Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Well, since I've been thinking about this "smartest animal" thing so much lately, I started wondering who was smarter, dogs or cats.  So I went and asked my friend, Mr. Google, and I was really afraid he would tell me, "Dream on, Piper!  Of course cats are smarter!"  But imagine how surprised I was when Mr. Google showed me a study that just got published last November, and it says that DOGS are smarter!

The people who did this study are scientists at Oxford University.  They looked at the brain size of 500 different types of mammals, and they compared the brain sizes in fossils from 60 million years ago with brain sizes now.  And they were shocked to learn that some mammals had brains that developed to be bigger over time than others, in relation to the size of their bodies.  Before this, people always thought that all mammals' brains just kept getting bigger at the same rate as they evolved.  But this study showed that wasn't true.  And the thing that made the difference in how big the brain got was how social the animal was.
A Dog's Brain

Monkeys had the brains that grew the most, and after that were horses, dolphins, camels, and dogs.  All of these animals live in social groups, which animals such as cats, deer, and rhinos don't.  So it looks like the mammals who have to be cooperative and play nicely together need bigger brains so they can do that.  Which is why dogs' brains have grown faster than cats' brains.

A Cat's Brain

Dr. Susanne Shultz, who was in charge of this research study, said: “Dogs have always been regarded as the more social animals while cats like to get on with their own thing alone. But it appears that interaction is good for the brain and extends to other species, like ourselves."

Anyway, now that I have told you all about this interesting study, I will also mention that there are some scientists who are not sure whether having a big brain really means you are smarter than someone with a small brain.  I think these scientists are probably wrong, but Mom said I should mention their opinion, just to be fair.  So okay, now I mentioned it.  

Also, Mom wants to know why, if dogs are so much smarter than cats, Chloe is the only one in our house who is smart enough to figure out how to open cabinet doors.  But this seems like such a silly question that I'm not even going to bother trying to answer it!


  1. I think that cats and dogs are smart when their humans work with them to bring out the smarts. I have had lots of dogs and they learn fast when constant commands are done clear. I am not such a cat person, but find that my friends that take time with their cats have smart cats. Now if you could only keep the cats off the countertops.

  2. Well...I knew something was up because when my mom got on your website, her first words were, "uh oh." Dodi, being Dodi got all insecure and started whining, etc., but mom told Dodi to calm down. I, being the more mature of us cats was given the opportunity to respond. First, I do believe that dogs...well...most dogs are smart. I think you are smart, because you have your own blog and need just the minimal of help from your mom making your daily posts. I think, and just give this a little thought....what this "scientist" could not rate/judge/etc., is "attitude" and "a cat's interest." My mom has tried training Dodi and I to do some goofy things that I guess her previous dogs could do, but Dodi and I are just soooo NOT interested! It's NOT that we can't learn commands, etc., it's just "duh...why should we?" Oh...I was not surprised to read that Chloe is able to open cabinet doors - Dodi is great at that. I suppose I could too, just not interested in doing so. Guess I will close as my mom was very stern in her instrutions to be "polite." My mom, Dodi (when he quits pouting) and I do agree that you and your canine brothers are probably the smartest dogs we know! :)
    Love, Di

  3. Cats on the countertops! Hahahaha! Mom wishes she could keep OUR cats from doing that, too, especially Chloe, who goes any old place she feels like going, whether she is supposed to or not.

    Anyway, I will say that I think some cats are very smart, such as my friends Dodi and Di. In fact, I even think some cats are smarter than some dogs. But I still have to admit I was very excited to learn about dogs having brains that grew bigger than cat brains during all the million years of evolution.

    Not everybody has the same definition of what "smart" means, though, which is why some silly people think border collies are way smarter than basenjis. And basenjis are kind of like cats in some ways because we don't always see the sense in learning dumb commands. Mom says that opening a cupboard door might be a better sign of how smart you are, but I don't really agree -- at least not if that means that Chloe is smarter than me!

    Love, Piper

  4. Dear Piper,
    I am surprised that you thought cats were smarter!
    Anyway, I still think they should judge each individual animal!
    YOUR #1 FAN, TAS

  5. I think your idea of intelligence is obscure and flawed.

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