Is St. Bernard the smartest dog?

Did you know that St. Bernards were originally bred for a highly specialized kind of work? These dogs used to be trusted partners to the monks living high in the Swiss Alps, whose job it was to either locate or clear paths for stranded or lost travelers in the snowy mountain passes. St. Bernards were meticulously trained to sniff out and discover people buried underneath avalanches, as well as to provide warmth and companionship to stranded travelers as they awaited rescue.

St. Bernards, with their massive size and barrel-shaped bodies, have a commanding presence that can’t be ignored. But more than their physical attributes, it is their intelligence and the capacity to learn quickly that have endeared these dogs to people all over the globe.

Does this then make them the smartest dogs? Let’s explore that fascinating question!

The Intelligence of St. Bernards

Many believe that a dog’s intelligence is measured by how quickly a dog can learn new commands. While St. Bernards may not top charts in learning commands within five repetitions (like Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds do), it does not mean they are any less intelligent.

St. Bernards exhibit a different kind of intelligence called “working intelligence.” This form of intelligence is demonstrated in their capacity to perform their designated tasks, such as finding and rescuing lost travelers in the mountains. In fact, the most famous St. Bernard, Barry, reportedly saved upwards of 40 people’s lives during his career with the monks!

Working intelligence requires a dog to function independently, think on its feet, and make critical decisions without human intervention. And St. Bernards, with their history of crucial rescue work, demonstrate this type of intelligence in spades!

Adaptable and Quick Learners

Another factor making St Bernards smart is their adaptability. They can quickly fit into different families and situations. The St. Bernard possesses a friendly and gentle temperament, which makes them fantastic family pets. They are known to be protective of their families, especially children, and can seamlessly blend into a family’s dynamic. Moreover, their natural tendency to stay calm helps them quickly adapt to new environments, underlining their practical intelligence.

Their Sherlock-level detecting skills

Ever wondered how a St. Bernard would know where to find people lost or buried in the snow? It’s due to their exceptional sense of smell, nearly 100,000 times stronger than humans. Not only can they distinguish between a wide variety of scents, but they can actually remember those smells and relate it to an event or person. It is this exemplary olfactory memory integrated with their interpretive skills that further emphasize the intelligence of St. Bernards.

Contrary to popular belief, the real key to a dog’s intelligence is not how many tricks he can do. Having your dog fetch your slippers is impressive, but being able to save human lives is in a whole different league.

Training your St. Bernard

St. Bernards, like any dogs, requires consistent and patient training. Due to their size, they can pose certain challenges. But with their calm demeanor and eagerness to please, they respond well to positive reinforcement, rewards-based training.

Make sure to socialize your St. Bernard while they’re still a puppy. This will help them become comfortable around different kinds of people, situations, and environments, and intelligently navigate social scenarios in the future.

Even though St. Bernards are smart, they can be a bit stubborn. So, it’s important to employ patience and creativity in training methodologies. And remember, these dogs were bred for rescue and not for agility or obedience tasks. Keep this in mind while establishing expectations from your St. Bernard.

Are St. Bernards the Smartest Dogs?

The answer to this may be subjective. The smartest dog for a person may depend on what exactly one is looking for. If you’re seeking a dog breed that excels in obedience and agility, then the Border Collie, Poodle, or German Shepherd might be your top picks. But if you’re more interested in dogs that are gentle giants, exceptional in stress-filled situations, and could potentially save lives, then a St. Bernard may be the epitome of intelligence for you.

St. Bernards may not be the smartest dogs in the traditional sense. Still, their working intelligence, their incredible sense of smell, their adaptability, and their ability to bond with families makes them one of the most wonderful, loving, and intelligent of canines. This exceptional breed has proven its worth not by performing tricks, but by its unfailing loyalty, reliability, and undisputed courage in the face of danger. Despite the varying opinions on the intelligence ranking of different dog breeds, one thing is certain – every dog breed is unique and intelligent in its ways, and that includes our heroic St. Bernards.