Are Golden Retrievers Smart Or Is Their Intelligence All Hype

Are Golden Retriever’s Intelligence All Hype?

The most common question I get asked is “are golden retrievers smart?”

Some people think they are just because they have heard so many stories about them being intelligent. However, there is no proof that these dogs are smarter than other breeds or even humans. They may be more intelligent than some other pets but not necessarily all breeds. There are several reasons why people believe that these dogs are smarter than others.

People tend to look at breed names and assume that the breed must be smarter than another breed based on those name alone. People often don’t realize that there is much more to it than what their breeder told them. For example, some people will say that Labrador Retrievers are smarter then Golden Retrievers simply because Labradors have a long history of obedience training whereas Golden Retrievers do not.

That doesn’t mean that Labradors are smarter than Golden Retrievers. It means that Labradors have been bred to perform certain tasks better than Golden Retrievers.

Another reason why people believe that these dogs are smarter than others is due to the fact that they have been trained with positive reinforcement rather then negative punishment. This type of training tends to produce a dog who is obedient and happy which usually makes him/her more intelligent too.

Do you think these dogs are naturally smart?

The only way to know for sure is to give them a standardized test. One such test that is often used is the cognitive bias test. In this test, humans or animals are put into a situation where they have to learn something new. They are then rewarded for making the “right choice” and in time they will learn to make that choice faster when presented with a similar scenario. For example, a person may be presented with an image of an apple and a banana and then is asked to choose which one is the same as the image.

The choices (i.e. the apple and banana) are the same color as the one on the image.

In the case of a dog he may be presented with a choice between two containers, one with a smelly banana in it and one without. In this case, the dog will learn to associate the smell of bananas with the reward and will thus choose the container with the banana. It is believed that dogs who choose correctly faster have a better memory and are quicker learners than dogs who take longer to make their choices.

There are many other such tests that can be given to dogs in order to measure their problem-solving skills and intelligence. This is one of the reasons why some people will tell you that these dogs are smarter than others.

What do you think?

Do these dogs really have better memories and problem-solving skills than others or is this just an “Internet Myth” that has taken on a life of its own?

The truth is, nobody really knows for sure. It is possible that these dogs are smarter than others, but it is also possible that they aren’t. The reason why some of them seem to be smarter is because their owners lavish them with love and support while at the same time training them in obedience. These dogs then learn to associate this extra attention as a “reward” for being good. They learn that good behavior will make people happy and by keeping people happy, they will get even more rewards.

Will this make them more intelligent?

No, but it will give the owner a warm feeling knowing that his/her dog is extra special.

Do you think that these dogs are smart? Why do you think people who own these dogs tend to spoil them so much?

Let us know in the comments section.


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Sources & references used in this article:

IT (information technology) portfolio management step-by-step: Unlocking the business value of technology by MH Bonham – 2005 – Penguin

Practical VoIP Security by B Maizlish, R Handler – 2005 –

The conceptual ecology of digital humanities by C Thomas Porter, C CCNP – 2006 –