AUG 24, 2022 8:45 AM PDT

Is Playfulness a Sign Your Dog is Gifted?

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

Is Playfulness a Sign Your Dog is Gifted? 

Every dog owner thinks their canine is above average intelligence, but only a handful of dogs worldwide belong to a group called Gifted Word Learners. This canine group provides greater insight into the connection between playfulness and giftedness. Gifted dogs (those who learn and retain object verbal labels such as toy names) are more playful than typical dogs according to a study published in the journal Animal Cognition. The researchers found that only a few dogs worldwide demonstrated the ability to learn names very quickly and retain name memory over several months. 

The researchers asked the owners of 21 gifted dogs to complete the Dog Personality Questionnaire to determine whether the Gifted Word Learner dogs differ in personality traits from typical dogs. The data was compared to data obtained with the same questionnaire on a matched sample of 144 typical dogs from Austria and Hungary. The analysis was limited to Border collies which is the majority breed of Gifted Word Learners. However, not all Border collies possess this talent and other breeds were also represented in the Gifted Word Learner group. 

The researchers discovered one main difference between the gifted and typical Border collies: owners rated their gifted dogs as more playful than the typical dogs. Prior research has shown that working breeds like Border collies are generally more playful than non-working breeds. 

This study offers useful direction for further research on the relationship between giftedness and personality. Previous animal research has treated personality and cognition as functionally distinct domains and studied these components individually. Studies of humans have linked problem-solving capability to some personality traits and shows more playful individuals have better problem-solving capacity. 

Sources: Animal Cognition, Eureka News Alert


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
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