Monday, August 10, 2009

Breeding even smarter dogs

The studies are probably not terribly rigorous, but it wouldn't be surprising to learn that that dogs are smarter than we thought they were -- seems just about every animal is smarter than we thought ...
Dogs as Smart as 2-year-old Kids | LiveScience
... While dogs ranked with the 2-year-olds in language, they would trump a 3- or 4-year-old in basic arithmetic, Coren found. In terms of social smarts, our drooling furballs fare even better.

'The social life of dogs is much more complex, much more like human teenagers at that stage, interested in who is moving up in the pack and who is sleeping with who and that sort of thing,' Coren told LiveScience.
The hypothesis is that dogs are getting smarter fairly quickly, that over the course of a few hundred years we've substantially increased the IQ of certain breeds.

So what would happen if we really tried to breed a dog that was smarter and lived longer? Could we get them up to, say, four year olds? Pretty soon we're in "uplift territory".

At what point do smarter dogs get civil rights? Reminds me of my childhood attempt to develop a non-species specific theory of ethics ...


Nettie Lagace said...

hi John, I showed this posting to Steve and he said that Stanley Coren's book(s) were some of the most interesting/helpful he'd read.

I'm going to go look them up in the next few weeks. Have you read any?


JGF said...

No, but if you bring one to Tom's place it would be fun to look at!

Unknown said...

I will! Is Kateva going to be there too? We need to be able to test! :-)

JGF said...

Kateva has no patience for the worthless toys of mere humans. She's only interested in tests that involve stalking and killing bunnies and squirrels.

But, yes, she'll be there!

She's very sweet unless you're a rodent.