A new IQ test for dogs may shed light into how human intelligence and health are linked.
Researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the University of Edinburgh have created an intelligence test to determine how well dogs perform several cognitive tasks.
For the study, which was published in Intelligence journal, 68 Borders Collies were put through the series of problem-solving tests, including navigating to food behind barriers, determining the largest portion of food out of two options, and following human cues.
Researchers found that the dogs who performed the test the fastest also completed it most accurately, and the dogs who performed well on the food barrier portion performed well in the next segment, too.
The dogs chosen for the study were farm dogs, not accustomed to treats and games as a pet dog may be.
Identifying which dogs were head of the class isn’t just an ego boost for the owners. Researchers believe the results of this study can provide valuable information about the link between intelligence and health in humans because dogs’ intelligence is proven to be structurally similar to ours.
“This is significant because in humans there is a small but measurable tendency for people who are brighter to be healthier and live longer. … studying a species that doesn’t smoke, drink, use recreational drugs and does not have large differences in education and income, may help us understand this link between intelligence and health better,” said Dr. Rosalind Arden.
"Dogs are one of the few animals that reproduce many of the key features of dementia, so understanding their cognitive abilities could be valuable in helping us to understand the causes this disorder in humans and possibly test treatments for it."
The American Kennel Club recently compiled a list of 10 intelligent dog breeds, using how well a dog performs a certain task they're bred to do as a baseline. This study demonstrated how dogs of the same breed can demonstrate different levels of intelligence while performing cognitive tasks.