Poodles are attractive canines with polite and appealing temperaments. If you are thinking about getting one, you might be curious about how intelligent these curly-coated creatures are.
Many dog owners have asked me: Are poodles smart? Poodles are one of the top 10 smartest dog breeds. They are the second most intelligent canine of a total of 340 breeds when talking about obedience and work intelligence.
Moreover, out of all water retrievers, Poodles possess several instinctual intelligence abilities, with significant findings of excellent adaptive intelligence.
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Poodles Intelligence Explained
Poodles are usually listed next to the border collie in many canine cognitive rankings. However, considering several different dog breeds, this is rather astounding. Poodles are intelligent canines which makes them fantastic family dogs.
The high IQ of a Poodle indicates that it is skilled to do the following tasks:
- Able to remember about 300 or more different new commands and sign language: Did you know that poodles are as smart as gorillas and can learn 300 or more human speech phrases? You will be delighted to know that you can also train them to communicate through non-verbal hand gestures and a pattern of coded whistles, just like you train sheep.
- Learning Object Permanence: Object permanence is the theory that even if an entity is not visible does not mean it does not exist. It is why a canine knows that hiding a surprise behind your backside does not mean the gift has vanished.
- Counting numbers with the help of objects: Poodles do not really recognize numbers. However, scientists have discovered that they acknowledge items as symbolized by numbers and can even add several items.
- Having prosocial behavior: Apart from gorillas, whales, and dolphins, poodles are among the handful of creatures on the earth that were found to behave prosocially—that is, they are skilled at supporting another needy living creature or human without expecting something in return. Even though this degree of compassion has been observed in various animals, it is unusual in the animal world, even among humans.
- Following a person’s gesture and figuring out what it means: Scientists are often intrigued by this dog’s capacity to understand pointing since the capability of canines to understand human gestures and react likewise is among the most powerful link between humans and dogs.
- Knowing that time is continuous: There is a long-held belief that canines are not able to sense the flow of time, although this is not true. Dogs were found to not only sense the passing of time but rather can properly estimate it and predict regularly scheduled activities.
- Using tools: Scientists have stated that canines are among the world’s few tool-bearing creatures. However, their preferred tool is unique—dogs use people as their resources to meet their ultimate goals.
- Remembering both people and other canines: Poodles are among a few creatures on the earth who have been witnessed visibly sobbing for both people as well as other canines. It shows that they have a considerably greater degree of emotional intelligence than several other animals.
Measuring a Poodle’s Intelligence
Poodles rank among the top smartest dog breeds, as they excel in all three aspects of intelligence.
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Dr. Stanley Coren, a recognized dog psychologist and creator of The Intelligence of Dogs, partnered with officials from both the American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club to create a canine cognitive exam. With these cognitive requirements, they said that no canine could be 100% perfectly smart. The majority of canines have a great blend of these characteristics. Some canines could be instinctive intelligent but not adaptable, while others could be adaptive but not instinctually smart. Coren proposes three aspects of dog intelligence:
Poodles Adaptive Intelligence
It is a scale for how independent a canine can become. It involves things like understanding and learning new skills from its surroundings, addressing new challenges, and so on. Animals from the same breed might have different levels of adaptive intelligence. As a result, although all Poodles have similar basic intellect, you may sometimes come across one that appears to be completely clueless and repeats the exact mistakes several times. The thing that is different between the many Poodle breeds is a question of adaptive intelligence, which may be tested through the relevant tests.
When the majority of people think about canine intelligence, they usually see a canine trying to find his way to win through complicated obedience activities in an obedience test or in a circus. They could also picture service dogs, guide dogs for the impaired, hearing assistance canines, or hunting and retriever dogs as professionally trained creatures. A canine that obeys its owner’s orders and gestures gives the illusion that you are seeing the highest form of canine intelligence.
As a result, when a canine shows that he knows whatever specific orders from a person simply by his action, he is displaying among the most significant forms of his intelligence.
For instance, when you use perfume for any special event, your poodle will figure it out and try to convince you to stay with him at home. He can easily understand how to open a door or even slide one to another side.
Poodles Instinctive Intelligence
It basically refers to the purpose for which a canine was bred. Herding canines, for instance, were developed to herd livestock. Their tendency to gather up livestock, maintain them closely in a group, and lead them on a certain path is instinctual. All it takes is human interaction to keep the dog under control by providing adequate training.
Apparently, various breeds have various levels of instinctive intelligence. Guard canines watch over obstacles, retriever dogs collect, hounds detect or follow, pointers spot for birds, and clearly show their position by pointing at them while emotional support canines are closely connected to human nonverbal signals and react to their emotions to give them comfort. Poodles, on the other hand, were developed for hunting water creatures like ducks.
That being said, this breed’s instinctive intelligence is its skill to swim effectively and take part in water sports and return with its prey to its masters. They are indeed the best-known breed in water sports. Every canine has an inherent intellect, but comparing breeds and seeing which is “intelligent” in this aspect is pointless—their talents are just too unique to compare.
Poodles Working and Obedience Intelligence
This type of intelligence is clearly apparent in poodles. If you visit your friend’s house who has a poodle, he would most certainly show you the cool tricks he has trained his pet. Poodles are very responsive to human teaching. Poodles are known as the second among all breeds in terms of working and obedience intelligence!
Poodles were once used as circus canines due to their flexibility in training. Poodles and their instructor used to perform in front of vast audiences to showcase their talents.
Poodles are experts in all areas of canine intelligence. As a result, the poodle has a reputation for being a very intellectual dog. There are some basic commands to train your poodle at a young age in order to improve your pet’s natural intelligence.
- Teach them their name
- Teach them the “sit” command
- Teach them the “stay” command
- Teach them the “lie down” command
- Housetraining – You should train this step at an early age. You should also use positive reinforcement methods while training them in a timely manner.
Because of their strong adaptive intelligence, poodles need extra intellectual stimulation than most other canines.
Poodles Compared to Other Dogs
You may not know that Poodles are among the top ten most intelligent breeds. But how well do these sleek canines line up against the “average smart” dog breeds? Although being average does not make any breed less intelligent, there is a significant variation between these two categories.
Unlike other dogs, which require 90-150 repetitions of instruction before understanding it, poodles only require 6 rounds. They can also act 20 times faster in a specific task depending on their breed.
When comparing dogs in the obedience test, an average canine would follow a given instruction with a completion rate of 50% or greater on the first try. Poodles can do that with around 70% more accuracy. The difference is due to the fact that the typical dog is somewhat stubborn.
The average dog can remember around 165 words. It is something that the average poodle steps up in the game. A poodle could easily memorize 300 words or more when properly instructed.
Poodles learn new words fast and correlate them with actions or items. It often just takes some repetitions for a poodle to link a cue like “sit,” “stand,” or “catch” with its actions:
This instant word game also applies to persons and items. Whenever you say “catch the ball” or “where is your favorite toy?” your poodle will understand exactly what you mean.
Poodles have an excellent memory. It is one of the reasons they are so quick to teach. They have a good memory and can easily understand and memorize orders.
According to Stanely Coren, a renowned canine intelligence specialist, dog intelligence is quite identical to a 2 or 3 years old kid, based on his study and experiences. They can identify up to five numbers and do basic math (1+1=2).
Poodles as Retrievers
When they were first bred, their main function was to become a water retriever or even a “gun canine.” Many Poodles are even employed for this purpose nowadays. From personality to athletic ability, the Poodle possesses all of the characteristics of a highly skilled water-retriever.
Hunters often shoot out waterfowl (aquatic creatures) like ducks and swans and allow the Poodles to fetch them to their owners by crossing ponds, rivers, or open water areas. Hunting was much more effective in this manner since they did not have to carry their boat with them every time they went out.
They required the correct mindset and skills to be outstanding water-retrievers. Poodles, for example, were developed to be fast in the water areas and have water-resistant wavy fur. These canines had to be keen learners as well, which they already were.
Libbe Erickson, a shooting hobbyist, claims that “they [poodles] can accomplish whatever a labrador can do.” Given how highly regarded Labrador Retrievers are in the hunting profession, the fact that poodles can give them tough competition due to their skills and expertise speaks a lot.
It is important to keep in mind that having an intelligent dog is not mandatory. All canines are strong and capable of handling any situation. They do not have to be incredibly smart. Also, never listen to the “professionals” when they tell you if your dog breed is less intelligent.
Rather than thinking if Poodles are intelligent, consider if their personality and behaviors are compatible with you and your family.
These canines are the true definition of beauty with the brain. They are also loving and could become devoted companions. They do, however, need a lot of physical activities. All you have to do is give them endless love and care for them.
A Poodle could be your smartest and ideal crime partner if you are prepared to put in the hard work and commitment required to train them.
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Marko is the founder and author at PoodleHQ, where he blends profound expertise with formal training in Animal Behavior and Canine Genetics. With multiple generations of poodles under his care, he’s a breed connoisseur, honored with the Canine Care Excellence Award and lauded by the International Pet Enthusiasts Association.