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Are Greyhounds Smart? Here’s Why They’re Actually Intelligent Dogs

Are Greyhounds actually smart dogs? Here's why they are.

Greyhounds are some of the best dogs to raise. There’s so much more to these dogs than just being the fastest dog breed alive. They’re gentle, independent, quiet and super athletic. But owners may wonder, are Greyhounds smart dogs? And how smart are they?

Greyhounds are “average intelligent” dog breeds according to canine psychologist Stanley Coren. In fact, they’re ranked the 86th smartest dogs out of 138 qualifying dog breeds. Though average in obedience/working intelligence, Greyhounds excel with instinctive and adaptive intelligence. 

We’ll examine why Greyhounds are average dogs for canine intelligence. Additionally, we look at the reasons why they’re actually smart dogs. You’ll be surprised at just how intelligent they are. 

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How We Measure a Greyhound’s Intelligence

Here's why we ranked Greyhound among average intelligent dogs.

To understand why Greyhounds ranked 86 out of 138 for canine intelligence, we’ll need to examine how the “experts” came to this conclusion. The famed canine psychologist and pHD, Stanley Coren, ranked 138 dog breeds based on mainly two factors.

Coren had the help of 199 obedience trial judges from the American and Canadian Kennel Club. Based on his criteria, the judges assessed and ranked as many recognized dog breeds as they could.

Coren’s Canine Intelligence Criteria:

  1. The number of repetitions needed to learn a new (unknown) command. The less number of repetitions, the more intelligent the dog breed is.
  2. The success rate that a dog will obey a known command on the first attempt. A higher success rate means the dog breed is more obedient and intelligent. 

Stanley Coren had a huge number of responses. However, for his final intelligence rankings, he only included the dog breeds that had at least 100 assessments.

How the Greyhound Performed

Greyhounds didn’t perform too well, but they didn’t perform too bad. They did, well, average. But being average doesn’t sound as bad as it is. In fact, it’s the biggest intelligence category with over 40 dog breeds!

For reference, other popular dog breeds in the same category include the Australian Shepherd, Shiba Inu, Siberian Husky, Boston Terrier, Great Dane and the Dachshund.

This meant that Greyhounds were able to understand and learn a new command with 25 to 40 repetitions. You may be able to teach a Greyhound a new trick in under an hour!

In addition, Greyhounds were able to obey a known command on the first attempt with a 50% (or better) success rate. Not bad at all for the “average” Greyhounds.

Greyhound vs. The Smartest Dogs

The smartest dog breeds are the ones that performed in the top 10. There’s certainly a gap in working/obedience intelligence, but how much more intelligent are they compared to Greyhounds?

The top 10 smartest dog breeds were able to learn a new command with less than 5 repetitions! This means you could potentially teach them a trick in a few minutes.

What’s more impressive is that these dogs are able to obey a known command on the first try with a 95% or better success rate. They’re the most obedient, good boys.

And if you’re curious, some of the most intelligent dogs include the Border Collie, Dobermann, Rottweiler, Poodle, Golden Retriever and German Shepherd.

Owners: Is Your Greyhound Smart?

According to most Greyhound owners, these dogs are very smart.

To get a better understanding of how smart Greyhounds are, we decided to ask real Greyhound owners this question. We surveyed the popular Greyhound Subreddit Forum for responses. Here’s what these Greyhound owners had to say.

1. Sidsavvy says [YES]: “Indy’s proven to be very intuitive and intelligent so far. We were worried about stairs because we’re in a basement apartment, but he took one look at them and ran down them with no problems! He’s learning everything quickly and he’s taking to training well.”

2. Djouboti_phat says [NO]: “He’s lovable, but he is not a smart dog. Not smart at all.”

3. Castielgalafran says [YES]: “She is the sweetest, most empathetic, and most intelligent pet I’ve ever had. She’s more loving than any pet I grew up with. She’s described as a “Velcro dog” and very intelligent.”

4. Quetzal1234 says [YES]: ” She’ll be laying down with everyone and just randomly start whining. In her case, it’s also because she’s super smart and trying to communicate and react to the situation, so maybe consider it a blessing in disguise?”

5. Juliabeanz says [YES]: “He is so smart, energetic, and entertaining! So glad I randomly lurked this sub 8 months ago, and it wound up with this weird, silly fella on my couch.”

6. Pisspoordecisions says [YES]: “Mine is super smart as well. Well…he’s very easy to train, and has even picked up on things I’ve never taught him…like if I say “go to bed” – he goes to his bed, if I point to his crate and snap my finger he’ll trot over and lay down in it.”

7. Suckmywakelol says [MIXED]: “I’ve got one smart one and one dumb one lol. The dumb one is still smart enough to figure out how to get food though! With food in your hand you can train a greyhound to do anything.”

8. Kitchu22 says [YES]: “They’re super smart – they just don’t always have the innate desire to please people like some dogs do, and if it’s not a high value pay off in their eyes then it may happen but on their own terms, haha.”

9. Melaidie says [YES]: “Yeah, my grey is very smart. She knows when she’s getting walkies, we’ve trained her where to stand while we get the lead out, not to jump etc.”

10. Chiborg9999 says [YES]: “Greyhounds aren’t dumb. They’re actually one of the most intelligent breeds. They’re just independent and do not have a high desire to please.”

Greyhound Owner Survey Recap

Out of 10 Greyhound owners, 8 of them believed their dog is highly intelligent. On the contrary, just one Greyhound owner believed his dog wasn’t very smart.

One owner experienced mixed results, stating that he had one Greyhound that was smart and one that wasn’t so smart. 

Though we understand this is an extremely small sample size, the general majority consensus is that these dogs are intelligent. They may seem less intelligent due to their personalities. 

Why Greyhounds Rank Low in Intelligence

Greyhounds ranked low for canine intelligence because they're stubborn and independent dogs.

There are a few reasons why Greyhounds ranked so low in canine intelligence based off Coren’s research. The first flaw in the trials is that the assessments were based on obedience and working intelligence.

It’s extremely difficult to create an accurate standardized dog IQ test, especially one based off obedience and training. Just because a Greyhound doesn’t obey your command doesn’t mean he doesn’t understand what you’re saying

Greyhounds are extremely independent dogs. They have independent minds and won’t necessary follow your commands just because you say so.

One Greyhound owner explains, “I read that greyhounds tend to think for themselves and want to do things with you rather than for you. I like that independence.”

Another possible reason Greyhounds ranked low for dog intelligence is probably because they’re such stubborn dogs. Though this varies by dog, they can certainly have their stubborn streaks.

Another Greyhound owner describes that, saying: “he gets very stubborn and sometimes does not want to move. I’ll try to tug on his leash a bit and he won’t budge.

Why Greyhounds Are Actually Smart Dogs

Greyhounds are highly intelligent because they excel in adaptive and instinctive intelligence.

Through Coren’s obedience trials and the Greyhound’s personality traits, we know that Greyhounds aren’t the best when it comes to obedience and working intelligence. However, they excel in other ways with Instinctive and Adaptive Intelligence.

Lightning-quick Hunting Dogs

Instinctive intelligence refers to the skill, innate ability or job that the dog was bred for. For example, Australian Shepherds are some of the best herding dogs in the world. Herding is their instinctive intelligence.

The ability to innately round up and guide livestock towards a specific location without prior training is a form of canine intelligence.

Likewise, Greyhounds were bred for coursing game and racing. By coursing game, I mean chasing fast game and leading them towards hunters or their traps. They’re the “herding dogs” of hunters.

Similar to the Australian Shepherd, Greyhounds guiding game is a special type of intelligence that’s only seen and appreciated by hunters. Most families don’t get to experience the brilliance of these dogs on the field. 

Greyhound’s Adaptive Intelligence

The last and final dimension of dog intelligence is “adaptive intelligence.” This refers to the dog’s ability to learn on his or her own through previous experiences and the environment. 

All Greyhounds are born with roughly the same instinctive intelligence. However, adaptive intelligence among dogs of the same breed can vary greatly.

Still, most Greyhounds have been known to exhibit great adaptive intelligence. One Greyhound owner warns us about this, explaining,Greyhounds are smart and will likely figure out how to open the fridge. Be mindful of this.

He continues by adding, “again, Greyhounds are smart and will figure out how to open doors. Always lock the front door.” He can’t stress enough how adaptive these dogs are!

Another owner told us that his Greyhound was perhaps the most intelligent dog he’s ever met.

He explains, “other dogs display intelligence by performing tricks or tasks. My dog displays his brains by understanding the effects of his actions, the consequences, and the temporary nature of any punishment.”

Smart, Good Greyhounds

Despite what the “experts” say, we have overwhelming evidence that Greyhounds are in fact, highly intelligent dogs. However, this really shouldn’t matter much to you.

At the end of the day, you shouldn’t pick a dog breed based on how “intelligent” they are. All dog breeds, including the Greyhound, are more than capable of providing you with what you need.

Unless you’re looking for a dog breed for a specialized job, such as military and police dogs, it really shouldn’t matter. Instead, ask yourself: does the Greyhound’s personality and temperament fit me?

These dogs are very independent and docile. They get along with kids and other dogs with the proper socialization. In other words, they’re fantastic family dogs.

If you still believe that Greyhounds are right for you, I’d highly recommend bringing one home!

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