is a dog smarter than a cat?

A joint study between six universities from the US, Brazil, Denmark, and South Africa has found that dogs have twice as many neurons in their cerebral cortex compared to cats.

Specifically, dogs had around 530 million neurons, whereas cats only had 250 million neurons, suggesting dogs are smarter than cats.

what animal is smarter a cat or dog?

Dogs are typically introduced to strange people and places as part of their daily lives (walks, car rides, doggie daycare, and so on) and have a long history of cooperation with humans throughout our species’ evolution,” explains Dr. Valuska. “Dogs have also been selectively bred for specific behavioral traits.

But this technique for testing cat intelligence does not work. This is because cats have different social lives and most likely domesticated themselves.

Cats are not selectively bred for desired traits like dogs, and they tend to be more independent. “As a result, getting cats to participate in the same experiments showing off dogs’ smarts can be difficult,” explains Dr. Valuska. “However, I think it is a mistake to assume that this difficulty speaks to a lack of cat intelligence!”

For comparison, we humans have around 16 billion neurons in our cerebral cortex. This is the highest number by far. Our closest relatives, orangutans, and gorillas, only have around 8-9 billion neurons, so we can safely claim the smartest species.

It is a common misconception among scientists that brain size is the main factor that determines intelligence and that bigger equals smarter. In this case, bigger does not mean better.

The research found that larger animals with larger brains, such as lions and bears, had fewer neurons than smaller ones, such as dogs or cats.

Furthermore, animals with similar brain sizes could have significantly different numbers of neurons. This suggests that brain size is not the main factor in determining intelligence.

Although dog lovers would be delighted about these results, we should be cautious when comparing species based on intelligence.

This is because each species has evolved in a specific way that enables them to solve problems that are most critical to their survival and reproduction.

For example, if we consider hunting ability, cats will outsmart dogs and us. But if it were a maths problem, we would win over dogs and cats any day.

So regardless of how many neurons your dog or cat has or how smart science says your pet may be, please love them all.

Science might shed some light on the dog versus cat debate by offering an answer regarding the species’ intelligence.

However, every pet lover will agree that they are both intelligent in their way. Both cats and dogs deserve to be equally loved regardless of how many neurons they have!

The Findings Include:

  •  In associative learning, dogs do not exhibit any unique advantages over other animals.
  • Dogs have an excellent sense of smell, but similar abilities have been found in other animals, including pigs, horses, and cats.
  • Physical cognition in dogs is not unique. Their performance is about the same as wolves, cats, bottlenose dolphins, and horses.
  • In spatial tasks, dogs are not more exceptional than other animals.

More importantly, the scientists didn’t test the intelligence of living dogs and cats with animal IQ tests or even observe the animals’ behavior. The results are based on brain cells alone.


So, although dogs have greater potential than cats, we have no proof they are using their brains’ full capabilities.

In truth, there is no better animal at being a cat than a cat, and nothing can be a dog quite as well as a dog. And as for which one makes the better pet? It all depends on who you ask.