Wolves are smarter than dogs. Yes even your dog.

I wrote “minor,” dude. Though as I think on it, “minor” isn’t really appropriate for reasons others have writtten already. Because I am an asshole, I’ll reiterate anyway.

The wolf IS NOT PERFECT. Wolves are not more highly evolved than dogs, or better evolved than dogs, any more than humans are more higly evolved than bonobos, chimps, or gorillas. more Evolution doesn’t deal in perfecting things. (What does “perfect” mean anyway?) One can make a good case that, say, toy podles are better adapted to the North American environment than wolves because toy poodles so outnumber wolves. I suspect you’ll say that toy poodles are only more numerous because of the actions of man–to which I’ll reply, what’s your point? We are not gods. We are part of the environment. That doesn’t mean we haven’t any interest in avoiding causing environmental depredations; it means that it is disingenuous at best and delusional at worst to claim that we are distinct from and in dominion over nature.

It sounds like you’re saying a wolf has every possible trait expressed - is that what you’re saying?

:: coughing chinatown coughing ::

“Wolves are smarter than dogs. Yes even your dog.”

Ignoring the side argument, I would like to see more of this test. I strongly suspect that a smart well trained Border Collie would beat the best wolf in intelligence tests and that a pool of 20 wolves and 20 Border Collies would also prove in favor of the Border Collies.

If the statement of the study is that wolves are on average smarter than dogs, that I find it believable but the title of this Op seems very doubtful to me.

Jim (Please note, I do not own a Border Collie, just a fairly smart Black Lab mix that probably is not as smart as the wolves in the study.)

I read the article, and while I will agree that wolves can be pretty savvy, there were not many in the sample and the test is only one test. I’d like to see a bigger sample and a wide range of tests.

Most dogs are dumb and friendly. Some dogs are mean and stupid. However, I’ve known Border Collies that are smarter than people. Well, some people. You know which ones.

This is misleading. Until the past few decades, we indeed couldn’t add directly, but we could wait for nature to add something through mutation, and pounce on the opportunity. There are at least some traits in domesticated populations which are known to have arisen this way, and with animals like dogs whose domestication predates written history, there might well be many other cases we’re unaware of.

We also can (and have) breed animals with genes which may all show up rarely in the wild population, but which have never naturally all appeared together: This is why, for instance, there are breeds of dogs which are much larger and much smaller than any natural wolf: Occasionally you might find a wild wolf that has a gene that makes it a little smaller than the typical wolf, but it’s not always going to be the same gene. If, however, you manage to gather together many different smallness genes from many different wolf ancestors, and get them all to express, you can end up with a chihuahua.

It’s a lot more complicated than that. For instance, consider one of the primary traits which distinguishes dogs from wolves: Their aggressiveness. When humans bred wolves into dogs, we improved their aggressiveness, but at the cost of weakening their aggressiveness. That is to say, aggressiveness is a beneficial trait for a wolf, which kills every non-wolf animal it can to stay well-fed, but it’s a detrimental trait for a dog, which must get along with humans and possibly with other animals. So when we take a canine and make it less aggressive, we’re making it worse at being a wolf, but better at being a dog. You can’t just say that a particular trait is “good” or “bad”, since it depends on the environment, and the environment of a wolf is different from that of a dog.

For real. As far as intelligence goes, my dogs are about on par with breakfast cereal. But “wolves are smarter than frosted flakes” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

I’d have to agree with Chronos. A smart man can provide for himself with ease. A stupid man wastes lots of time and effort trying to provide for himself. I’d like to see a wolf that spends less time and calories getting by than my dog. Hell, I’ve seen him get half of a cheeseburger by winking at a stranger. I think he’s got me beat in the survival strategy.

I would like to see a wolf smarter than this dog.

I hate stories like that. I have 2 beagles. One is extremely smart. The other one ,Nordberg is a dumb dog. She gets on the bed and wants to get under the covers. If she is standing on them she can not figure out to walk past the end and push under. Quincy would never make that mistake.
Quincy can create a plan and carry it out.
He was licking out a dog food can in the basement. It was rolling away on the sloped floor. He picked up the can and jammed it in his dry food bowl and then licked it clean. He figures things out all the time.

Mine has outsmarted me, and I’ve been to college. :slight_smile: He has a giant vocabulary, and if he had hands instead of paws I know he’d ask for a section of the Times Sunday morning.

Wolves aren’t just the wild form of dog. On one particular point they are vastly different. Even when tamed from birth they are unable to petition for help from humans to solve a problem like a dog will. To me, the facility to communicate with an other species for advantage is a sign of superior intelligence.

The notion that dogs were domesticated from wolves by humans is now under serious review. There are many who now believe that the wolf domesticated themselves through their own selective breeding as a result of the fact that only the least fearful and most docile wolves were in the community residing at a human garbage dump. This theory arose as a result of a Russian study attempting to breed foxes by selecting for docile temperament which succeeded. Interesting though is that signiicant morphological changes occured resulting in smaler skulls ,colour changes, and the foxes now barking. Just like dogs. In fact there is now a population of true domestic foxes in Russia.

Dude. There are potholes smarter than my dog. :stuck_out_tongue:

Saw a recent show discussing the “self domestication/garbage dump” theory. They mentioned specific physiological changes from the wild ancestors - including a smaller brain because scavenging required less (brain/intelligence?) than coordinated group hunting.

And I recall reading a book that characterized most domestic breeds as representing “immature” wolf behavior - in terms of appearance, behavior, intelligence, etc. I believe they posited a general rule that the more “wolflike” a dog appeared - such as huskies, shephards, etc., the smarter and more independent it would be as well.

Sorry - no cites for either the show or book.

Yeah - border collies are frickin brilliant at various tasks. Incredibly impressive beasts. They are also (IMO) nearly monomaniacal and can be psychotic if not adequately worked.

My dog enjoys eating cat poop, rolls in stinky things in the yard, loves it when the cats pee on her blanket and rolls all over that and thinks they are playing with her when they repeatedly smack her on the face (most of the cats hate her, she just hasn’t caught on to that). So I have no argument against the OP.

The problem with that theory is that it neglects the noble Standard Poodle, who is, as a breed, second only to the border collie, and not monomaniacal or psychotic at all.

… long as you don’t mess with their family.

I am actually still serious here. Our last Standard taught himself how to use the TV remote. He used to turn on the TV when bored. (He liked nature documentaries and soccer.)

The current one… hm. I’m not sure how many words she knows. Maybe a hundred, more or less. She can differentiate between most toys, all family members, neighbors, and neighbor pets, several different snack locations and toy locations, most of the rooms of the house, sections of the yard, and various tricks. And various animals.
(Bunny sends her to the side window, squirrel sends her to the back, for example, because of where they show. Neighbor’s dog’s name sends her to the front door, my name sends her to the window above the driveway. She can generally find people, when asked, too. You know, usual stuff.)

I’m a big fan of standard poodles. I think they get a bad rep mainly because so many poodle-people are total wingnuts. That and the goofy clips.

I’m not sure the poodle is an exception to the theory, as the book was talking about physical similarities including the shape of the snout and head. If you ignore the coat, I think a poodle probably resembles a wolf quite a bit - certainly far more than a pug, boxer, basset hound, whippet, pomeranian, etc.

I think they went so far as to say physical characteristics - such as the shorter snout and more prominent eyes in a pug, as well as the affectionate nature of a domesticated dog - more closely resemble wolf pups than adults.

Sorry my recollection is so vague. I’m not certain, but reviewing my record of books I read this year I suspect this was the book. Even if it did not contain the material I describe here, I recall it being a tremendously interesting book for any dog lover.