1. Joined
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    05 Aug '09 14:56
    Question: Is a big dog more intelligent than a smaller dog?
    Is a grand dane cleverer than a chiwawa?
  2. Joined
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    05 Aug '09 16:08
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    Question: Is a big dog more intelligent than a smaller dog?
    Is a grand dane cleverer than a chiwawa?
    I am skeptical that it's all that dependent on body size. Are the brains that much bigger on bigger dogs?

    Is the difference in size big enough to be relevant?
  3. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
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    06 Aug '09 00:13
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    I am skeptical that it's all that dependent on body size. Are the brains that much bigger on bigger dogs?

    Is the difference in size big enough to be relevant?
    Also, you need to compare brain to body mass ratio's. Any creature with a brain has to use some of it to maintain the body functions so more mass means you have to have a bigger brain to control it all. It's what's leftover for higher functions after that has been factored out that counts.
  4. Cape Town
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    06 Aug '09 07:55
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Also, you need to compare brain to body mass ratio's. Any creature with a brain has to use some of it to maintain the body functions so more mass means you have to have a bigger brain to control it all. It's what's leftover for higher functions after that has been factored out that counts.
    I was not aware of that. Surely large dogs have exactly the same number of muscles as small ones. Do large muscles have more nerves and need more brain space to control?
  5. Cape Town
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    06 Aug '09 07:59
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    Question: Is a big dog more intelligent than a smaller dog?
    Is a grand dane cleverer than a chiwawa?
    That is a very interesting question. When we talk about animals evolving larger forms we always focus on the advantages/disadvantages of body size, I have never heard mention of what impact it has on the brain and intelligence. Many large animals though seem to have relatively small brains. That may be true for dogs to some extent.
    The hardest issue though is how you measure intelligence.
  6. Standard memberkaroly aczel
    the Devil himself
    Brisbane,QLD
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    06 Aug '09 10:221 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    That is a very interesting question. When we talk about animals evolving larger forms we always focus on the advantages/disadvantages of body size, I have never heard mention of what impact it has on the brain and intelligence. Many large animals though seem to have relatively small brains. That may be true for dogs to some extent.
    The hardest issue though is how you measure intelligence.
    So how do you measure intelligence? Is an IQ test relavent?
  7. Cape Town
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    06 Aug '09 13:14
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    So how do you measure intelligence? Is an IQ test relavent?
    I would imagine that different breeds of dogs are good at different things (such as smell for tracking, hunting, herding, fetching, etc). How these all relate to intelligence, I am not sure. For example if a sheep dog knows how to heard sheep and what its masters various signals are, does that make it more intelligent than a dog that cant?

    I am convinced that goats are generally way more intelligent than sheep even though they are approximately the same size.
  8. Joined
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    06 Aug '09 17:192 edits
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    So how do you measure intelligence? Is an IQ test relavent?
    You need to set up problems that require the animal to come up with a novel solution.

    As an example -- I used to have a cat and a dog (boston terrier). It was funny watching them deal with a slightly open door. The cat soon figured out that he needed to use his paw to nudge the door open further so that he could get in. But the dog would always just leap at the door and slam it shut - every time.

    The cat also figured out how to open this cabinet door under the sink - he'd use the (small) door-knob to open the door and go in there (probably looking for mice or something). One time someone saw the open door and shut it. After his meowing was evidently not heard, he figured out that he could hang onto a pipe with his front legs and use his hind legs to kick open the door.

    So it was clear that the cat was a lot more intelligent than the dog. You could make up a bunch of tests similar to my examples and rank them in order of difficulty.
  9. Joined
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    07 Aug '09 05:56
    A good idea, but you also have to actually get the animal to perform the test. With some animals that can be harder than others.

    Also sample size becomes a problem. Just because a particular toy poodle is smarter than a particular St. Bernard, I don't think you can universalize that.
  10. Germany
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    07 Aug '09 10:44
    Brain size and intelligence are only very roughly related, for example many birds are very clever.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8181233.stm
  11. Joined
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    11 Aug '09 07:21
    Thank you all for good answers.

    Big animals big brains, small animals small brains. But brain size has per se nothing to do with intelligence. It's the brain-size/body-size ratio that is important if an animal is more intelligent than another. So says the theory.

    If we stick to dogs, because they are all the same species.
    Is it true that big dogs has bigger brains than small dogs? I don't know. Seems reasonable, but I don't really know. However, the difference in intelligence doesn't seem to be big though. The question is however, why does a bigger body need a bigger brain? Same amount of bodily functions, same amount of muscles, same amount of everything. If a twice-as-big dog needs a twice-as-many legs (and everything else), perhaps, but this is not the case. So why bigger brains? The answer must be found in the evolution process, I believe, but how...?
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