Is Saluki the smartest dog?

Did you know that Salukis, also known as the Royal Dog of Egypt, are thought to be one of the oldest dog breeds in the world? Ancient Egyptian pharaohs, no less than the likes of Cleopatra, owned them for their speed, intelligence, and elegance. While Pharaohs may not be around today, their beloved dogs are, and they’re just as regal and impressive.

But is the Saluki the smartest dog breed? Let’s delve into that further in this comprehensive guide to the Saluki. Along with understanding their intelligence, we’ll also explore their history, character traits, behaviors, and more. Reading about Salukis is almost as fascinating as owning one!

To understand the Saluki’s intelligence, we must first define what we mean by ‘intelligence’ in dogs. Dr. Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Canada, and a recognized expert on dog-human interaction, identified three types of canine intelligence. These include Instinctive Intelligence (an ability to perform tasks it was bred to do like herding, pointing, fetching, guarding, etc.), Adaptive Intelligence (the ability to solve problems, understand language and commands), and Working/Obedience Intelligence (the ability to learn from humans).

So where does the Saluki stand when it comes to these types of intelligences? The answer might surprise you.

The Saluki does not rank exceedingly high in the Working/Obedience Intelligence category, typically seen as a measure of ‘smartness’ in dogs. According to Coren’s rankings in his book, “The Intelligence of Dogs,” Salukis rank 79th out of 138 breeds. But before you jump to any conclusions, let’s keep in mind that this doesn’t at all imply that the breed is not smart. In fact, it tells us more about the Saluki’s independent nature.

Remember those pharaohs we talked about? Salukis were bred to hunt gazelles and other fast animals in harsh desert environments. They had to think on their feet and make decisions independently, without any human guidance. This explains their free-spirited and independent nature that persists till today, sometimes misinterpreted as a lack of obedience or intelligence.

In terms of Instinctive Intelligence, Salukis score magnificently. These dogs are incredibly adept when it comes to chasing and hunting, so much so, they are often referred to as ‘sight hounds.’ They can spot a small movement hundreds of yards away, and their elongated bodies provide them with an impressive visual field.

As for Adaptive Intelligence, Salukis are known for their problem-solving abilities and comprehension of language and commands, ranking them remarkably high. Not convinced? Try hiding a treat in one of your sweatshirt pockets. Your Saluki may not only sniff it out but nudge or paw at the pocket to let you know they’ve figured out the hiding place for the treat!

So, is the Saluki the smartest dog breed? It depends on how you define smart. If it’s about instincts and problem-solving skills, Salukis could be the Socrates of the dog world. If it’s about obedience at all costs, well, Salukis may have a different opinion.

Be that as it may, the Saluki is indeed an exceptional dog breed. If you’re privileged to become their human, remember, the key to a successful relationship is understanding. Their ancient lineage, their natural hunting instincts, and their independent spirit call for a handling and training approach that respects these traits.

So remember, a Saluki might not always give the paw on command, but trust us when we say they’re smart enough to know they don’t have to. They’re agile, they’re clever, they’re survivors, and most certainly, they’re one of the smartest dog breeds out there!