All hail the Border Collie? Last year, a leading canine researcher crowned the breed the "most intelligent" type of dog. The widely-read report rankled owners of retrievers, poodles and dobermans, but also quite possibly amused cat owners who read it. After all, no good cat person would believe the obedient, docile collie is smarter than their feisty Mittens, which of course proves Mittens is smarter than all dogs, the reasoning goes.
Wrong. A new unrelated study, authored by Oxford university researchers, launched another salvo in the bitter, perpetual war between dog and cat owners. These researchers have found evolutionary evidence that dogs have evolved bigger brains than their feline counterparts and are therefore more intelligent. The key, as The Daily Mail's David Derbyshire explains it, is that there is a "strong link between the size of a brain relative to an animal's body and how sociable that creature is."
Dogs apparently evolved to have more gray matter because of their greater sociability. Whereas cats, preferring a relatively solitary, independent existence, did not need to evolve the extra intelligence for "the co-operation and co-ordination needed for group living." However sound the research, of course, it may do little to sway the emotionally entrenched camps of owners.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.