Is a German Shepherd a smart dog?

“Hey reader, do you remember that one iconic movie character known as Rin Tin Tin? Or maybe you’ve heard of Max, the heroic military dog who served on the frontlines in Afghanistan. Both of these extraordinary dogs were German Shepherds.

So you might be asking yourself, “are these superheroes of dogdom always this smart?” Well, you’re not the only one. There’s a constant debate about intelligence in the canine world, just as people argue about smarts among Homo sapiens. Today, let’s dive into the warm fur and sharp senses of the German Shepherd and see why this breed consistently ranks at the top of ‘smartest dog’ lists.

Just for a start, did you know that a German Shepherd’s intelligence is only surpassed by Border Collies and Poodles? Most dog experts agree that these three breeds are the astronomical trifecta of canine intelligence. However, we’re going to be biased and claim today is all about the mighty German Shepherd!

Here’s an amazing story from New Zealand showcasing their intelligence. A German Shepherd named Toby saw his human friend choking on an apple. Toby imitated him by thumping his own chest with his paw. Out flew the piece of apple. Toby literally copied the Heimlich maneuver from instinct, saving his owner’s life.

But don’t worry; we don’t only have anecdotal evidence proving these dogs’ smartness. In fact, there’s a whizz who studied doggy brainpower and categorized it into specific abilities. Dr. Stanley Coren, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia, has done groundbreaking research on dog intelligence. According to Coren, canine intellect has three aspects; instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence, and working and obedience intelligence.

When it comes to instinctual intelligence, German Shepherds were bred as working dogs, specifically for herding sheep and protecting farms. That’s right! They’re more than just furry good-lookers. The shepherd still retains these geeky genes today and can learn tasks related to its original job, like herding your kids into the minivan!

The adaptive intelligence is where this breed truly shines. Remember Toby, the lifesaver dog from New Zealand? That was pure adaptive intelligence. From figuring out puzzles to learning from experiences, your German Shepherd buddy might give you a run for your money!

However, where the German Shepherd steals the show is in ‘Obedience and Working Intelligence.’ These dogs can learn a new command in less than five repetitions and follow a known command when first asked more than 95% of the time. This is what makes German Shepherds the preferred breed for police, military, and search-and-rescue work, and even for starring in movies.

Despite the intimidating facade of German Shepherds during tasks, they are one of the most trainable breeds, even for first-time owners. Their eagerness to please, paired with their intelligence, makes them extremely responsive to positive reinforcement like a treat, praise, or a good old belly rub. They can be taught elaborate tasks and follow them to the letter.

Let’s hear about another phenomenal German Shepherd. A service dog, Orient, was trained to help Bill Irwin, a blind man, to be the first to hike the 2100 mile Appalachian trail. Orient led the way, navigating not only the walks but also simple things like finding Bill a seat in a crowded restaurant!

Does this prove they are smart? Absolutely. Does this make them suitable for everyone? Unfortunately, it doesn’t. German Shepherds, with their high intelligence, need constant mental and physical stimulation. Without it, they might just figure out how to open all your locks or bring you shoes from all over the house! So, anyone with this breed of dog needs to keep them well-engaged and well-exercised.

Bringing it all together, German Shepherds are high on the canine IQ chart. From their herding days in Germany to the heroic feats in modern times, they’ve been serving humans with aplomb. So next time you observe these majestic beings sniffing out drugs, leading the blind, or just lazing around the house prepared for immediate action, know that you’re looking at one of the smartest breeds in the world!”