Whippets are a breed close to Greyhounds known for their speed and hunting abilities. They love to play and are full of energy, but their talents don’t end with physical traits. Whippets need a lot of exercises to keep them entertained, but they also need mental stimulation, so they aren’t bored. They’ll get themselves into mischief as they find new and creative ways to avoid getting in trouble.
Are Whippets smart? Whippets are some of the most intelligent dogs for obedience and work intelligence. While they aren’t one of the highest-ranking dogs for intelligence, their ability to hunt and chase, as well as problem-solving quickly, gives them an advantage over some other breeds.
Keep reading to learn more about what makes Whippets so smart when hunting and problem-solving from past experiences and where they fall in the ranking compared to other breeds. There will also be some tips on how to help your dog’s intelligence improve by how you train them, spend time with them, and the toys you give them.
Are Whippets Smart?
Whippets have a special kind of intelligence that helps them be better hunters and make quick decisions while running at fast speeds. They know how to cut off prey in a chase and figure out the best ways to take down their game. They can also learn from past mistakes and adjust how they perform tasks to avoid making the same mistake again.
However, whether they are “smart” or not depends on what kind of system you are using to measure it. Whippets can take some time to learn commands and will need them repeated multiple times to understand them thoroughly. They can be a bit stubborn, too, which means they may refuse to obey even if they know a command.
The Whippet’s Hunting Instinct
Whippets have a history of hunting dogs which means their instinctive intelligence for hunting is very high. They can track their prey by sight and easily catch it with their speed and agility. They also have a fantastic sense of direction that allows them to keep track of where they are while hunting and strategize about how best to corner their prey.
They might not be the dogs for learning complex tricks or memorizing many commands, but they have an instinctual intelligence that rivals many other breeds of hunting dogs. Working with that instinct makes them faster to respond and problem-solve, and they can quickly learn how to be the best hunting companions.
Whippets Are Adaptive
One of the factors that determine the IQ of dogs is their ability to learn for themselves or their ability to learn from their past mistakes and experiences. Adaptability is close to the problem-solving aspects of our humans’ IQ tests. This adaptability differs from instincts because it isn’t about following a feeling but remembering past outcomes and changing accordingly.
For Whippets, this comes out as a bit of a mischievous nature. They are likely to learn what behavior is not allowed and quickly find a way to get around it. Whippets are also very good at watching others do something and mimic their behavior, and some even figure out how to open doors.
Whippet intelligence ranking
The most common way of measuring a breed’s intelligence is through obedience and working intelligence, or how well they learn commands and their ability to obey those commands. Ph.D. psychologist Stanley Coren made this scale to evaluate the number of repetitions needed to understand command and the success rate a breed obeys that command.
Whippets rank the 96th most intelligent dog out of the 138 breeds Coren included in this list. This ranking makes Whippets reasonably average compared to other breeds on the list. They can learn new commands with about 25 to 40 repetitions and obey those commands with a 50% or higher success rate.
Whippets Compared to Other Dog Breeds
It’s fair to say that quite a few breeds rank higher than Whippets for intelligence. Mostly, Whippets rank lower because they aren’t as obedient as other breeds. The breeds that top the list have a 95% success rate for obeying commands which is a massive improvement compared to the Whippets 50%. They can also learn new commands in about 5 minutes.
Some of the top breeds for intelligence also happen to be some of the most popular as they are easy and quick to train, making them excellent choices for first-time dog owners or those who have little experience training dogs. Topping the list are Border Collies, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Dobermans.
What dog has the highest IQ?
The dog breed with the highest IQ is the Border Collie. They have an incredible memory and learn new commands quickly, making them excellent candidates for training to perform tricks. They mostly work as herders or farm dogs since they are easy to train and are low maintenance to keep.
Border Collies can learn new commands with five repetitions or less and will obey those commands at least 95% of the time. Since they are so quick to learn and obedient, they can learn hundreds of commands over their lifetime.
How can I train my dog to be more intelligent?
Training your dog to be more intelligent depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Some tricks and behavior are easy to train any dog to perform because it adheres to their nature. Things like potty training, stopping biting, and natural movements like sitting and laying down are commands any dog can learn easily.
However, if you want to take your dog’s intelligence to another level and raise them in the best conditions for success, then here are some tips.
- Socialize with your dog. Bonding with your dog is extra important if they are younger than 16 weeks as it builds the foundation of how they interact with you and others. The more your dog learns to trust you, the harder it will try to follow your commands and make you happy.
- Socialize with other dogs. Not only will interacting with other dogs at a young age make them friendlier, but it will also help them learn. If they are like Whippets, they learn new things by watching others do it first.
- Start as early as possible. The younger your dog is, the better their training will stick. Your dog will start to learn how to interact with you, your family, other pets, and the house, in general, the moment you bring them home, so make sure you are teaching the behaviors you want right away.
- Give them plenty of praise. Using an excited tone to congratulate your dog on performing a task well is the perfect way to let them know that displaying their intelligence is a good thing. If being smart is fun, they are more likely to pay attention during training.
- Expose them to problems and tests. The more experience your dog has, the better it will be at solving them. Consider getting a food bowl that requires them to use their intelligence to eat and toys that need some trick to work correctly.
- Play with them in new ways. While your dog might go through phases where they have a favorite toy, try to think of new activities you can do with them to keep them physically and mentally healthy.
- Keep teaching them new things. Once you get some of the basics down, continue to expand what tricks and commands your dog is learning. It’s easier to teach new things to a younger dog, but that doesn’t mean their training needs to end once they reach a certain age.
Remember that it can take time for your dog to learn a command even if they are intelligent, and they may forget about some commands they already know if they don’t hear them often. There are also some talents that a particular breed can learn more than another. Be patient and consistent with how you train your dog, and they are sure to improve over time.
Whippets have the right intelligence for their hunting and chasing game history as they are very good at thinking quickly and have excellent spatial awareness. They are also good at remembering past experiences where they made mistakes and correcting those mistakes by trying new things when faced with a similar situation. Even so, they can take time to learn a command, and they may not obey.