Cat owners should not believe their cats are thicker than dogs

Dog and candle

Beagle. Photo credit: Flickr Kaiser the Beagle

“Dogs are far more stupid than we think” – Science Editor The Times newspaper.

“Dogs understand almost nothing” – study finding

Online news media tends to give the impression that dogs are smarter and more in tune with the humane world than cats. There are more articles on dogs for a start off and more studies. And dogs are easier to train and…shall I go one? Yes, cats are for crazy cat ladies. I think you get the drift of the argument that dogs are smarter and many dog owners convince themselves that their dog understands them when they confide in them in the English language (or any other language for that matter).

Well, these thoughts have to blown out of the water. New research by researchers at Lincoln University teaks us that:

“Pet dogs do not appear to be especially attentive to the verbal content of commands for guiding their responses,” said Daniell Mills, Professor of Veterinary Behavioural Medicine and Daniela Ramos.

Dogs are bad at linking words with objects. For example telling a dog to fetch a stick is meaningless.

When dogs respond to verbal commands they are in fact responding to certain cues: visual cues such as their owner’s gaze and where they are pointing.

Dogs’ brains have 500 million cells in the cerebral cortex (the part to do with cognition) compared with the human’s 21 billion. The figure of 500 million is disputed by Psychology Today which states online:

“A cat’s cerebral cortex contains about twice as many neurons as that of dogs. Cats have 300 million neurons, whereas dogs have about 160 million…”

Some purebred dogs are smarter than others. The most intelligent breed is the Rodinglea Scruffy, a cross between the Border Collie, Springer Spaniels and Bearded Collies. The trouble is I don’t think this breed actually exists! I can’t find a picture of the dog. Not one it seems. It is a myth as is the perception that dogs are smarter than cats 😉

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Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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2 Responses

  1. Frances A Danna says:

    I deciphered this truth decades ago, long before science began studying the intelligence of cats vs dogs. ?

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