Do you often sit and wonder, just how smart is my dog? Perhaps they mastered a trick very quickly or ran into the screen door again; whatever the reason, we may be wondering how smart our fur babies are is a pastime enjoyed by most.
Chihuahuas are popular dogs known for their sassy and bold nature. If there’s a dog barking in your local park, nine times out of ten, it’s a little Chihuahua! But how smart are chihuahuas?
Well, today we are going to find out! Whether you are a loving Chihuahua owner or considering making a Chihuahua your next pet, keep reading to find out how smart Chihuahuas are!
How is their intelligence measured?
Before we get into how smart chihuahuas are, let’s take a quick look at how canine intelligence is measured.
A few ways the intelligence of a dog can be measured, which we shall look at now.
A dog’s instincts are one of the essential factors in deciding its intelligence. Chihuahuas were initially bred as ratters, and therefore will have an instinct to guard.
Have you ever noticed your dog trying to defend you against a perceived threat? These days Chihuahuas are more commonly companion dogs than actively working, but that instinct to protect is still there.
Adaptive intelligence refers to the dog’s ability to learn for itself. This differs from breed to breed and dog to dog. For example, can your dog push a door open by itself, or does it sit there and bark until you open the door for them?
Think about what you have taught your dog and what they have picked up themselves when considering their adaptive intelligence levels.
Working and obedience:
Perhaps the most crucial factor to some owners, how well a dog learns to listen and follow instructions. Some of the basic commands we teach our dogs are sit, stay, and paw reflect our dog’s ability to listen to us.
We measure the working and obedience intelligence by how many repetitions it takes for your dog to react to a command. For example, how many times do you need to say ‘sit’ for your dog to respond and sit?
How smart are chihuahuas?
Now that we have looked into the different ways intelligence is measured, let’s get into it, how smart are chihuahuas?
Well, the answer is mixed; when it comes to working and obedience intelligence, Chihahs are below average. But they have very high levels of instinctive and adaptive intelligence! So the Chihuahua is smarter than you might have previously thought!
Overall, Chihuahua’s are classed as having “fair intelligence.” Alongside them in this category are Pugs, French Bulldog’s, and Maltese dogs.
It is worth noting that not every Chihuahua in existence has had their intelligence levels tested and that every dog is different. While one Chihuahua might have lower levels of obedience intelligence, another might respond to commands the first time.
Be sure to take these factors into account when viewing your own dog’s intelligence. It is also worth considering the temperament of your dog, its environment, and the temperament and intelligence of its parents, as these will all impact your dog’s intelligence levels.
Let’s take a look now at how the Chihuahua has earned itself a spot in the “fair intelligence” category.
When tested for obedience intelligence, it took Chihuahua’s 40-80 repetitions to learn a new command, and they were able to obey known commands up to 30% better than new ones.
Factors such as the person giving the command and their relationship with the dog can improve these statistics.
Generally, Chihuahuas are quite stubborn dogs, which does make teaching them new commands difficult. They are also incredibly strong-willed, which can make it tricky to get a Chihuahua to obey commands just for the sake of it. Most owners will agree that there needs to be an incentive, such as a treat to obey the command.
It is not just obedience that is important when measuring a dog’s intelligence. Chihuahuas excel in instinctive and adaptive intelligence.
When looking at these intelligence markers, we consider what the Chihuahua was bred for. While they were used as ratters, they were also bred for companionship, and it is an area the Chihuahua excels in.
Chihuahua’s are excellent at reading human’s emotions and needs as their instinctive intelligence. Does your Chihuahua show you more affection when you are sad or unwell? That is their instinctive intelligence kicking in!
Their instinctive intelligence varies from dog to dog, but generally, Chihuahuas have high adaptive intelligence levels. That is a sign of instinctive intelligence.
They will often form attachments with one family member or household and are drawn to them more than others. This is a sign of the loyalty of Chihuahuas and their ability to form incredible bonds with their owners; they are exceptionally loyal dogs.
Chihuahuas also have high levels of adaptive intelligence. However, this does vary from dog to dog, so your own Chihuahua might have different adaptive intelligence levels.
When measuring adaptive intelligence, we look at how Chihuahua’s learn about their owners and adapt to them.
An excellent example of this is their ability to understand your routines. For example, is your dog waiting at the door when you return for cuddles or knowing when it is time for bed? That is a sign of adaptive intelligence.
Remember, some dogs may take longer than others to adapt, and it can take longer depending on tasks. For example, my dog knows when it is time for bed but still cannot open a door by herself. Some dogs just need further encouragement and time to learn these skills.
While Chihuahuas may not be the most obedient dog, their adaptive and instinctive intelligence levels are high.
These loyal companions will tackle almost any fight they perceive, even when it’s merely the mail being delivered! It is worth remembering that these tests and intelligence levels vary from dog to dog.
You might have the most obedient Chihuahua, or they may be a little ball of fur and terror; as long as you love them, that is all that matters!