Recently, newspapers have reported that a chow-chow, a companion dog of Chinese origin, was badly hurt when it jumped from a second-floor window. The poor dog was shocked when it heard a plane flying over its house in London.
Judging the intelligence of any animal is difficult but, according to psychologist Stanley Coren, it can be done. Coren wrote to all the dog experts in North America and asked them to classify types of dog by how fast they learn: they found 79 levels of canine intelligence. “The chow-chow ended up in 76th place,” says Coren; “probably some furniture is easier to train than chows.”
Coren's study showed that it took around 90 attempts to train a chow-chow to do something (like sitting down). And there was only a 25% probability that the dog would remember the order. In contrast, the collie needed only five times to learn a new command and would remember it 95% of the time afterwards.
However, it is not the chow-chow's fault to be so stupid. For many centuries, in ancient China they were kept in farms simply to be sold as food. They were useless either for hunting or helping in the country. "Who needs intelligent food?" says Coren. In China, some farms still raise chows for meat.