Is YOUR dog gifted? Smart pups who can remember multiple object names are PLAYER than typical puppies, study shows
- Previous studies have shown that a handful of dogs are ‘gifted’
- These dogs can remember multiple toy names for over two months
- In a new study, researchers surveyed the owners of these dogs on personality
- Findings found that a key trait makes gifted dogs stand out – playfulness
While many dog owners like to think their pets are gifted, only a few dogs are really smart enough to remember multiple object names.
Now, a new study led by researchers at Eotvos Lorand University has shed light on the personalities of these dogs.
Their findings suggest that an important personality trait sets gifted dogs apart from typical puppies – playfulness.
Ádám Miklósi, co-author of the study, said: “This study shows that there is a link between extremely high levels of playfulness and giftedness in verbal label learning in dogs.”
A new study led by researchers at Eotvos Lorand University has shed light on the personalities of gifted dogs. Their findings suggest that a key personality trait sets gifted dogs apart from typical puppies – playfulness
Which breeds are the smartest?
WebMD reports that the following are naturally the most intelligent dog breeds:
- border collie
- German shepherd
- golden retriever
- Doberman Pinscher
- Shetland Sheepdog
- labrador retriever
- Australian Shepherd
Previous studies have shown that only a few dogs worldwide demonstrate the unique ability to learn multiple object names.
These dogs — called gifted word learners — can learn the names of their toys very quickly and remember them for over two months.
In the new study, the team set out to find out the personality traits of these dogs.
The researchers asked the owners of 21 gifted dogs from around the world to complete a Dog Personality Questionnaire.
“This is a validated questionnaire that reveals personality traits in dogs and has already been used successfully in several published studies,” said Borbala Turcsan, co-author of the study.
The results of the questionnaires were then compared with the results of the same questionnaire given to the owners of 144 typical dogs.
The researchers limited the study to Border Collies, as most gifted word learners belong to this breed.
“However, it is important to point out that the vast majority of Border Collies do not exhibit this talent,” said Dr Andrea Sommers, co-author of the study.
“And also that there are some gifted word learners who don’t belong to this race,” adds researcher Shany Dror.
The results showed that playfulness was the only personality trait reported significantly more in gifted dogs
The results showed that playfulness was the only personality trait reported significantly more in gifted dogs.
Although Border Collie is a breed that is very playful by nature, the gifted dogs were even more playful than the other dogs.
“However, it is important to note that this does not necessarily mean that playfulness is the cause of this talent,” said Mr Miklósi.
“We’re not ruling it out, but it could also be that the extreme playfulness in gifted individuals is driven or perceived by the owners as a result of frequent playful interactions with their named toys.”
Similarly, previous studies have shown that the ability to solve problems in humans is linked to playfulness.
For example, a 2013 study looked at the link between playfulness, creativity and math skills.
“This study confirmed that playfulness improves individual creative performance and that personal playfulness can predict and positively influence creativity,” the team wrote in the study.
HOW DOES YOUR DOG CHANGE YOUR MIND AND BODY?
– Dogs have been shown to trigger the release of the ‘cuddle hormone’ oxytocin in their owners
– The chemical lowers your heart rate and blood pressure and relieves stress
– Our canines also cause our brains to release the ‘pleasure hormone’ dopamine
– This boosts your mood and your long-term memory
– Eye contact and touch are powerful triggers of oxytocin and dopamine
– This means that social dog breeds such as labrador and golden retrievers are more likely to have illegal oxytocin release
– Breeds that are more independent of humans, such as the Pyrenees, may cause a lower oxytocin response
– Dogs that we perceive as aggressive, such as bull dogs or German Shepherds, initiate the fight-or-flight response
This releases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline
– These chemicals increase blood pressure and heart rate and can suppress the immune system for a long time