How Smart is a Labrador Retriever? Check Its IQ Level!

The Labrador’s friendly personality and reputation as a great family dog have helped the breed become very popular. You may be thinking about the smart level of a Labrador Retriever. If you want a dog that can also be trained in agility and obedience, go hunting and do tricks. After that, it’s fair to wonder about this.

The question begs to be answered: which Labrador coat color represents the most intelligence? Any of the colors existing will do! There is no need to worry that one hue of gray is superior to another when it comes to intelligence because that is not the case. Any color within the breed can be chosen without concern for the dog’s intelligence or capacity to learn.

It’s easy to gauge your companion’s intelligence and preparedness using these techniques. Impress dog obedience examiners or canine psychologists, or just be average. You may test your Labrador’s intelligence with these straightforward measures.

History of the Labrador Retriever

When do black Labs show their intelligence? Thinking about the origins of Labradors is a great way to learn more about the breed’s intelligence and character. More specifically, in the province of Newfoundland in Canada. The first Labradors were discovered in the 1500s.

A small water dog and a Newfoundland were bred together to produce the St. John’s Water Dog. These dogs belonged to fishermen, and their main purpose was to help haul in nets and rescue dropped fish. Consequently, it is not shocking that they are superb swimmers.

Modernized Labrador

In the early 1800s, Earl Malmesbury brought many of these loyal and smart dogs to Poole, England. They were imported to the UK and immediately put to use as gundogs. Labrador Retrievers got their start in this region, and the name stuck. Their exceptional talent as retrievers and their sweet disposition helped them gain favor. As a breed of dog, they are often regarded as one of the easiest to teach.

Is it True that Labrador Retrievers are Super Intelligent? 

One could ask how smart is a Labrador Retriever if they already own one or are considering getting one. Having a dog that is already predisposed to learn makes it easier to train. So, they’ll be more open to being told what to do, and easier to teach new skills.

how smart is a labrador retriever

Out of 138 dog breeds studied, Labrador Retrievers were found to have the 7th highest intelligence. They are more intelligent than most other dog breeds because they have superior retrieving instincts and can quickly learn new tasks.

They’re incredibly trainable and quick to pick up new routines and skills. In numerous contexts, you can put them to use. Because of this, they rank among the smartest canines and make wonderful pets for homes with kids.

Finding Out the Smartness of a Labrador Retriever

Are you trying to figure out how smart is a Labrador Retriever? An IQ test can tell you how smart, trainable, and good at solving problems Labrador Retrievers are. Here are some simple tests of your Labrador Retriever’s intelligence that you may conduct together. The IQ of your Labrador Retriever can be measured using a numeric scale.

☑️ Cover the Labrador Retriever’s Head 

Put a large blanket or towel and leave it there. Your Labrador Retriever’s problem-solving skills will be put to the test.

  • If they complete it in less than fifteen seconds, they will earn three points.
  • Toss in an extra point if they crack it in the first thirty seconds.
  • For every 30 seconds they spend figuring it out, they lose a point.

☑️Arrange Three Empty Dishes in a Row Upside Down

Put the treat in one of the containers while your Labrador Retriever is searching, then divert their attention for a few seconds before letting them seek it out on their own. Your Lab’s capacity for understanding and memory retention will be examined.

  • If they make a beeline for the best cup, they get three points.
  • If they look in two or more different empty cups before deciding which one is best, they’ll get two points.
  • Once they look in both cups before deciding which one to use, that’s worth one point.

☑️Go for a Stroll with your Labrador Retriever at an Unexpected Hour

Grab the leash while they are watching. Their ability to form and recall associations will be tested in this way.

  • Three points if they absorb the advice right away and find it stimulating.
  • If you have to walk towards the door so they can see you, you lose 2 points.
  • Negative 1 is if they act like they don’t know what’s going on. reward

☑️Place a Treat Under a Wood Piece your Dog Can Reach

Put your Labrador Retriever’s intelligence and problem-solving skills to the test with this task.

  • Three treats are awarded if they use only their paws to reach the treat in under a minute.
  • If the cat or dog uses its nose and paws to help it dive, that’s worth two points.
  • If they completely give up, you gain 1 point.


  • If your Lab scored 12 or more, congrats! You have a brilliant Labrador Retriever.
  • Grades 10–12: While not nearly as brilliant as a human, your Labrador Retriever nonetheless displays impressive intelligence.
  • Grades 8–10: Your Labrador Retriever isn’t the brightest bulb in the pack, but it will manage just fine.
  • Scores between 5 and 8: There are some things that your Labrador Retriever may need your assistance with.
  • To the negative: Anyone can give kisses and embraces; that’s all that matters.

Smart Labrador Retriever: Ways to Measure Its IQ Level

Curious as to how you might improve how smart is a Labrador Retriever? If you want a smarter Labrador Retriever, check out these easy-to-implement suggestions.

  1. When you see your Labrador Retriever doing something smart, praise them a lot and maybe even give them a treat.
  2. Early socialization benefits your Labrador Retriever. Taking your Labrador Retriever to new places and giving it new experiences will help it get smarter.
  3. Start early with your Labrador Retriever’s training. When you first get your puppy, start training immediately. Using this method to train your Labrador Retriever will definitely make them smarter and easier to train.
  4. Physically manipulate your Labrador Retriever on a regular basis. This is especially important when your puppy is young, but consistent handling at any age will help your pet get used to new situations and listen to you.
  5. Always be expanding your repertoire of tricks and orders. Keep an eye out for new training exercises for your Labrador Retriever, since all dogs have the capacity to learn new tricks.
  6. Keep up a consistent schedule of pressure and hardship. You can buy dishes that require them to use their brain power in order to eat, for instance.

Coren’s Dog Intelligence Criteria

If you’ve recently learned that Labrador Retrievers are among the smartest dogs, you may be curious about the criteria used to determine how smart is a Labrador Retriever. Who makes that determination? Stanley Coren, a dog psychiatrist with a Ph.D., devised the studies and tests used to get the canine composite score. Canine IQ is measured using a scale and trials based on the following:

  • The average amount of practice a dog of a given breed needs to master a new command. Dogs with a higher level of intelligence will require fewer reminders.
  • The percentage of times a dog correctly responds to a previously taught instruction. The more the dog succeeds, the more intelligent it is.

How Labradors Performed?

A Labrador is one of the 10 most intelligent dog breeds. They can be trained to do something reliably after only 5 or 6 tries at it. As a result, they are easy to train to perform new behaviors and obey new commands. Labradors have a 95% or higher success rate of obeying a command the first time it is given.

This is only one reason why Labradors are so popular among first-time dog owners and busy families. When it comes to brains, Labradors are on par with other popular breeds like Border Collies, Poodles, Dobermans, and German Shepherds.

Labs vs. the “Average” Dog

In what ways are dogs superior or inferior to other types of animals? People often think that dogs like the Australian Shepherd, Husky, Great Dane, and Boston Terrier are smarter than average. These average-intelligence dogs require 35 to 40 tries before they master a new command.

This means that Labrador Retrievers can pick up new orders five times as quickly as an ordinary dog. So too, at least half the time, a well-trained dog will respond to an instruction on the first try. As a result, Labradors have far higher intelligence than the typical dog.

How Intelligent Is a Labrador Retriever Compared to a Human?

Labradors, according to Coren’s scale, have the IQ of a toddler between the ages of two and two and a half. This allows them to pick up new directives rapidly. Like young children, they have the capacity to pick up novel behaviors and adjust to novel settings.

In addition, research has found that Labradors have demonstrated linguistic and numeracy competence. Labradors can pick up commands in a wide variety of languages. They can comprehend more than 250 different words in addition to signals both audible and visual.

The average dog knows around 85 fewer phrases than that! This is the practical IQ of a Labrador. Labradors have a wide range of intelligence, from what they are born with to what they learn to what they can do.

Other Ways of Measauring a Dog’s Intelligence

Coren only looked at how well a dog could do tasks and follow commands to figure out how smart it was. However, there are numerous indicators that show Labrador Retrievers are smart pets. You’ll get to know a few of them in the following text.

Adaptive Intelligence

This quality is about how well a dog can adjust to and master new situations and activities. To demonstrate their intelligence, Labrador Retrievers will eagerly follow your lead. Moreover, they learn new things just by observing what others are doing. Your pet can learn to open gates and doors by watching you do it many times. During training, you can make it clear that your Lab is not allowed to access certain portions of the compound.

Research has shown that in addition to picking up on visual cues, these dogs can also pick up on auditory commands spoken in a variety of languages. And Labs can learn from their mistakes. Labrador Retrievers are smart and fun to have around because they can learn and change quickly. Owning one opens a world of possibilities for methods of education.

Instinctive Intelligence

In this case, “distinctive ability” or “role” refers to the reason why dogs were bred in the first place. Every dog in the past served a specific function in addition to that of a pet. Labradors were made by passionate breeders so that they could help fishermen and get things out of the water

That’s why it makes sense that Labrador Retrievers are such enthusiastic swimmers and water dogs. These animals were able to draw fishnets or retrieve stowaway fish because of their innate intelligence and swimming prowess. Labrador Retrievers today still enjoy a wide variety of water sports.

Emotional Intelligence

The fact that Labrador Retrievers can learn to read their human companions’ emotions is another fascinating aspect of this breed. They have the ability to read your emotions, such as joy, sadness, or discomfort.

A Labrador Retriever’s high degree of emotional intelligence makes them a good choice for therapy work. They make an effort to connect with you emotionally in order to reassure you in the event of a shift. Moreover, they can keep track of your everyday routine.

Methods for Evaluating Your Labrador’s Intelligence

There are a number of clues you may look for to determine how smart your Labrador Retriever actually is. Learn “how to identify if your Labrador Retriever is clever or dumb” with the assistance of this simple list. If your Labrador does many of the things listed below, he or she is definitely a smart dog.

  1. They may follow instructions without any prior rehearsal
  2. I’d call them an “escape artist.”
  3. Whenever you’re feeling down, they give you a hug.
  4. They are masters of puzzle toys.
  5. They are aware of your departure time.
  6. They are experts at diverting your attention.
  7. That’s because they know how to avoid danger.
  8. Puzzle-Solving Prodigious Learning Capacity

1-Solving Puzzles

how smart is a labrador retriever

Many pet owners purchase puzzle toys for their dogs so that their pets have something to do when they are outdoors. However, this isn’t the only benefit you and your dog can receive from playing with a dog puzzle. Dogs’ intelligence is sometimes measured by their ability to solve reward puzzles. 

This is a good predictor of how well they will do in other types of training, such as obedience and search and rescue. When considering how intelligent Labradors are, keep in mind that they can figure out a riddle. If your dog can remember the order of steps needed to solve a puzzle, he or she is a genius. This requires higher-level thinking skills.

2-Shows Concern 

There is a common misconception that all dogs are concerned about their owners’ mental health, but this is not always the case. It is common knowledge that dogs can sense when their owners are feeling down and need comfort. Labrador Retrievers are often used in the field of animal-assisted therapy because they are friendly and outgoing.

A savvy Labrador may also nudge your hand for attention and show concern when you bring out luggage. Dogs with high emotional intelligence can learn and recall your routines. As their owner’s life changes, they offer support based on how well they know and understand him or her.

3-Skills Retention

A clever canine friend is one that can learn a new skill quickly and then recall it days later. Also, consider that every dog is an individual. High-energy Labs may seem slow to pick up new skills, but this is often just an illusion. Many Labradors are so intelligent that they pick up on a trick despite their owners’ shaky teaching methods. 

Labradors are great hunting companions and service dogs because they remember actions and commands very well. If you want to know if a Labrador is smart or not, you should look at how quickly it picks up new skills.

4-Opening Doors and Locks

Inconvenient as it may be, dogs that can unlock locks and doors are typically the brightest in their litter. Many dogs who know how to use simple tools or machines learned how to do so by watching their owners at work. For this reason, Labrador breeders who want to produce working dogs often select the smartest and easiest-to-train puppies from each litter.

If you have recently adopted a Labrador as a member of your family, you may be concerned about this trait, which is innate in many Labradors. By setting up expectations during regular training sessions, you can stop your dog from wanting to open doors and bolts. If you are worried about them escaping, a wireless fence can be installed in your yard.

5-Follows You and Looks to You

A Lab’s eagerness to do what you say and follow your lead is an excellent sign of its intelligence. The eagerness of a dog to please its human companions and trainers bodes well for the dog’s ability to learn, and the dog is far more likely to master a new command quickly.

When your dog likes your company and follows your lead, you benefit from a stronger bond with him. The bond you establish with a dog makes communication quite simple. This trait is one of the many that make Labradors the most popular breed of dog.

2 Other Reasons Why Labs Are Smart

how smart is a labrador retriever

Stanley Coren argues that intelligence can be broken down into numerous distinct subdomains. Both working intelligence and obedient intelligence are part of these standards. Being smart also means having intuition, being flexible, having good social skills, and being aware of what’s going on around you. One way to figure out how smart is a Labrador Retriever is by looking at how well it can learn and change.

Intelligence Built for Water Retrieving

A dog’s bred-in instincts are the skills they were developed to perform. Labrador Retrievers were originally bred to help fishermen get things out of the water by swimming to them and bringing them back. This skill comes naturally to the breed. Modern-day Labrador Retrievers serve as family pets, but that doesn’t mean they lack innate intellect. You can attest to your dog’s prowess in fetching games if you’ve ever played with him or her. There is intellect at work here, and it is instinctive!

The Labrador’s Independent Study

The Labradors have an innate intelligence and capacity for independent study. You can judge your dog’s intelligence in part by how quickly it solves problems, such as opening a gate it is trying to get through or figuring out how to play with a puzzle toy you’ve given it. Anecdotal evidence from Labrador Retriever owners shows that these dogs tend to be very smart and able to adapt to new situations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should you choose a Labrador Retriever as a family pet?

Labrador Retrievers are wonderful companions because they are kind, playful, and patient with kids and other dogs.

Q: Do you think Labrador Retrievers are brainy pets?

It’s true that Labrador Retrievers are highly intelligent and easy to train. They learn new tricks rapidly in hopes of receiving positive reinforcement and rewards.

Q: Why do Labrador Retrievers have any drawbacks?

Due to their double coat, Labrador Retrievers are well-known for their too-much shedding. To reduce shedding, they need to be brushed frequently. Because they have a lot of energy, they need to work it off regularly to be happy and keep themselves from doing any harm.

The best way to keep your Labrador Retriever from getting ear infections is to clean its ears every two to three weeks with a product that has a drying agent. They have a tendency to chew on things they shouldn’t, especially as puppies, so it’s best to start training them early.

Q: How many varieties of Labrador Retrievers are there?

The Labrador Retriever comes in three different coat colors: yellow, black, and chocolate.

Final Thoughts

Training them and caring for the Labs properly will help in determining how smart is a Labrador Retriever. According to multiple studies, Labradors are among the most intelligent canine species. This bodes well for their future performance under your direction and the ease of your collaboration with them. It’s possible to instruct them in new tricks and commands as well. It’s a good family dog and can thrive in a variety of settings.

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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