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They are age old rivals, and one clearly outdoes the other is in terms of intelligence. Comparing the intelligence between two different species is always difficult, simply because their strengths and behavioral traits are different. For instance, dogs outdo cats when it comes to running skills, while cats emerge as the clear winners if you were to compare their paw skills with dogs. So what researchers did was is use common grounds to measure the intelligence of cats and dogs. So if you are a pet parent who is wondering if dogs are smarter than cats or the other way around, read on to see what researchers found out.
The size of the brain is often used as a measure of intelligences; as you probably already know, the larger the brain size the higher the intelligence. Of course, if we were to go purely by that logic, whales and elephants would be smarter than humans, but that is not the case in reality. This can be explained by the fact that when an animal is bigger, its body surface is much bigger, meaning it needs more number of neurons to interpret sensory information. This is exactly what the relatively higher number of neurons and connections in the brains of larger animals do. For a valid comparison between the brain sizes, the body mass has to also be taken into account, and scientists use a measure called as EQ (Encephalization quotient) for the same. So how do dogs and cats fare with regards to their EQ? Dogs have a higher EQ than cats, making them smarter if this were taken as an index to measure the intelligence of animals.
Aside from the brain size, domestication has also affected how the intelligence of dogs and cats shapes up. Dogs being more social animals, easily pick up on cues from humans. They are also pack animals, due to which they watch and understand the behavior of other dogs better. This makes their ability to interpret communication cues- both verbal and non-verbal better. They also tend to have better problem solving skills as a result. Also, the pressure to pick up on gestures and commands is much higher on dogs than cats. If this continues, it is likely that intelligence index between cats and dogs will widen over time.
What researchers found from IQ tests is that the mental ability of dogs are in par with that of a 2-year old kid. Dogs can display emotions like anger, disgust and joy just as toddlers. According to the research, Border Collies, German shepherds, Poodles and Golden Retrievers are some of the smartest dogs. Smart or not, dogs and cats make great pets!