When it comes to obedience, a variety of factors can affect a dog's disposition. Training quality and duration, environmental factors, and the individual puppy personalities are all major contributors—but how much can a dog's breed and genetic makeup come into play?
In 1994, neuropsychological researcher Stanley Coren sought to compile the definitive resource for understanding the inner workings of our canine companions, captured within his book, “The Intelligence of Dogs.” Coren's research was based on extensive surveys of 208 obedience judges from the American and Canadian Kennel Clubs, representing half of all judges in North America. According to Coren, 51% of a dog's intelligence stems from its genes while 49% is based on environmental circumstances. Coren ultimately collected statistically significant data for 140 recognized dog breeds, ranking them by their working and obedience intelligence. This form of canine intelligence represents a breed's ability to learn and respond to commands and training, described by Coren as a "measure of what the dog can do for humans."
Drawing from Coren's research, Stacker has compiled the breeds that ranked in the lowest half of working and obedience intelligence. Each breed is broken down by their estimated understanding of new commands and ability to obey a known command the first time while adding in details on their trainability and history as a breed. Coren's research evaluated the animal's problem-solving capabilities, obedience, memory, social training, and powers of observation.
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