs' ability to understand human gestures. Finnish Lapphunds, which are bred as herding dogs, performed very poorly in this category. This surprised experts, as the dogs are bred to follow herders' commands.

According to this study, one could say Belgian Malinois are the brightest breed of them all, but Dr. Saara Junttila says what it really shows is that different dog breeds have different strengths and smarts.

Cover photo: Collage: 123RF/eliskadlecova, 123RF/eliskadlecova, 123RF/lindaer

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