What is the Smartest Dog? Dognition Aims to let You Know


smartest dogI always knew my dog was smart, but now it seems I can finally prove it, thanks to Dognition. Dognition is an online web application that is anything but “just another app.” With a who’s who in the animal/canine world at the helm (including professors at Duke, Harvard, Yale and more), this web-based dog-cognitive assessment aims to pinpoint the exact intelligences our dogs possess. This is no “sit and stay” demonstration, mind you. Once you go through the exercises provided by Dognition, you’ll be able to profile your dog, like teachers profile students, into one of nine areas:

  1. ACE – great problem solver and communicator
  2. CHARMER – the dog who knows how to get what he wants
  3. SOCIALITE – a dog who knows how to impress in social settings
  4. EXPERT – the dog with the skills to solve problems alone, but the desire to be part of a team
  5. RENAISSANCE – the potpourri of doggie skills … a little bit of everything
  6. PROTODOG – with glimpses of the dog back when he began his relationship with man
  7. EINSTEIN – a superbly smart dog with uncanny intelligence
  8. MAVERICK – with traces of the independent wolf he once was years ago
  9. STARGAZER – outwardly appears to be off in the distance, but there’s more there than you know


The goal of Dognition is to have dog owners world-round provide data on their pet’s behaviors and abilities. This data could help shape our understanding of what dogs (of all breeds) can and can’t do. Is there really a smartest dog breed? Are German Shepherds more keen toward following commands? Are retrievers really best at playing fetch? This data-gathering tool could answer all this. But, Dognition also aims to help you, the average dog owner, better understand what’s really going on behind those puppy dog eyes.

Unlike apps you download on your iPhones, this app isn’t free, nor all that cheap. At $59.95 for the assessment toolkit (ironically called CAT for Canine Assessment Toolkit), this is an investment for dog owners. However, it is also likely to be a lot more effective. Once you complete all the exercises in the application (several times for accuracy) you’re provided a full-detailed report about your dog’s cognition. A sample report is available on Dognition’s site.

What is cognition?

So back to my really smart dog. Man, is he smart. But what does that mean? How can we define smart? Does he ace math tests? Can he solve complex riddles? What Dognition does to assess a dog’s overall cognitive profile is to break down canine cognitive dimensions into four parts:

  • Memory
  • Empathy
  • Cunning
  • Reasoning
  • Communication


Some or all of these areas are what your dog relies on to get through life. Which areas he excels in, or leans more often toward, defines his cognitive strengths, and can help you, the dog owner, provide him the most rewarding life possible.

Citizen Science

If you decide to take part in this dog-cognitive exercise, the data you provide Dognition is recorded by them for use in a bigger-picture project. The goal is to better understand dogs and the way they live in our, and their world. The folks at Dognition believe that by allowing people, rather than scientists, gather and submit data, this goal will be more quickly realized.

If you’d like to know more about Dognition, go to their website, where you can also check out a video example of one of the exercises used.

dognition frenchie


Comments are closed.