What is the average IQ of a dog?

Have you ever wondered what dogs think about us? Or even if they think at all? Dogs are smart but sometimes our little furry animals act differently. Though an IQ is a relative human measuring device, it wouldn’t hurt to know what a dog’s IQ would be, if placed on a human scale.

What is the average IQ of a dog?

 In 2009, NBC News reported that the average dog has the same IQ as a 2-year-old child, based on word recognition. Stanley Conley, a canine expert and professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia, rates their IQ as a child of two and a half years. He says dog would trump a three to four years in arithmetic but they are more like teenagers in social skills.

The results were based on a language development test. We found out that an average dog can learn 165 words which is similar to a 2-year-old child, including signals and gestures.

We assume the average dog is as smart or has the mental abilities of a 3-year-old human, because by age 4 to 5, humans can begin to read and write, do arithmetics and perceive their environment more accurately. So, if we assign 60 to an average three-year-old human, then 60 could be the IQ of a dog.

A dog’s IQ cannot be measured on a human scale.

It can be quite impossible to compare IQ in dogs to IQ in humans, but not so impossible to compare dogs to dogs or humans to humans. IQ tests are designed for humans and involves written tests for numerical, spatial and linguistic property and also, short term memory and analytical memory.

Furthermore, dogs do not have the full range of mental capacity we have. A lot of IQ is being able to measure and understand correlation. Every dog trainer will tell you that dogs need to be rewarded with a treat immediately upon a desired behavior so the dog can learn to associate treats with specific behaviors.

For instance, if a dog chews a piece of cloth and vomits it afterwards, he doesn’t understand that it was the piece of cloth that made it vomit. A dog would continue that habit untill he is scolded or corrected. What we are saying is that they cannot understand past immediate association, which is a huge part of IQ and this is the same situation for two-year-old kids.

Keep in mind that dogs also possess other skills that we humans do not. That gives them a much greater edge over us in many things. So it is really hard to come up with an actual number.

Humans personally do not have the 1Q that gives us the ability to put a scale on a dog’s abilities. We cannot comprehend the way their brain processes the huge amount of information that they get from the environment and we cannot comprehend it because it’s beyond our biological limits. So a dog’s IQ would have to be the norm to a dog.

Statistics would take any raw data and convert it to standardized data. They could use index forms where the average is 100 with a standard deviation of 15. A T score where the average is 50 with the standard deviation of 10, a Z score where the average is 0, and the standard deviation or some other standard score process.

There would likely be a classification of working dogs from sporting dogs to guard dogs to all other classes of dogs, even classified based on their age range also, puppies to senior dogs.

Dogs have complex emotions, cognitive abilities, and problem-solving skills that are adapted specifically for their species. For example, dogs can more successfully bring down prey in a group, compared to other animals.

Cognitive capabilities and adaptability of a dog.

Instead of trying to compare the intelligence of a dog to a human, we should be looking at how a dog uses cognitive thoughts and the ability to solve problems that prove adaptability to their environment for survival.

Dogs can completely clean itself up using it’s tongue and that requires spacial intelligence. They can herd animals and also pick off emotions from humans, that is social intelligence. They can recognize patterns and learn to anticipate the actions of others, which covers basic math intelligence.

A border collie named Chaser proved this theory, though he is dead now. He had a vocabulary of up to a thousand words and not just by rote memorization, he could process complete sentences and respond approximately.

For example, his owner, a psychologist said that, he could accurately pick out the right toy when directed from a huge pie of toys everytime. He correctly obeyed commands such as “Put the yellow ball into the red large box” or ” Bring the small green napkin from the laundry hamper and put it in the sink”, when given a variety of objects to choose from.


Dogs’ IQ can’t be measured, they learn by instinct. I think that dogs are still probably more intelligent than other animals in the animal kingdom and maybe, even more, intelligent than humans. The fair extremely in life when left in their natural environment, those that are less intelligent die prematurely.

They have survived on the planet for billions of years. They are perishing now and some species are going into extinction due to human activities and negligence. If humans are placed on the IQ scale of a dog, I doubt some would do fairly.

Related information

What dog has the highest IQ?

In dog intelligence, the border collie rules. Followed by the poodle and then the German shepherd. Poodles are best at learning tricks because they are so smart and have the desire to please. A Doberman male may not be smart but would give you or your family a sense of security.

A dog with IQ may be disobedient because if they can think for themselves, they might often do so, but if spoken to, in a strong firm manner, they would be complied to obey.