Smart Dog Upstages Humans


Even the best speakers at the recent American Psychological Association’s annual meeting were upstaged by a four-legged research subject. When Chaser, a 7-year-old Border collie walked into the room, people jockeyed for position so they could photograph the celebrity.

Border collies are at the top of canine intelligence charts. What sets Chaser apart is that she has learned to identify more than 1,000 objects and distinguish between nouns and verbs.

Her trainer, John Pilley, has posted videos of Chaserís remarkable abilities on a YouTube Channel. In these clips from New Scientist, she responds to voice commands, correctly identifying both objects and actions.

Chaserís vocabulary is the largest recorded for a canine. Over a period of three years she was taught one object at a time, with regular reviews, until she could correctly identify them. According to New Scientist, she never got less than 18 out of 20 right.

This smart dogís accomplishments are, of course, only part of the story. They give us a glimpse into her ability to figure out what humans are trying to communicate. The other side of the equation remains a puzzle, with many pieces still missing. The more we learn about the capacities of non-humans, the more we realize how much we still do not know.

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Photo from Corrado Dearca via Flickr Creative Commons


Mary Deforest
Mary Deforest2 years ago

It doesn't take much to upstage humans at this point

Renata B.
Renata B.2 years ago


Michael Guest
Michael Guest2 years ago

What a smart dog, a border collie. You go, Chaser!

Connie T.
Past Member 3 years ago

What a relationship between Chaser and John! That's what love and trust can do.

Marianne B.
MARIA B.4 years ago

Love Border Collies . Great video

jessica w.
jessica w.4 years ago


pElAgUS vEgAn
pElAgUS hellot5 years ago

Really great, does anyone knows how many languages she understands?

Janet Ives
Janet Ives5 years ago

Hounds are also very good at lanuage recognition, terriers not so but BCs are definitely out in front. Have used these methods for past two decades with great success [+ the odd failure].

Margaret F.
Margaret M. F.5 years ago

Thank-you for the interesting article & video. Another reason why a dog is man's best friend.

Michael Branaman
Michael Branaman5 years ago