Is Pointer the smartest dog?

Have you ever seen a dog retrieve a game bird in a field with such precision, it’s like watching a dancer glide across the stage? Or perhaps your neighbor’s dog who always seems to figure out when the mailman is coming, before he even turns onto your street? There is a good chance you are looking at a Pointer, renowned as one of the smartest breeds around. These dogs, with their penetrating gaze, athletic build, and remarkable intuition, have an impressive combination of intelligence and instinct that might just outshine the other breeds.

So, let’s delve deeper into the question at hand: Is the Pointer the smartest dog?

First things first though, what does ‘smart’ mean when it comes to our four-legged friends? One might say it’s how quickly a dog can learn and follow commands, while others may say it’s their ability to think for themselves and solve problems independently.

Dr. Stanley Coren, a renowned canine psychologist, categorizes dog intelligence into three types: Instinctive intelligence which refers to a dog’s ability to perform the tasks it was bred for, such as herding, retrieving, or guarding. Adaptive intelligence which means the ability to independently problem-solve and learn from previous experiences. And finally, the Working and Obedience intelligence which is essentially the capability to learn from humans.

If we take this into account, we might be able to gauge the Pointer’s smarts more effectively. But before we do that, let’s learn a bit more about this captivating canine.

Pointers, dubbed the “Cadillac of bird dogs,” have been around for centuries, dating back to the 17th century in England, where they were bred to locate game for hunters. Their name straightforwardly points (pun intended) to their unique ability to “point” their whole body towards the game once they locate it, helping hunters find their prey with unprecedented ease.

This trait alone exhibits their superb Instinctive intelligence. By sheer instinct and breeding, Pointers will freeze and point their nose towards a game bird, standing completely still until the hunter gives a command. You might not believe it, but a Pointer can do this without any formal training – it’s in their DNA.

As for Adaptive intelligence, Pointers are highly perceptive and can quickly adapt to various scenarios. If they’ve rummaged through your garbage once and got scolded, chances are, they will not repeat it. They are good at linking actions to repercussions, learning from past behaviors.

And when it comes to Working and Obedience intelligence, Pointers are no slouches. They rank 37th out of 138 breeds, according to Dr. Coren’s rankings in his book The Intelligence of Dogs. This means they’re very trainable and can follow a new command with just 15-25 repetitions. Moreover, they are known to obey a known command at least 70% of the time on the first attempt.

While these intelligence metrics demonstrate Pointers as worthy contenders for the coveted ‘smartest dog’ title, it doesn’t stop there. Pointers are also known for their remarkable athleticism and stamina. They make excellent field competition dogs, owing to their agility, speed, and concentration.

Yet, despite their intelligence and athleticism, Pointers are friendly, balanced, and good-natured, making them excellent family pets as long as they get enough physical and mental stimulation.

However, if you’re planning to welcome a Pointer into your home, remember this piece of advice: Pointers need lots of exercise. Their intelligence combined with their natural hunting instincts and boundless energy means they need space to roam or a regular outlet for their energy. If they are bored, they might turn to destructive behaviors like chewing or digging.

In conclusion, the assertion of a ‘smartest’ dog breed can be subjective, depending on how one defines intelligence. However, if we base it on Dr. Stanley Coren’s three kinds of intelligence– instinctive, adaptive, and obedience, we can certainly say that Pointers make a strong case for themselves.

So, is the Pointer, indeed, the smartest dog? Well, we’ll let you be the judge. But one thing’s for certain, not only is this breed intelligent, athletic and sociable, it has the innate ability to surprise, intrigue, and make us fall in love with it over and over again. And that is perhaps the smartest trait of all.