Dogs are 'no more intelligent' than cats say experts

It may seem from a dog's friendly demeanour and ability to perform tricks that they are smarter than most animals but a new study suggests this is not the case. 

Psychologists from Exeter and Canterbury University examined the cognitive abilities of 'man's best friend' when compared with other animals - including cats.

Experts concluded that canines do not possess particularly higher intelligence than their feline rivals, as well as a number of other creatures, according to Daily Mail.  

Researchers used data on observations of the behaviour of dogs, cats, wolves and chimpanzees to see if pooches possessed any specific special skills.

 They found that dog's mental faculties are not exceptional compared to other species and were even bested in many categories.

The study, led by Professor Stephen Lea and Dr Britta Osthaus.  

They compared canine cognition to other carnivores, social hunters and domestic animals.

Various aspects of a dog's intelligence were analysed, including sensory, physical, spatial and social cognition as well as self-awareness.

The team used a series of tests to assess how different animals reacted.

Examples included the ability to follow human pointing, which indicated that dolphins, seals and pigs were top of the class in this respect.

When it came to pulling strings to release food, wolves, cats and racoons were more effective at learning the ropes than dogs.

Professor Lea and Dr Osthaus said that dogs appear to be no better than other animals at associative learning.

They gave an example of when they're being trained to respond to social cues by an owner.

When it came to physical cognition, how dogs understand objects around them, they were 'at least average'.

Their social cognition was above average, especially when they are taking cues from humans.

'Dogs have an impressive ability to use other animals’ behaviour (particularly the behaviour of humans) as a cue,' they said. 

Physical cognition is not a domain in which dogs excel, and their performance is at least equalled by other members of all three of our comparison groups. 

In spatial tasks, dogs have shown good performance, but the same is true of other species 

Cats are good at locating hidden objects, though relying primarily on egocentric cues.

They referred to studies that dogs have been used in countless behavioural and psychological experiments over the years due to their status as 'model organisms'.

The scientists explained that early research didn't compare the cognitive abilities of dogs to other animals. 

While many may think that dogs have the best sense of smell in the animal kingdom, the researchers found that pigs ' might even be better than the dog's'.

Professor Lea and Dr Osthaus found that horses were 'just as able' to communicate with humans just as well as their canine peers