It’s a dog’s wife: Why female pooches are ‘more intelligent’ than males
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 8:47 PM on 28th April 2011
It could actually be all in her brain.
A study has found that female canine brains are different from that of their male counterparts.
And in at least once task the females have the edge.
Scientists studied a range of common household dogs of both sexes to see whether they understood a simple cognition task that humans understand by the age of one.
The task involved the realisation that objects do not change shape simply because they disappear from view.
They set up a wooden board and using a system involving blue tennis balls and used four different scenarios.
Using 25 female and 25 male dogs each was firstly shown either a small or large ball emerging and then reappearing.
The animals were then shown a small or large ball disappearing that being replaced by the opposite of what had been taken away.
Scientists then measured the dogs’ reactions to something that they would consider ‘impossible’ by measuring how long they stared at the new ball.
Professor Corsin Muller, from the University of Vienna, who conducted the experiment told LiveScience: ‘If something unexpected or, say, impossible is to happen, children and animals will look longer at the event.
‘When you start looking, you get some very interesting and instructive results.’
When Professor Muller and his team first analysed the results they found that all the dogs looked at the ball for longer.
But when they broke down the results they discovered that the male dogs had not noticed anything odd at all – yet the females had stared at the unexpected object for up to 30 seconds.
This was more than three times the time they spent when the ball did not change.
The scientist explained there are three possible explanations for the phenomenon.
The first is that evolution may have caused differences in the brains of the animals, while another is that females duties as child bearers mean their brains show greater nurturing skills.
However Professor Muller believes that neither of these explanations is relevant in dogs and suspects that differences in the brain are a side effect of other biological differences.
‘It is most likely this is just a byproduct of sex hormones working on the brain, without necessarily having a function,’ Müller said.
Although this experiment gave female dogs the cognitive edge, Müller said it’s likely that future findings of sex differences would even the intelligence scale.