This is followed by breeds 40-54 which are, according to these findings, “Average Working/Obedience Intelligence”.
The 5th grouping is called “Fair Working/Obedience Intelligence” which lists out the next 55-69 breeds.
The last set are the final 10 breeds (70-79), labeled “Lowest Degree of Working/Obedience Intelligence”, with the Shih Tzu at number 70.
According to the judges involved, this breed did not do well with commands, and overall was ruled to need 80 to 100 repetitions of new commands given before following them…And only obeyed the first command 25% of the time (or worse).
So What Does This All Mean?
It should first be mentioned 8 out of the top 10 breeds are in the Herding, Sporting or Hunting groups. For many generations, specific and careful breeding was done to instill certain traits in particular breeds. Dogs that were used for herding cattle have strong, inbred traits to follow commands for the difficult and demanding tasks of controlling livestock. They are, by nature, very aware of their surroundings, taking cues from both humans and animals. This goes for those in the Working and Hunting groups as well.
If we look at the top 10 breeds, let’s see what we have:
1. The Border Collie: Herding Group
2. The Poodle; this includes the Toy, Miniature and Standard…and while they are in the Non-Sporting Group, they were bred to be retrievers dogs, mainly retrieving fish from rivers and other bodies of water.
3. German Shepherd : Herding Group
4. Golden Retriever: Sporting group and bred to be excellent hunting dogs.
5. Doberman Pinscher: Working Group and bred to be superb guard dogs.
6. Shetland Sheepdog : Herding group, one of the most popular and widely used dogs for sheep herding.
7. Labrador Retriever : Sporting group, commonly used as water dogs.
8. Papillon: This is the only canine breed among this top 10 list of intelligence that was bred to be a toy sized companion dog, just like the Shih Tzu.
9. Rottweiler: Working Group, this breed is well known for its guard dog capabilities but had been used for generations as a cattle driving canine.
10. Australian Cattle Dog: Herding group, as the name implies, used extensively as a cattle herder and livestock guardian.
So, as you can see, 8 of the top 10 dogs that ranked the highest for intelligence, again only based on ability to learn commands quickly, have very strong inbred traits to take commands from humans and actually work side-by-side with them.
The Shih Tzu is a toy sized dog, bred specifically as a companion. The history and origin of the Tzu shows us that while the breed was being perfected, great time and energy was devoted to developing a graceful, small lap dog that would be friendly, affectionate and a perfect companion. In contrast to 9 of the dogs that made the top 10 list (excluding the Papillon), the Tzu is meant to be an inside dog. While most of the dogs that ranked high are now wonderful family pets, for many generations they were outside dogs that spent their days working as opposed to Tzu that were specifically meant to keep humans company indoors, and develop close bonds.
Therefore, the Shih Tzu was intentionally bred to be friendly, loyal and incredible affectionate canine family members.