How smart are Golden Retrievers?
Is there any way of measuring their intelligence?
Well, Dr. Stanley Coren sure found one in his book, aptly named, ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’. He concluded that Golden Retrievers are not just intelligent, but also make up for the 4th smartest breed out of all 138 breeds of dogs.
Of course, that was merely a short answer if you were Googling, ‘How smart are Golden Retrievers’ to fuel a debate amongst friends or family. However, if you’re paws-itively interested in looking past that goofy smugness, you’re better off reading on.
Find Out How Smart Golden Retrievers Really Are
They may look goofy, but according to Dr. Stanley Coren, Golden Retrievers are the smartest breed of dogs, only surpassed by German Shepherds, Poodles and Border Collies.
Of course, you’ll probably need a little more context to really understand how Golden Retrievers are intelligent. Well, Dr. Cohen’s research was based around existing data parameters that measured how easy it was to train their breed and how easily they picked up on human commands or emotions.
If we were to skip over all the technical details, we’d say they’re approximately as smart as the average 2-year old human being, who, arguably, is capable of learning over 165 words.
Still, we can refine our response to ‘How smart are Golden Retrievers’ by further breaking down modern research and translating them to how they apply in your everyday lives. Let’s first answer a question every pup parent is asking:
Is it Easy to Train Golden Retrievers?
Yes, they are, and for two reasons…
We’ve already mentioned how they are intelligent – so a higher IQ makes for one reason. The second reason, however, is that their intelligence allows them to recognize and quickly pick up new commands or behaviors.
Of course, every dog-person will say, “But, there’s a 3rd reason – they are people-pleasers!” We agree, and this is probably why it is so fun and easy to train them. Golden Retrievers are traditionally long-time family dogs and this is part of what they were historically bred to do.
During the 1800s, Golden Retrievers were trained by gamekeepers to fetch and retrieve birds that were shot down over land AND water. One can even say that working for or working with human beings is something that may be imprinted in their DNA.
To this day, Golden Retrievers are considered to be hunting dogs and therefore, are also considered for search and rescue services, alongside therapeutic purposes as well.
Isn’t this a good definition of intelligence in these sporty little creatures?
Of course, there are also those times when their brains get them in trouble.
Are Golden Retrievers Naughty?
There’s no doubt about the fact that Golden Retrievers love to play, especially with the little ones. Of course, it is all fun and games until you (or your children) aren’t in the mood for playtime.
It is very common in every household with a dog to hear the words, “Drop it”, in infinitely diverse combinations. While this is especially true when it comes to Golden Retrievers, there is one significant difference between their mischief and the mischief of other dogs.
While most dogs will steal your rags or your favorite slipper because they preferred to chew on that particular material, Golden Retrievers know that they are not supposed to and still play ‘Keep Away’ in the most playful and teasing manner.
If your Golden Retrievers are playful enough, closely watch how the gears in their head start spinning while they contemplate whether they should make a run for it or obediently drop your belongings, as if saying, “Peace, brother”.
Of course, you aren’t going to get mad at the thief even if you were getting late for your first date in a couple of months. It is very difficult to get mad at those innocent eyes and mischievous/happy tail.
How to Nourish Their Intelligence
Now that you’ve determined just how smart Golden Retrievers are, you shouldn’t just leave it at that and peek around the corner to catch them tap-dancing.
Instead, you should nourish their intelligence and challenge them with whatever seems to stimulate them mentally. Of course, if you don’t, they’ll probably divert their intelligence toward unwanted or destructive behavior such as excessive barking or chewing-up your belongings or household items.
To mentally stimulate Golden Retrievers, we’d highly recommend:
- Puzzle toys
Golden Retrievers are perhaps one of the few dog breeds that actually enjoys training sessions and as long as they are being challenged, and praised for completing challenging tasks, they will be satisfied.
Determining the right puzzle toy for your Golden Retriever is a whole new discussion, however, a general rule of thumb is that it should be effective in keeping them interactive. As soon as their tail starts wagging down to a minimum, they start getting destructive or bored.
Even something as simple as a food ball can keep Golden Retrievers stimulated for up to 10 minutes, while you do the dishes or some other chores that require concentration.
Our Final Thoughts
How smart are Golden Retrievers?
In human terms – we’d estimate a Christian Bale among Adam Sandlers, but then again, we’ll never know for sure!
The only thing we DO know is that they are intelligent and, like human beings, can either use their intelligence to go or to be up to no good. Of course, we aren’t so sure any human being would have looked that cute while robbing a house. The only thing you need to do to put an end to these mischievous behaviors and to really stimulate the best out of your Golden Retriever is to keep challenging them.
Try looking up basic training exercises for dogs or, even better, specific training tips for Golden Retrievers. Of course, Golden Retrievers don’t see them as exercises, because they love a good challenge, especially if it makes their pup parent happy!