This is a picture of Rupert taken about four days after we found him. Such a sweet face and personality, how could I say no?! He continued on with cuteness from there…
This puppy charm that he exudes has helped me to overlook a few short comings of his, mainly his shoe habit (only my shoes!) and his affinity for shredding nursing school applications. At only 6 months old, I have big dreams for this dog. He already does well off leash and he seems to enjoy running, which is great because I hope one day he will be my running partner. But my dreams don’t stop there, oh no! I have aspirations of using him as a therapy dog in hospitals, doing some agility training with him, and distant dreams of the 2016 Olympics in Rio (all contingent on our track and field training, of course). The possibilities are endless!!
Or so I thought.
Then I read a really interesting blog post today over at The Hydrant Blog (awesome blog- you should all follow it!). The blog post details the ideas and methodology of Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, and author of the book The Intelligence of Dogs. Coren has come up with a ranking system of the most intelligent dog breeds, which I eagerly began scrolling through. I mean, hounds are known to be smart so Rupert should be ranked fairly well, right?
Wrong. So wrong.
Black and Tan Coonhounds (part of Rupert’s mix) tied for #44 in the rankings, falling into the Average Working/ Obedience Intelligence category. This means they understand new commands after 25-40 repetitions and obey a first command about 50% of the time. Not terrible, I can still work with that, although I’m not wild about my baby falling into any category that starts with the word “average”. Now to find the rest of his breeding on the list….
I wish I had stopped at the Black and Tan ranking.
Beagles (the other part of Rupert’s mix) are ranked #73 on the list and fall into the Lowest Degree of Working/Obedience Intelligence category. The lowest? Seriously? This means they understand new commands after 80-100 repetitions and obey a first command about 25% of the time or less. This is bad!
Granted, Coren does explain that his rankings are weighted towards obedience behavior (working dogs) as opposed to creativity and problem solving (hunting dogs), which are more “houndy” traits. I know Rupert has the problem solving gene, as he manages to extract my shoes from the most intricate hiding places, so I’m hopeful that the outlook isn’t as bleak as it currently seems. And on the plus side, Coren doesn’t say that lower ranked breeds can’t be trained, it just takes more time (80-100 repetitions….?!). I guess Rupert and I better get started. We’ll be ready for those agility trials in 2020.
Where does your dog fall on this list? Wander over to the Hydrant and check out the blog post and full ranking list. Is your dog lower or higher than you expected?