Dogs, like people, are good at some things and not very good at other things.  There aren’t smart people and dumb people.  There also aren’t smart dogs and dumb dogs.

If it were decided that the measure of intelligence in a human was if he could ace a spelling test, then does it make the mathematician or the scientist or the mechanic dumb if they aren’t good at spelling.

Perhaps the test contains a wide variety of topics, but it is a timed test.  Well, if a human thinks slower than most but knows the answers, he would get a low score that may equate to being ‘dumb.’  It all depends on the test.

So, what determines if a dog is smart or dumb?

You look at the dog’s ability to perform tasks that it was bred to perform;  for example hunting, herding, guarding.  You also observe his ability to learn from his experiences and solve a related problem by himself.   And, you note his ability to learn when being taught something by both other dogs and by humans.   You must also consider the dog’s personality traits.   Is he independent or stubborn or even aloof?  Does he simply need some training?

Every dog is trainable.  However, it can take time and patience.

Some suggest that the following are the dumbest dog breeds:

  • Afghan Hound
  • Basenji
  • Bulldog
  • Chow Chow
  • Borzoi
  • Bloodhound
  • Pekingese
  • Beagle
  • Mastiff
  • Basset Hound

Now, let’s explore why these breeds may have been labeled ‘dumb.’

The Afghan Hound, Basenji, and Borzoi are sighthounds, which means they have superior eyesight.  They were bred to hunt and can spot their prey making the slightest movement and swiftly chase it down.  They are all noted as being aloof, stubborn and independent.  So, are they dumb or do they think independently and prefer to do things on their own terms and therefore are not as easy to train as they could be.

The Bloodhound, Beagle and Basset Hound are scent hounds.  As such, they can sniff out almost anything.  They have trouble ignoring the amazing scents around them long enough to concentrate on learning.  They are always looking down, not up.  So, if the test of intelligence for dogs were their ability to track something these breeds would come out on top.  It all depends on the test.

The Bulldog, Chow Chow, Pekingese, and Mastiff are all noted as being stubborn.  Is this just a personality trait that needs to be trained around?

It is also suggested that Bulldogs are lazy, but some enjoy vigorous activity.  So, it seems unfair to label an entire breed as being the same as all other dogs within that breed.

Chows are intelligent, but they think for themselves.

Pekingese are somewhat sloth-like.  Perhaps that’s a reflection of their history as sacred pets of the Tang Dynasty in China.  Perhaps they still feel entitled to an easy life.

The Mastiff is a very laid-back dog, making people think they are a little dense, but they are quite bright.

So, is there a ‘dumbest dog breed’?

Dogs are all good at something.  Figure out what that is and give him the opportunity to shine!



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