Our canine companions are not only loving and affectionate, but they are remarkably intelligent as well. Despite learning new tricks, being able to recognize the letters W-A-L-K, and knowing exactly when it’s meal time, down to the second, we often overlook how truly smart they are. While every breed and each individual dog is different, there are some trends seen as far as what breeds have the biggest brains.
Where Do Chow Chows Fall on the Smart Scale?
Chow Chows are known for the trademark fluffy lion like mane and purple tongue. Despite being down right adorable with their wrinkly faces and smaller stature they somehow manage to always look unimpressed with the world around them.
With such a distinct physical appearance it isn’t surprising that they have a reputation when it comes to their smarts as well. Unfortunately for them, they are considered to be a little more dense than other dogs.
What is A Chow Chow IQ?
Ranking dog intelligence breed by breed would be an incredibly difficult undertaking. Thankfully, an animal behaviorist by the name of Frans de Waal did just that based on working intelligence. While this only shows one specific aspect of canine smarts, it was considered to be “remarkably consistent.” The ranking was broken down into six tiers based on how many times a command had to be shown for the dog to learn it and how likely they were to do said command when prompted.
When going through the tiers of dog breeds the Chow Chow doesn’t show up until the very last tier. The sixth tier is considered to be dog breeds that would make the worst working dogs. They may learn the new trick after being shown over 100 times but only follow the command around 30 percent of the time. The Chow Chow itself is ranked 76 out of 79 breeds with only the Bulldog, Basenji and Afghan Hound performing worse.
Why are Chow Chows “Dumb”
With all of this information pointing to the fact that Chow Chows are less than intelligent it is very easy to denounce them as being dumb dogs. However, if we delve a little deeper we might just come to a slightly different conclusion.
Let’s start with Chow Chow’s origin. They can be traced as far back as 2000 years ago to the Han Dynasty in China. One of the reasons they were bred was actually as a food source. With this in mind it makes sense that their intelligence and mental capacity wasn’t something that was of great importance at the time.Thankfully, they are no longer used as a source of food, but their seemingly dense mindset has seemed to follow them to current times.
Chow Chows are also considered to be extremely stubborn and standoffish dogs. This begs the question, do Chow Chows truly not understand the command being put to them, or do they just not care enough to do it? It would be all too easy to picture an owner telling a Chow Chow to sit, stay and roll over and be met with only a yawn or a scowl. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Chow Chow doesn’t know what the owner wants, they may just not feel like doing it and therefore choose not to.
This would also play a large part in their ranking as one of the breeds with the lowest intelligence because the only kind being tested was working intelligence. Chow Chows are considered to be stubborn and lazy which doesn’t fit well when checking how well they learn in a working environment. Therefore, it would make sense that they would rank low when it comes to working intelligence testing.
What they potentially lack in adoptive intelligence, they make up for with their instinctive intelligence. What this means is that learning new tricks may not be their forte, but they are born and bred with a natural ability and an intelligence unique to their breed.
One of the other reasons the Chow Chow was originally bred was to be a guard dog. With their suspiciousness of anyone new, their tendency to be aggressive toward other dogs and their fierce loyalty to their owner, they make fantastic guard dogs today as well. These traits are not something that is taught, it is their instinctive intelligence that leads these dogs to be born with these characteristics and knowledge.
It is all too easy to potentially see the Chow Chows as dumb dogs when in reality they may be more intelligent than we give them credit for. They have a great natural knowledge for a specifically bred purpose. And when it comes to commands, perhaps they just prefer to do things on their time.