A newly-developed IQ test for dogs could decipher the link between intelligence and health. Dogs intelligence work the same way as human intelligence. Clever canines who perform well in one task also tend to do well in others- just like humans.
Studies have shown that intelligent people tend to live longer, so the scientists believe, if they can prove the same in dogs, they can use them to study about dementia.
‘Dogs that performed well on one test tended to be better at the other tests. Researchers also found that when dogs completed a test faster, they were likely to do it more accurately.’
Dr Rosalind Arden, a research associate at the London School of Economics, which carried out the study with Edinburgh University, said, "The discovery could have far-reaching implications for understanding human health and disease and canine health and disease."
"We asked the question, if a dog is good at one test does it tend to be better than average at the other test? And we found that yes that's true," she added.
"This is the first step in trying to develop a really snappy, reliable dog IQ test, and that has got implications that aren't obvious at first."
The scientists created a proto-type dog 'IQ test' which they used to assess the intelligence of 68 working border collies. These tests included: navigation, tested by timing how long it took the dogs to get food that was behind different types of barriers; assessing whether they could tell the difference between quantities of food and; their ability to follow a human pointing gesture to an object.
The researchers found that dogs that did well on one test tended to be above average in the other tests. Furthermore, dogs that did tests faster were likely to do them more accurately.
It can be difficult to investigate whether or not intelligent people tend to live longer because of the lifestyle choices, like smoking, eating, drinking and exercising, have a major impact on our health.
Dogs offer a good insight because they are "basically teetotal", Dr Arden said.
"Dogs are very reliable on that front; they don't touch pipes, don't touch cigars, don't kid around with recreational drugs - lots of things that muck up our findings in human reports can be very much better studied in non-human animals", she said.
The study is published in the journal Intelligence.