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Your Dog May Be Smarter Than You Know

Border collie learned names of more than 1,000 objects, researchers say

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 12, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- So you think your dog is smart? A Border collie named Chaser managed to learn the names of 1,022 objects over three years, say U.S. researchers.

It's likely she could have learned the names of more objects, but the training was stopped because of time constraints, said the team at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.

Chaser's ability to learn and remember the names of so many objects was tested repeatedly under carefully controlled conditions. She understands that the names refer to specific objects, independent of commands such as fetch.

The study is published online in the journal Behavioural Processes.

"This research is important because it demonstrates that dogs, like children, can develop extensive vocabularies and understand that certain words represent individual objects and other words represent categories of objects, independent in meaning of what one is asked to do with those objects," researcher Alliston Reid said in a journal news release.

Further research is needed to find out if other breeds of dogs have similar language capacity.

More information

The U.S. Border Collie Club has more about the breed.

SOURCE: Behavioural Processes, news release, Jan. 6, 2011
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