Are Pitbulls Smart? How Intelligent Pitbulls Really Are

Dogs are widely considered to be man’s best friend and are known for their loyalty, affection, and obedience. However, not all breeds are created equal when it comes to intelligence.

It’s important to consider which breed is the smartest and whether certain breeds, such as Pitbulls, are misjudged and misunderstood. So, are Pitbulls smart?

Pitbulls are considered to be smart dogs and can easily be trained to perform various tasks. While their intelligence ranking may not be as high as other dog breeds, they have a strong desire to please their owners and can be trained to be obedient and loving pets.

Keep reading to learn more about how dog intelligence is measured and how to make your Pitbull smarter.

Are Pitbulls Smart?

a photo of pitbull running with a stick to answer are pitbulls smart

Pit Bulls can be smart, and their intelligence can vary greatly from individual to individual.

Like all dogs, their intelligence is shaped by a combination of genetics and environment and can be influenced by factors such as early socialization, training, and attention from their owners.

Pit Bulls are known for their strong desire to please their owners and their high level of trainability. This, combined with their loyalty and affection, makes them excellent pets for those who are committed to providing proper training and socialization.

With the right training, Pit Bulls can learn to perform a wide range of tasks, including obedience training, agility training, and even service work.

That being said, Pit Bulls have a reputation for being aggressive, which is largely based on misinformation and misunderstanding.

While Pit Bulls can be protective of their owners, they are not inherently more aggressive than any other breed. When properly socialized and trained, Pit Bulls can be friendly, gentle, and affectionate pets.

How Can You Measure A Dog’s Intelligence?

Stanley Coren, a psychologist and professor of neuropsychology at the University of British Columbia developed a widely recognized method for measuring a dog’s intelligence.

He used surveys sent to professional dog obedience judges to gather data on the trainability, obedience, and working intelligence of over 100 different breeds of dogs.

Based on the responses, Coren categorized breeds into three categories:

  1. The brightest dogs, who can learn a new command in under five repetitions and obey at least 95% of the time.
  2. Excellent working dogs, who can learn a new command in 5 to 15 repetitions and obey at least 85% of the time.
  3. Average dogs, who can learn a new command in 15 to 25 repetitions and obey at least 70% of the time.

It’s important to keep in mind that this method of measuring a dog’s intelligence is based on obedience and trainability and may not take into account other important traits such as problem-solving ability, adaptability, and instinct.

Additionally, individual dogs within a breed can vary greatly in their intelligence and trainability, and it is important to consider each dog as an individual rather than relying solely on breed-related generalizations.

So, How Did Pit Bulls Do?

According to Stanley Coren’s “The Intelligence of Dogs,” Pit Bulls were not ranked among the top 50 smartest dog breeds in terms of obedience and working intelligence.

In the survey sent to professional dog obedience judges, Pit Bulls were classified as “average dogs,” meaning they can learn a new command in 15 to 25 repetitions and obey at least 70% of the time.

Despite their ranking, Pit Bulls can still make loving and loyal pets with proper training and socialization.

Ranking The Smartest Dog Breeds

According to Stanley Coren’s “The Intelligence of Dogs,” the top 20 smartest dog breeds (in terms of obedience & working intelligence) are:

  1. Border Collie
  2. Poodle
  3. German Shepherd
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Doberman Pinscher
  6. Shetland Sheepdog
  7. Labrador Retriever
  8. Papillon
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Australian Cattle Dog
  11. Miniature Schnauzer
  12. English Springer Spaniel
  13. Belgian Tervuren
  14. Schipperke
  15. Collie
  16. Weimaraner
  17. Siberian Husky
  18. Saint Bernard
  19. Alaskan Malamute
  20. Great Dane

IQ Tests You Can Do with Your Pit Bull At Home

If you want to know how smart your Pit Bull is by yourself, then here are some simple IQ tests you can do with your Pitbull.

First Test

This test will show how well your Pit Bull can learn and recall information. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Fill two or three empty buckets or glasses upright in a row.
  2. Place a treat beneath one of the containers while your Pit Bull watches.
  3. Distract your Pit Bull for a few moments before allowing him to search for the food.

Give your dog 3 points if they go directly to the container hiding the treat, 2 points if it checks one empty container before finding the right one, and 1 point if it checks both incorrect containers before locating the treat.

Second Test

Allow your Pit Bull to snuffle and become acquainted with a large towel or blanket. After being comfortable, place the towel over the dog’s head and observe how it reacts.

If your Pit Bull frees itself in under 15 seconds, it will earn 3 points. If it takes 15 to 30 seconds, the dog will earn 2 points, and if it takes longer than 30 seconds, the dog will earn 1 point.

Third Test

This one will need some innovation on your part, but it’s a useful exercise to put your Pit Bull through. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Place a treat through a small hole in a tall cardboard barrier that is out of reach for your Pit Bull and the opening itself too narrow for your pup to pass through.
  2. You’ll have to entice your Pit Bull to obtain the treat for precisely 60 seconds, then cease.
  3. Keep track of your Pit Bull’s time using your stopwatch.

If your Pit Bull figures out that he needs to walk around a barrier in order to obtain the treat, give it 3 points. If it takes the dog more than 30 seconds to figure it out, give it 2 points, and if it tries to scale through the window or bulldoze its way through the barrier instead of going around, give it 1 point.

Fourth Test

This one is pretty easy; all you have to do is place a treat on the floor and cover it with a towel, then take out your stopwatch and time how long it takes for your Pit Bull to find the treat.

If your Pit Bull solves the puzzle in under 15 seconds, give it 3 points. If it takes 15 to 60 seconds, GIVE IT 2 points; and if it takes more than 60 seconds, give it 1 point.

Fifth Test

This exercise will put your Pit bull’s intelligence and problem-solving abilities to the test. All you need to do is place a treat within reach of your Pit Bull’s paws beneath a piece of furniture.

If your Pit Bull takes less than 6o seconds to reach for the treat with only its paws, give it 3 three points. If the dog uses both its nose and paws, give it 2 points, and if the dog abandons the treat entirely, give it 1 point.

Now, it’s time to count the points and learn how smart your Pit Bull is.

15-13 Points12-9 Points8-5 Points4-1 Points
Congrats, your Pit Bull can outsmart any other dog.Hey! Your Pit Bull is still smarter than most average dogs.So, Your Pit Bull is average, but aren’t we all are.Your Pit Bull isn’t the smartest cookie, but I bet they still shower you with their love and affection, and that’s all that matters.

How To Make Your Pitbull Smarter?

Here are some useful tips that you can use to make your Pit Bull more mentally active or, in other words, smarter.

  • Start training your Pit Bull from a young age.
  • Include problem-solving activities in your Pit Bull’s daily routine, such as fetching the newspaper or finding the remote control when it’s lost beneath sofas and cushions.
  • Brains need exercise just like muscles do, so be sure to provide your Pit Bull with stimulating toys that will help keep its mind active, such as treat-dispensing puzzle toys or Kongs that can be filled with peanut butter or other treats.
  • Provide your Pit Bull with plenty of positive reinforcement when it displays intelligence or learns new tasks.
  • Make sure your Pit Bull gets enough exercise (both physical and mental) on a daily basis.
  • Never discipline your Pit Bull for not completing a task; it’s more useful to see what it did wrong and help it improve upon it in the future.

Here Is What Real Pit Bull Owners Had To Say

The Pit Bull is a very quick learner. They are empathetic to their humans. They like to socialize and please their humans. Pitbulls are not naturally aggressive to humans, I have found mine to be intelligent and focused.

Andrew Marcell

I don’t know about compared to other dogs, but I am always surprised by how quickly my Pit learns commands I’m not even trying to teach him. He listens to every word I say and works it all out in his own brain so he understands what I mean when I say about 200 different things. He’s made it his job to do my bidding. But he tries to communicate his needs by staring at me. So far, I don’t know how to read his mind. He’s also very empathetic. Tries to make everyone happy. And selfish, because he wants everyone to love him, and mainly him.

Nat Bee

They are very eager to please, so if you provide the right sort of motivation, APBTs can generally be trained in almost any task. One of my dogs holds titles in lure coursing, rally obedience, weight pull, dock jumping, conformation, and has her Canine Good Citizen. Most of the UKC’s Super Dogs (Dogs who have titles in a specific set of events) and Ultra Dogs are American Pit Bull Terriers.

Jayna Marshall

I’d say genius if you are speaking of APBT, I own one. I taught him to help take out the trash, help me with laundry, and close doors and cabinets. Next, he will be turning off lights lol. Staffies are very intelligent too. American or English. Am bullies are not the brightest.

Kanani Shore

Personal opinion I don’t think the Pit Bull are any smarter than any other breed I just think they’re more in tune with humans they are more human-like in their characteristics and dogish ways.

Jamie Who

They are very intelligent. They are people pleasing, so will probably do what you want. They may be stubborn, but this can mean that they are very intelligent. In fact, stubbornness is usually a result of intelligence, even a hint of questioning.

Rhianna Roberts

They are ranked way down at 83rd out of 100 in dog intelligence. So not very intelligent.

Toni Sherman

Pit Bull are very smart but there are other dog breeds that are more smarter than them by miles.

Chad Max Stuart

They are not smart and they are not that great pet either. They are mostly exalted by their owners that want to prove that their dogs are just misunderstood and that they have the magical power of nurture and that’s enough to transform them into the greatest dogs ever. They also compare dog breeds to human races making analogies that if you don’t like this breed you are just prejudice and almost “racist”, pure ignorance.

Romero Constantini

Not very. They rank pretty bad. Not to say one of these could excel. But they are high on eager to please.

Mark Kinsey

Pit Bull are extremely smart dogs and learn faster than lightning. Very good dogs to be around if you love them openly and often.

Toni H

PitbullsHome Personally-Tested Picks for Pitties:

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