How Smart Are Dachshunds Compared To Other Breeds?

Last Updated on August 7, 2022 by admin

Doxies are one bizarre breed. Cute, playful, and weird, they always get the attention they want. However, how smart are dachshunds compared to other breeds? This is a question most future dog owners ask as it determined how easy the dog is to train, how well you’ll be able to communicate with it, and much more.

For better or for worse, dachshunds fall in that category of dogs that are pretty smart but still aren’t easy to train. One might even call them cat-like in the sense that they always seem to get what you want from them but they still often refuse to do it. So, what does this mean for you as a future dachshund owner? Let’s delve into a bit more detail below.

How Smart Are Dachshunds?

So, are dachshunds intelligent? Indeed they are. But, it turns out that knowing how smart are dachshunds is only half the question.

What do we mean by that? Well, most experts actually put dachshunds in the “average intelligence” category. However, they tend to arrive at that conclusion via a series of obedience training exercises that measure how well dogs respond to commands. And that’s something that not all dogs are equally great at regardless of their intelligence.

But, before we delve any deeper, let’s look at some of the actual rankings.

Dachshund Intelligence Ranking

The most famous dog intelligence ranking is the one coined by one Stanley Cohen, a canine psychologist. According to his ranking, dachshunds ranked #92 out of 138 dog breeds. That placed them squarely in the “average intelligence” category – and near its bottom half too.

Other dog intelligence rankings yield similar results. For example, take a look at this Science Alert ranking which places Doxies at #45. This does seem nearly two times better until you realize that there are multiple dogs per ranking. In other words, dachshunds rank pretty averagely here too.

However – and this isn’t to disparage Stanley Cohen or Science Alert in any way – most such dog rankings tend to look at one quality over all others – obedience. In other words – how well does a dog complete certain tasks, whether they are taught tasks or new ones.

Such rankings are pretty intricate too – they include various types of criteria such as obedience, long-term memory, training, new skill learning time, and more. And, while extensive, this type of ranking just doesn’t account for all eventualities and additional factors.

Does This Mean That Doxies Are… Dumb?

Not at all. However, it does seem to indicate something that’s very well-known for most breeders and that’s dachshunds are pretty stubborn. This isn’t strictly related to the dogs’ intelligence but it does affect how they do on intelligence rankings.

Simply put, every time the experts try to “measure” how smart a dog is via various exercises, both taught and new, what determines how well the dogs do isn’t just their intelligence, it’s how stubborn they are too.

And Doxies are pretty stubborn. In fact, most scent hound breeds are – that’s kind of what they’ve been bred for. As a scent hound, dachshunds have been bred for centuries to just follow their nose and ignore all distractions.

They were still taught obedience and certain hunting commands, of course. However, for the most part, they were just unleashed in a forest environment and were left to follow their nose.

So, it’s only natural that such a dog breed would be overly stubborn and would seem “less intelligent” when tasked with various counter-intuitive obedience commands.

dachshunds have been bred for centuries to just follow their nose and ignore all distractions

Learn more about: What Were Dachshunds Bred To Hunt – A Surprising History

How Smart Are Dachshunds – The Different Types Of Intelligence

Different professionals look at different criteria but one thing is always consistent – there’s more than one way to measure intelligence. It’s the same as it is with people – is IQ the only way to measure intelligence? How about memory? Or mental adaptability? Or pure knowledge and wisdom.

Similarly, the most accepted categories and types of intelligence with dogs seem to be:

  • Professional intelligence – i.e. the intelligence or proficiency the dogs were bred for. In the case of dachshunds, that’s scent hunting.
  • Adaptive intelligence – the dog’s ability to learn for itself. This doesn’t refer to training and learning tricks but the dog’s comprehension of its environment and its skill to exploit it to the best of its ability.
  • Obedience intelligence – how well a dog is able to follow commands and understand complex tasks presented by its owner.

Of these three tasks, dachshunds tend to do excellently with the first one as they are fantastic hunters. They are pretty good with the second category too as they are expert manipulators, to the point that they are often described as “cat-like” by many Doxie-owners.

As for the third category – that’s where dachshunds stutter. Like cats, dachshunds seem to understand what their owners want from them, but they are just less driven to follow commands. Doxies are just bred to follow their instincts (i.e., mostly their noses) over audial ques.

In contrast, shepherd and retriever breeds usually do much better in intelligence rankings precisely because they’ve been bred to follow verbal commands.

Are Standard and Mini Dachshunds Equally Intelligent?

If you’re a fan of mini Doxies, don’t worry – there doesn’t seem to be any major difference between standard and miniature dachshunds in terms of intelligence. The two sub-breeds were just bred for a different size, that’s all.

Does This Medium Intelligence Mean That Dachshunds Are Easy To Train?

Not really. The signature dachshund temperament clever nature means that they are very good at deciding for themselves when they want to follow orders and when – not so much. As far as we’re concerned, that makes them extra intelligent, not less so.

In Conclusion, How Smart Are Dachshunds and What Can You Expect From Your Dachshund In Terms Of Intelligence?

In almost everyday terms, dachshunds are not just intelligent – they are very intelligent. One might say – annoyingly intelligent. The reason breeds like the Australian shepherd, the Labrador Retriever, or the Border Collie rank higher is that they are just more inclined to follow orders. Or, in other words, they are less annoyingly clever.

Doxies, on the other hand, is just one of those breeds that make their own paths in life and follow them even when you’re yelling at them to turn back. And that’s admirable as far as we’re concerned.

Read more about: Dachshund Training Tips 5 Techniques To Improve Behavior