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Are Dachshunds Smart Compared to Other Dog Breeds? Facts & FAQ

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By Misty Layne

dachshund nesting

If you have a Dachshund, you know how spunky and friendly these little pups are and what wonderful pets they make. Dachshunds can be whip-smart, as well. But are Dachshunds smart compared to other dog breeds?

According to dog intelligence tests, Dachshunds are only of average intelligence when it comes to dog breeds. In fact, in the Stanley Coren dog intelligence study, they came in at #491, along with the Staffordshire bull terrier and Shiba Inu. Just because your Dachshund has average smarts doesn’t mean it doesn’t have specific areas where it shines, though.

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How Is Dog Intelligence Measured?

Back in the 1990s, Stanley Coren put together a study to measure how intelligent dog breeds are1. He took a survey of 199 dog obedience judges and queried how certain breeds met these criteria:

  • How many times a new command has to be repeated before a dog breed learns it
  • How fast a dog responded and obeyed a command it was familiar with on the first try

But how do those criteria measure a dog’s intelligence, and what exactly are they measuring? These two criteria measure obedience intelligence and working intelligence. The dog breeds that learn new commands with fewer repetitions are smarter than those that take longer to understand them. Plus, the quicker a dog breed responds to a command they know, the more intelligent they are.

black and tan dachshund dog sitting on a ramp
Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock

How Dachshunds Measure Up

As we said, the Dachshund came in at #49 in this intelligence study, placing it squarely in the “average dog intelligence” area. Specifically, Dachshunds came in on the fourth tier of dog intelligence, meaning that these pups are of average intelligence and learn new commands after they have been repeated to them 25–40 times. This breed also only obeys commands they know 50% of the time (not surprising knowing the Dachshunds’ stubbornness!).

In contrast, the top ten dogs in this intelligence study were able to learn new commands after hearing them five times and obeyed commands right away about 95% of the time. The breeds in this top tier include the Border Collie, Poodle, Golden Retriever, and Labrador Retriever.

Though Dachshunds ranked in the middle of this intelligence rating, it doesn’t mean your dog isn’t intelligent. Since part of these tests were based on obedience and Dachshunds have a tendency to be stubborn, that could affect how well the breed did.

Are There Other Areas of Intelligence That Can Be Measured?

There are! According to Coren, other than working and obedience intelligence, the following aspects can be measured:

  • Adaptive intelligence
  • Instinctive intelligence
  • Interpersonal intelligence
  • Spatial intelligence

Out of these, adaptive and instinctive intelligence can also be measured to determine the smarts of a dog breed.

1. Adaptive Intelligence

Adaptive intelligence simply means a dog’s ability to learn and figure out things for itself. An excellent example of adaptive intelligence would be how fast your pup is capable of figuring out a puzzle toy or how quickly it can solve a problem, such as how to get around something blocking its path. And when it comes to the Dachshund, their owners agree the breed does well in this department. Dachshunds are capable of understanding lots of words, so they can put together what you mean when you say something. Owners have also commented how their Dachshunds were adept at figuring out that certain items came with consequent actions (such as how handing a remote to their owner means the television will come on).

2. Instinctive Intelligence

This type of intelligence refers to the job the dog was bred for. Dachshunds were originally bred to hunt badgers and other animals that burrow into the ground, so they have the natural instinct to dig around on the ground. These pups are also capable of tracking down prey. And Dachshunds may be companion dogs today, but that instinctive intelligence is still there. That’s why investing in some good digging puzzle toys for your dog is an excellent idea, so they can let those instincts out!

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How Can I Test My Dachshund’s Intelligence?

You can test your pup’s smarts at home with a doggy IQ test! You’ll simply set up some tasks for your dog to complete, then see how quickly it accomplishes them. You’ll need to keep score with the test’s scoring system so you can figure out how well your Dachshund does, but by the end of the IQ test, you should have a fairly good idea of your pet’s abilities!

happy dachshund dog playing_otsphoto_shutterstock
Image By: otsphoto, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Though Dachshunds are only of average intelligence according to Stanley Coren’s study, anecdotal evidence from pet parents tells us that the breed does well in the areas of instinctive and adaptive intelligence. There’s also a possibility that Dachshunds didn’t score higher on the Coren study because part of it consisted of testing obedience intelligence, and this breed can be quite stubborn at obeying at times.

If you want to find out just how clever your Dachshund is, you can give it a doggy IQ test at home. You’ll simply need to time your pet doing certain tasks and keep score to figure out how smart they are. Wherever you determine your dog is at when it comes to intelligence, they’ll still be your favorite furry pal!

Featured Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock

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