Dogs are loyal, kind, and man’s best friend, but turns out that your dog is probably not as smart as you think, according to a new study published in the journal Learning and Behavior and reported by Time.
While dogs do have a unique set of cognitive abilities those skills are not necessarily more advanced than other animals’. To test this idea, the researchers reviewed more than 300 existing studies on animal intelligence to see if they could accurately compare dogs to other equivalent species. Based on a series of behavioral and biological factors, the study looked at dogs along with wolves, wild dogs, cats, hyenas, dolphins, chimpanzees, horses and pigeons. But their review, which spanned across topics such as the ability to draw information from sensory stimuli, problem-solving, and social intelligence, found that other animals matched or exceeded dogs’ abilities.
“Dogs are special, but they’re not exceptional,” co-author Britta Osthaus, a senior lecturer in psychology at Christ Church University in the UK, told Time. “They’re smart, but they’re not stand-out smart.”
However, what makes dogs so unique is that they’re the only species that possesses cognitive abilities in all three of the above-mentioned categories, which makes them particularly adroit at jobs like serving as guides for the blind or assistants to police officers. Oh, and they’re pretty incredible pets, too.