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Is a Mixed Breed Dog Smarter Than a Pure Breed?

Updated on July 22, 2015
grand old lady profile image

Mona writes a column for Enrich Magazine which is distributed in five countries. She is interested in learning as she writes.

Philippine mixed breeds are askals

Mixed breed dogs in the Philippines are called askals (street dogs). Askal is a shortcut for “aso sa kalye” or dog in the streets, which gives you an idea of how Filipinos once viewed mixed breeds. Pure breed dogs were considered better and smarter.

These days askals are getting more love with many proud Filipino owners. One askal, Saver (now passed away) appeared in a Japanese TV show because he could do many interesting tricks like going to the toilet, doing his thing, then flushing it.

Saver proved pre breed dogs don’t hold the bar for intelligence. Among the pure breeds the Border Collies are listed as No. 1 in intelligence, while the Afghan Hound is the bottom dweller. However Onayd Lumbao, dog behaviorist and author of “Nananaginip Ba Ang Aso” (Do Dog Dream) said some experts don’t think it’s right to rank a dog by intelligence.

Mixed Breed Dog

Our askal Ashley Pumpernickel poses with, er, glamorous model
Our askal Ashley Pumpernickel poses with, er, glamorous model | Source

Ten Smartest, Dumbest Pure Breed Dogs

According to Lumbao, each breed has different learning abilities. Pure breeds were designed to serve specific purposes. The brains of dogs have neurotransmitters which vary in terms of number and type, and which affect dog behavior. Border Collies are excitable and have more dopamine. The Great Pyrenees dogs prefer to walk rather than run to preserve energy.

At any rate, the 10 most intelligent pure breeds are: 1) Border Collie 2) Poodle 3) German Shepherd 4) Golden Retriever 5) Doberman Pinscher 6) Shetland Sheepdog 7) Labrador Retriever 8) The Papillon 9) Rottweiler 10) Australian Cattle Dog. For more info on these dogs go here.

The 10 least intelligent dogs are 1) Afghan Hound 2) Basenji 3) Bulldog 4) Chow Chow 5) Borzoi 6) Blood Hound 7) Pekingese 8) Mastiff 9) Beagle 10) Basset Hound. For more info on these dogs to here.

Wire Haired Dachsund

My wire haired dachsund, Mocha Barney
My wire haired dachsund, Mocha Barney | Source

Mixed Breed Intelligence

These neurotransmitters doubtless vary with mixed breed dogs too. My two mixed breed dogs, Ashley Pumpernickel and Winniechurchill, are extremely different in terms of energy and interests. Ashley shares more in common with Mocha. They both like chasing cats and rats. Mocha likes to torture cockroaches and beetles.

Winniechurchill is scared of cats. Her intelligence is more perceptive. She practically toilet trained herself because she noticed my husband Ed would shout every time she pood or peed in the bedroom.

She learned to hold it in but would whine softly every morning, sometimes for 30 minutes until Ed would wake up and take her outside. Winnie toilet trained herself, and this is why of my three dogs, only she doesn’t need to wear diapers when indoors.

Mixed Breed Winniechurchill

My mixed breed Winniechurchill
My mixed breed Winniechurchill | Source

Saver, the first famous Askal

The late askal Saver became famous for his many achievements. Aside from his toilet training (literally) he could give you a massage, dance, jump through circles and other stuff. Saver, A Filipino askal, was featured in a Japanese TV show.

Saver appears in Japanese show

Should Dogs be Ranked by Intelligence?

Lumbao quoted Ray Coppinger, Ph.D who said, “Thinking about the learning abilities of dogs as intelligence is to miss the essence of dogs.”

And what’s the essence of dogs?

“No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as much as the dog does,” Christopher Morley said.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself,” Josh Billings said.

What do you think is the essence of dogs?

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    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Besarian, thank you for the comment on the pictures. I just realized now that they really are cute:). Truly, it would be very interesting to know what our dogs really think about us.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 

      3 years ago

      There are all kinds of intelligence. I question if we understand how other species think well enough to judge. I also wonder what they must think of us. This is a very engaging hub. Cute photos too!

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you Anita:) . I would love to see photos of your mixed breeds and particularly of your Llhasa apso Cocker Spaniel mix. I love both dogs and would love to see them together:)

    • Anita Saran profile image

      Anita Saran 

      5 years ago from Bangalore, India

      I love my Mixed Breeds - aren't strays/mongrels mixed? I believe they are.. My doggie Chocolate (call her Choco) actually sucks marrow out of bones and pushes doors open with her nose. I have 4 mongrels - all rescued from the road and one ancient Lhasa Apso mixed with Cocker Spaniel. Good articles and very readable. I'm adding this link to the article thread.

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Jmillis, I agree with you completely. I wonder if dogs rate themselves by IQ or by the ability to hunt or strength, or who has the loudest bark. More likely, rating is immaterial in their world, but we humans need ratings on everything, hahahah:). And if strength were the parameter, mixed breeds would win since, as you point out, pure breeds tend to have more health issues. Thank you for your kind words, and thanks, too for reading:)

    • Jmillis2006 profile image

      Jmillis2006 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      I also do not agree with these ratings but in the smart category, I do not think that labs or golden retrievers should be listed in the most intelligent, but that's just my opinion. This is a great hub. Unfortunately pure breed dogs have more health issues because of inbreeding to Keep certain traits, as well as other factors.

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Yes, I am 100 percent sure. Because you loved your dog and put so much pride in Peso. You even raised the money for Peso's operation. I know a family that had a similar problem with a purebreed but didn't go to the lengths you went to to save Peso's life. You also made in a public issue by writing about it on Animal Scene. I accredit this largely to you because you personalized the relationship between an owner and an askal, not just the tricks an askal can do, but your love for him. It added an important dimension to love between askal and owner:)

    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Mandaluyong Animal Shelter; they need help, and there is one volunteer whom I can say I really praise her a lot.... si Ms. Escalon ba yun? I will check ulit sa notebook ko, pero they have a page in facebook, Alam mo si Ms. Escalon I praise her dedication a lot, you admire for what I am doing with my dogs, but Ms. Escalos sacrifies for those dogs, she stopped working so she can monitor them.... I wish I can really help her.... Mona are you sure about this? "Before your pieces, askals were just guard dogs that were tied up all day to make them meaner. It was so sad, but your love for your pets and pride in them really opened doors to people appreciating askals better?" I really thank you for looking at me that way..... that's my only effort to help the animal welfare industry...

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you, Maricel:)

      Your articles in Animal Scene, for me, pioneered the love of the askal as a pet. You made them lovable through your stories of Peso and Pissy and now your new dog. Before your pieces, askals were just guard dogs that were tied up all day to make them meaner. It was so sad, but your love for your pets and pride in them really opened doors to people appreciating askals better. BTW, what government shelter did you visit? May I have directions?

    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Mona, thank you for this article, you know how much I love that Askal breed, and every poor askal that I see in the street made me remember always that my greatest love Peso is also an askal, who does not act like one LOL.... I went to one government owned dog shelter I was overwhelmed to see a lot of mixed breed or askal, and how I wish I can adopt one of them..... voted up...

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you for sharing, DrMark1961, and send my best to your vira lata:)

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you for sharing, DrMark1961, and send my best to your vira lata:)

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      I like your last point, and my vira lata (that is Brazilian for the word askal) agrees!

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you DrMark1961. I agree, there seems to be no point in determining dog intelligence. Maybe we want to establish a link between dogs and us so we use intelligence as a parameter. Maybe we should determine them by their environment, their adaptability, especially among mixed breeds. And we should try to measure qualities in the context of their being dogs. Anyway, best way -- take and love them as they are because they love us:)

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Unfortunately no one has rated the askal, and in my opinion those ratings are just bull. A Basenji is not dumb, he just decides he does not want to do stupid tricks. My dog will not fetch a ball because she has no interest in them, and even things she likes she decides to keep for herself. I wrote a hub called "Top ten most intelligent breeds, really?" debunking some of that stupidity.

      I enjoyed your photos! Great article. Voted up and sharing.

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