You might wonder how any breed might come to be considered the dumbest among the hundreds currently in existence.
This question intrigued a group at the University of Helsinki, so in 2022, they conducted a survey using more than 2,300 dogs and at least 13 different species.
Each animal was tested according to a program developed to evaluate their problem-solving ability, social cognition, logical reasoning, human-directed gestures, greeting behavior, activity level behavior, inhibitory control, short-term memory, learning ability, and exploratory behavior.
What was explicitly excluded were any training they may have had, their background and life experiences, and the environment they grew up in.
This should have left just the dog’s natural intelligence to be evaluated by the abovementioned criteria.
The Border Collie was the most intelligent dog breed in the testing, while the Labrador Retriever scored lowest on the SMARTdog Test.
Of course, this should not be considered the definitive study on which dogs are the smartest, but the results correlate strongly with other assessments arrived at by other experts in the field.
For this article, we’ll follow the information provided by Dr. Stanley Cohen, who compiled his findings in a book entitled The Intelligence of Dogs, released in 1994.
Dr. Cohen considered the three most intelligent dog breeds the Border Collie, the Poodle, and the German Shepherd.
Some of the dog breeds he considered to be the least intelligent, according to the same criteria as above, are the breeds described below.
1. Bassett Hound
This dog has an extraordinary sense of smell and is considered second to the Bloodhound.
The Bassett Hound is a rather large, solid, and short dog whose bone density is unsurpassed in the canine world.
With short, powerful forelegs, it has massive paws featuring heavy bones, and while it stands no more than 14 inches tall, it can reach a weight of 75 pounds.
They make good household pets since they tend to be very friendly, affectionate, and tolerant of other household pets and small children.
Its long, droopy ears give it a somewhat comical but endearing look, and it has enjoyed many years of usage as a hunting dog in some populations.
Mastiffs are easily recognizable for their considerable size and wrinkled faces.
It is an ancient breed that once fought alongside soldiers and made noteworthy contributions.
This dog breed can weigh as much as 200 pounds, which is more significant than some humans, so it can be an imposing creature to meet on the battlefield.
Its history goes back to British royalty, Marco Polo, the great general Hannibal, and even the ancient Babylonians.
Most experts credit the British for developing the breed we currently recognize as the Mastiff, and it was used in that setting to protect the castles and dwellings of the nobility.
They are excellent work dogs because of their tremendous strength, towing equipment during World War II, and working on plantations in the American South.
Almost everyone has remarked about the broad, flat-looking face of the Pekingese breed, often in the context of “they’re so ugly that they’re cute!” This dog breed has hair sticking out everywhere and can seem like a ball of fur with eyes.
They are considered ideal companions in the household and are generally very affectionate and loving.
It can also be a reasonably practical guard dog since they bark continuously when strangers or intruders appear on the scene.
If you have a quiet neighborhood, your Pekingese might be the loudest noise in town.
Given their long hair, their coats must be brushed several times weekly, and they need regular exercise to stay happy and healthy.
The popularity of Bulldogs means that almost everyone recognizes the wrinkly face, the short, stocky body, and the dense folds of skin on the forehead.
Since they have short but sturdy legs, they have a waddle when moving forward, which can sometimes be comical.
However, they are friendly and loving, easy to train, and laid back compared to other breeds.
They have an amiable nature and will often become so attached to human masters that they are reluctant to go outside and leave them behind.
Their good-natured demeanor means they are not the best breed for use as guard dogs, even though their appearance may be initially imposing.
This small, pointy-eared dog typically has a smooth, shiny coat colored in some combination of black and a reddish tint.
They are good hunting dogs and are equally at home as household pets.
They are naturally curious animals and are both active and very athletic.
Oddly enough, these dogs don’t bark but emit sounds akin to howls, yodels, or screams.
They tend to form powerful bonds with masters and any children in the household.
Basenjis require a great deal of exercise, mainly if they’re not being used on the hunt, and if they don’t get this kind of attention, they will generally let their masters know they’re being neglected.
6. Afghan Hound
Your first impression on seeing an Afghan Hound would probably be that it’s a giant hairball with legs and a head.
Known for its long, flowing coat, this breed is capable of impressive athleticism.
Bred as a hunting dog in ancient times, it can hold its own when pursuing gazelles and even snow leopards.
Despite the hairy appearance, the Afghan Hound is considered an aristocrat of the canine world, called by many the ‘king of dogs.’
For all their speed and athleticism, they can be quite docile and mellow around the household, making them good candidates as family pets.
Their long coats of hair require regular brushing, but the hair does not shed much, so cleaning up discarded hair is unnecessary.
7. Chow Chow
The Chow Chow is an ancient breed originating in China, known for its distinctive lion-like appearance and aloof demeanor.
The breed is medium-sized and muscular, but the thick double coat—especially profuse around the neck—gives it its lion-like appearance.
The breed’s tongue is also unique, being a distinctive blue-black color.
Chow Chows are well-known for their severe and independent nature.
They tend to be reserved, even with their own families, and are often wary of strangers.
However, they are also very loyal and can form strong bonds with their families.
Although they’re not traditionally thought of as easy to train, Chow Chows are highly intelligent and can learn quickly when training is consistent and uses positive reinforcement methods.
Their aloofness and sometimes stubborn nature make early socialization and training particularly important.
Despite their tough exterior, Chow Chows require great care, particularly when grooming their thick coats and managing potential health issues like hip and elbow dysplasia.
The Borzoi, also known as the Russian Wolfhound, is a breed of domestic dog that originated in Russia.
They were bred for hundreds of years to hunt wolves, foxes, and hares in harsh climates, which is reflected in their elegant, slender bodies and their quick, agile movement.
Borzois are one of the giant dog breeds, with males standing as high as 28 inches at the shoulder and both sexes being noticeably long and slender.
These dogs are known for their calm and reserved demeanor.
Although they can be affectionate with their families, they are also very independent and may not seek out much interaction.
Borzois are intelligent, but their independence can sometimes be mistaken for aloofness or lack of interest.
They’re not generally known for being easy to train in traditional obedience or agility, as they were bred to make decisions independently while hunting.
Despite their size, Borzois do not have high energy levels compared to some breeds and will be happy with a couple of moderate walks each day and the opportunity to sprint in a safely enclosed area.
The Beagle is a small to medium-sized breed known for its keen sense of smell and friendly disposition.
Beagles are bred initially as scent hounds for tracking hares and other games and are compact, athletic, and hardy.
They are known for their distinctive vocalizations, including a characteristic howl.
One of the most recognizable traits of a Beagle is its excellent sense of smell, which can sometimes lead them astray if they catch an attractive scent.
Beagles are intelligent and generally good-natured, but their strong instinct to follow a scent can sometimes make them seem stubborn or distractible.
This instinct can also make them prone to wandering off if they’re not in a securely fenced area.
Beagles are pack animals, meaning they enjoy the company of other dogs and get along well with children and other pets.
They are known to be friendly, curious, and excellent with families.
They generally have a cheerful disposition and a tail almost always wagging.
They require regular exercise to keep them healthy and prevent them from becoming bored, which can lead to destructive behaviors.
Their short coat is relatively low-maintenance, but they do shed, so regular brushing can help keep shedding to a minimum.
Beagles are also known to be hearty eaters, so careful attention to diet and exercise is essential to prevent obesity.
The Bloodhound is a large breed known for its exceptional tracking abilities.
Originating from medieval France, they were bred for tracking deer and boar.
Still, today they are often used in search-and-rescue operations or in tracking down missing people because of their incredible sense of smell.
A Bloodhound’s scenting ability is so accurate that a trail can be admitted as evidence in a court of law.
Bloodhounds have a distinctive look with droopy eyes, long ears, and wrinkled skin. They are significant, with males standing as tall as 27 inches at the shoulder.
Despite their somber expression, Bloodhounds are friendly, patient, and good-natured, making them excellent companions.
They are also known for being very tolerant and gentle with children.
Bloodhounds are intelligent, but they can also be entirely independent and stubborn.
This, coupled with their powerful tracking instinct, can sometimes make them challenging to train.
Early socialization and consistent positive reinforcement training methods work best with this breed.
These dogs are active and need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy.
This can include long walks, but given their propensity for tracking, these walks should always be on a leash or in a securely fenced area to prevent them from following a scent and potentially getting lost.
Their short coat is relatively easy to care for, though they shed. Their long ears require regular cleaning to prevent infections.
Also, Bloodhounds are known for their tendency to drool and slobber.
Despite some of these challenges, Bloodhounds can make excellent pets for the right owner, particularly those who appreciate their unique abilities and traits.