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Are Samoyeds Smarter Than Most Dogs?

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

Samoyed puppy hanging in a blue hammock

The Samoyed may not be an overly popular dog breed, but they have been increasing in popularity. If you’ve spent time around this friendly breed, it’s easy to see the appeal. They are intelligent and trainable dogs that show extreme loyalty and protective instincts toward their people. They are also friendly and social, making them wonderful dogs for many types of homes. Should you expect a Samoyed to be smarter than other dogs you’ve had previously, though?

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Are Samoyeds More Intelligent Than Other Dogs?

The Samoyed ranks number 44 out of 138 breeds tested for intelligence. So, they are extremely intelligent, beating around two-thirds of tested dog breeds but falling behind about a third of the tested breeds.1

However, they are considered to be above average in intelligence when it relates to obedience skills and working or having a job. They can work a variety of jobs, and this breed is very adaptable. The Samoyed was developed to serve as a herding, hunting, sled-pulling, protection, and companion dog, so this breed is capable of performing just about any job or task you throw at it.

samoyed dog at the beach
Image by: Sbolotova, Shutterstock

How Do We Know They’re So Smart?

In order to determine the rankings of dog breed intelligence, certain commands were given, and the dogs were monitored for how many times they needed to hear a new command to learn it, as well as how many times they needed to be given a known command to perform it. Samoyeds showed a great ability to not only learn new skills but to learn from their mistakes, learning from the feedback they were given when they didn’t perform the task or performed it incorrectly.

To put this testing into context, the Samoyed was able to learn a new command in about 15–25 repetitions of the skill. They also showed at least a 70% success rate in performing the known commands properly and on the first time the command was given, with some dogs exceeding this percentage. Their results in breed intelligence testing placed them squarely in the “above average” intelligence group, ranking them near Dalmatians, Giant Schnauzers, Bearded Collies, Yorkshire Terriers, and Newfoundlands.

How Do Samoyeds Stack Up?

So, we know that they ranked 44th in breed intelligence tests, but how did the top performers do? How do we know that they’re so significantly more intelligent than the Samoyed? The top performing breeds in these tests were able to learn a new command in about five repetitions, making them three to five times faster at learning new commands than the Samoyed. When it comes to performing known commands, the top-ranked pups performed at about a 95% success rate, with some dogs even exceeding this high success rate.

Silver-tipped samoyed
Image by: Zanna Pesnina,Shutterstock

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Although the Samoyed might not be one of the top dog breeds in intelligence, this is still considered to be an above-average breed. They show a strong ability to adapt to new settings and learn new skills, even showing the ability to learn from mistakes and avoid those same mistakes in the future. They are generally very obedient when it comes to known commands as well. This breed has a high level of instinctual intelligence, which helps them instinctually pick up on activities like herding and sled-pulling, but this is also a very adaptable breed, making them quick learners in a variety of settings.

Featured Image Credit: Nadezhda V. Kulagina, Shutterstock

Brooke Billingsley

Authored by

Brooke Billingsley spent nine years as a veterinary assistant before becoming a human nurse in 2013. She resides in Arkansas with her boyfriend of five years. She loves all animals and currently shares a home with three dogs, two cats, five fish, and two snails. She has a soft spot for special needs animals and has a three-legged senior dog and an internet famous cat with acromegaly and cerebellar hypoplasia. Fish keeping...Read more

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