People have been arguing for many years over whether dogs are smarter than cats and vice versa. It’s difficult to compare two species when they were created to excel in different areas. Cats are more adept at manipulating objects with their paws, while dogs are more mobile and able to quickly move from one place to another. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.
In the 1970’s, an alternative measure of animal intelligence was created by a psychologist named Harry J Jerison. He called it the Encephalization Quotient, or EQ. It is a sophisticated mathematical comparison of the actual brain weight of an animal compared to the expected brain mass for that animal’s body size. This reconciles for the fact that bigger animals tend to have bigger brains and moves the question to one of whether the animal has a larger or smaller brain size than what we would expect for an animal with its body mass.
So, if we go by the EQ, the smartest animals on the planet are humans, followed by great apes, porpoises and elephants. Dogs are not too far behind elephants, while cats, horses, sheep and mice fall much farther down the list.
The degree of socialness is also an important factor when considering the intelligence of an animal. Animals that live in social groups are more intelligent than animals who live alone. The main reason for this is that animals have to engage in problem-solving behavior when they are interacting in groups. We know that dogs are much more social than cats and dogs must engage in more complex behaviors than do cats.
More recent research done by Suzanne Shultz and Robin Dunbar at Oxford University suggests that the intelligence in dogs has grown even greater since its domestication. As pets, dogs must learn a whole new set of demands when learning to interact with humans. This may suggest that dogs will just continue to increase the intelligence gap between themselves and cats.
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