Is the English Springer Spaniel the smartest dog?

When we think of smart dogs, breeds like border collies, poodles, and labradors may jump to the front of our minds. However, there’s another breed that might just surprise you with its intelligence – the English Springer Spaniel.

There are many ways to define a dog’s intelligence. Dr. Stanley Coren, a renowned canine psychologist, breaks down canine intelligence into three primary categories: instinctive intelligence (what a dog is bred to do), adaptive intelligence (a dog’s ability to solve problems), and working or obedience intelligence (a dog’s ability to learn from humans).

The English Springer Spaniel astonishingly excels in all of these categories.

Unlike other breeds known for their prowess in one specific area, English Springer Spaniels have diverse abilities that prove their intelligence across all dimensions. Bred as gundogs, their instinctive intelligence makes them natural hunters. They have an incredible sense of smell, and their tracking and retrieving abilities are top-notch.

Perhaps less known is that this breed also possesses strong adaptive intelligence. They are bred to work independently in the field, which means they have a knack for problem-solving. If an English Springer Spaniel encounters an obstacle, be it a thorny hedge or a fence, they can often find a way over, under, or around it. They have been known to solve complex tasks that baffle other breeds.

Then there’s the working or obedience intelligence. It’s the most noticeable type of dog intelligence because it relates to a dog’s ability to learn from human commands. English Springer Spaniels are known for being eager to please, which makes them extremely trainable. They will always be there with a wagging tail and eager eyes, ready to learn tricks and commands from their owners.

So we know that the English Springer Spaniel is intelligent, but how does it compare to other breeds?

Coren’s extensive research in his book ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’ ranked the English Springer Spaniel as the 13th most intelligent dog breed out of the 138 breeds studied. Above them are the standard breeds we always think of as smart like poodles, border collies, and German shepherds.

However, it’s important to remember that intelligence can greatly vary even within a breed, and the specific ranking doesn’t tell the whole story. A dog’s intelligence isn’t solely defined by its breed, but also by individual personality, experiences, and the training it receives.

More important than a dog’s overall intelligence is its compatibility with you and your lifestyle. It’s important to match a dog’s traits with what you’re looking for in a canine companion.

And speaking of traits, the English Springer Spaniel goes beyond intelligence. They are known for their dedication, loyalty, and their loving nature. They are excellent family dogs who enjoy being active and spending time with their human family members. They have a high energy level and a big heart, which can lead to great adventures and fond memories.

Training an intelligent breed like the English Springer Spaniel can be challenging yet rewarding. These dogs thrive on mental stimulation, so the secret is to keep the training fun and varied. Incorporate play into your training routines and consistently challenge them with new commands or tricks.

A well-trained English Springer Spaniel can truly be a joy to have around. They will impress with their agility, surprize with their problem-solving skills, and delight with their charming demeanor.

So, is the English Springer Spaniel the smartest dog breed? General consensus says probably not, but they do rank high in all areas of intelligence and can certainly give those brainy border collies a run for their money.

If you’re looking for a smart, trainable, and eager-to-please breed, consider the English Springer Spaniel. Besides, while they might not be the smartest in academics, they certainly excel in winning hearts – which, in many ways, is a far superior measure in the grand scheme of doggie intelligence!