Studies have shown that, when compared to other social hunters and carnivorans (an order including dogs, wolves, bears, lions, and hyenas), dogs are not as exceptionally clever as humans might think. Researchers from the University of Exeter and Canterbury Christ Church University tested dogs in trials against other animals in this order. They set out to prove how “clever” dogs really were.
They found that, in previous tests, dogs were commonly compared to chimpanzees, where they often won (which only added to dogs’ reputations). But, when these researchers tested dogs against other social hunters and carnivorans, dogs did not test so well. In fact, dogs may have been domesticated so much that their instincts are now no longer as refined as their wild counterparts. Wolves, who still must hunt for their next meal, will need more honed instincts to survive. In the end, the results weren’t a disappointment. Instead, they were a social commentary on the expectations people put on their pets.