Link #152: German Shepherds Are the 3rd Most Intelligent Dog in the World

German Shepherd Dog with disc


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Link #152: German Shepherds Are the 3rd Most Intelligent Dog in the World

 German Shepherd Dog with disc
Image Credit: black swan/CC BY-SA 2.0

The 19th century was an era of innovation. Fuelled by the industrial revolution, there were many great things discovered, devices invented, and systems defined. In our last post, we talked about Friedrich Bessel as the man who first measured how far stars are from Earth.

The fact that Bessel was a German isn’t all that surprising because Germany was one of the most innovative countries in the world at the time. They didn’t only make waves in the field of science but also other more eccentric areas such as dog breeding.

For instance, the German Shepherd Dog breed was created at the end of the 19th century by the Germans. That breeding was successful because German Shepherds are the third most intelligent dog breed in the world right now.

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Are German Shepherds 3rd Most Intelligent Dogs In The World?

German Shepherds are scientifically proven to be the third smartest dog breed in the world. It isn’t all that surprising particularly because German Shepherds are the breed of choice for anyone looking for guard dogs.

There was a study conducted to measure the intelligence of various dog species that was based on language development. The tests mainly involved teaching dog breeds various words and measuring which breeds can learn how much and how fast.

The overall test results were that dogs are about as intelligent as a two year old human child. The study showed that, on an average, dogs can learn about 165 words, which includes gestures and signals. The excellent breeds i.e. breeds in the top 20 percent of the list, could learn up to 250 words.

Which Dogs Are More Intelligent Than German Shepherds?

Standard Poodle
Image credit: Tim Wilson/CC BY 2.0

There are only two other breeds that German Shepherds couldn’t beat and those are Poodles and Border Collies. According to the researchers behind the study, these dog breeds are all newer than other dog breeds in the world. The reason why newer dog breeds are smarter than older breeds is that older breeds are all natural while newer breeds are categorically bred by humans.

In fact, each of the top three breeds was bred for unique purposes with Border Collies and German Shepherds being sheep herders while Poodles being water retrievers. Incidentally, Poodles also originated in Germany before becoming the France’s national breed.

How Were German Shepherds Created?

Hektor von Schwaben
Image credit: Max von Stephanitz/CC0

There’s a lot of history involved with German Shepherds’ origins. In the late 19th century, the Phylax Society was formed in Germany with the aim of standardising the breeding of dogs. However, the society didn’t last for more than three years because it couldn’t come to an agreement whether the dogs should be bred for looks or work.

Later on, Max von Stephanitz, a former member of the Phylax Society decided to take on the job independently. Initially, he had trouble finding a dog with the right traits but he came across one at the turn of the century in a dog show. He immediately bought the dog called Hektor and started breeding it. Stephanitz chose to call Hektor the first German Shepherd Dog.

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