Is Bedlington Terrier the smartest dog?

If you frequently compare notes with fellow dog owners about intelligence, there’s a robust chance you haven’t considered the Bedlington Terrier. This breed, known more commonly among canine circles for its unique sheep-like appearance than its shrewd intellect, has been outsmarting owners and turning heads for centuries.

Bedlington Terriers, despite their unconventional exterior and hidden smarts, remain relatively unheard of, even among individual pet parents. Not your regular lap dogs, and certainly far from average when it comes to intelligence, this special breed makes for interesting pets that confidently carve a niche for themselves in the hearts of their owners.

From the 20th rank in Einstein’s Dog List to Terrier Group rankings, the Bedlington Terrier’s adorable ‘sheep meets spring-loaded kangaroo’ demeanor belies a high intellect which is a proven fact. They’re quick learners, incredibly agile, good problem solvers, and show a level of determination that puts other breeds to shame.

And here lies the first mystery we encounter in our discussion today. Although Bedlingtons are ranked 20th in Stanley Coren’s “The Intelligence of Dogs,” they are generally not named among the very crème de la crème of canine proficients such as Border Collies, Poodles, or German Shepherds.

Many Bedlington Terrier owners can vouch for this intelligence gap. Ask anyone who shares a hearth and home with one of these bounding bundles of fur, and they’ll tell you how quick their Bedlington is to pick up new commands, how deftly they problem-solve, and even how slyly they manipulate situations to their advantage.

If you’ve ever felt that your jaw was dropping a little too frequently while watching your dog showcase its antics, or you were constantly getting outwitted, it is very likely that you own a Bedlington Terrier. Known for their ability to strategize play moves and ensure that they emerge victorious, their highly competitive streak is backed by a remarkable brainpower that often leaves pet caretakers astounded.

It’s not just the loyal Bedlington Terrier owner who sings the praises of these alert, intelligent creatures. Professional dog trainers and behaviorists also weigh in. Important to note here that intelligence in dogs is not solely identified by their ability to learn new tricks. Problem-solving skills, adaptability, comprehension, and emotional intelligence also play crucial roles, and Bedlington Terrier scores high in all these areas.

They’re able to comprehend and act on complex commands and are adept at reading human body language – a sign of high emotional intelligence. A renowned characteristic of the Bedlington Terrier is its knack for “terrier tenacity.” This grit and determination stem from an ability to strategize and understand consequences – another testament to their intelligence.

So, if Bedlington Terriers clearly display such high intellect and cunning, why aren’t they typically listed with the usual top dog geniuses?

As we delve deeper into this enigma, let’s consider this – intelligence in dogs, much like humans, varies greatly not just from breed to breed, but from individual to individual. Furthermore, it cannot simply be determined by a dog’s capacity to learn commands rapidly.

If we were to measure intelligence solely by trainability, one might argue that the famously stubborn and independent-minded breeds like the Afghan Hound, usually found lurking at the bottom of dog IQ lists, would brig labelled ‘unintelligent.’ But any Afghan Hound owner can tell you about the sly cunning and shrewd genius of their pets. They know very well what is asked of them, they simply choose when they want to respond. This is more about personality than about intelligence.

Bedlington Terriers are similar. Their strong personality, keen hunting instincts, and independent streak can sometimes be mistaken for stubbornness or lack of intelligence. They are highly trainable but like to do things on their terms. This doesn’t mean they are less intelligent, just uniquely independent.

The debate about the ‘smartest’ dog breed will continue, but one thing’s for sure, Bedlington Terriers are way smarter than they are given credit for. They are versatile, adaptable, and—judging by their ability to wrap their owners around their little paws—have an exceptional understanding of human behavior.

The conclusion? Definitely don’t underestimate a Bedlington Terrier. These stylish-looking four-legged geniuses may not conform to conventional paradigms of canine intelligence, but once they’ve chosen you as their favourite human, you’ll find your life enriched in more ways than you can imagine. From their distinctive aesthetic to their boundless brains, smart is definitely an adjective you should consider when you describe a Bedlington Terrier.