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Odie01 9727

... often overlaps with Cats Are Mean.


"Dogs are idiots! Think about it, Smithers, if I came into your room, and started sniffing at your crotch and slobbering all over your face... what would you say?"

Cats Are Mean, right? Dogs, on the other hand, are obedient and loyal. "Loyal" has been diluted into "stupid," however, and these days, unless dogs are the main characters in a given story, they are usually portrayed as very simple-minded creatures, who can't really function outside of instinct and impulse. It also helps that many breeds of dog have an incredible talent for looking like empty-headed dopes. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it usually serves to make the dog in question out to be incredibly stupid, especially if some other animal is nearby acting much more sensible.

This prejudice has been thoroughly demolished in recent years (at least in scientific circles), with all the research into animal intelligence revealing future planning and tool-using ability, the capacity to lie, self-recognition and basic mathematical abilities such as counting to four or five and doing sums in many different kinds of animals, such as for example the great apes, corvids, elephants and domesticated dogs (in contrast to wild wolves), just to list a few. In 2009, the associated press reported that Canadian psychology Prof. Stanley Coren announced that several studies support the findings that dogs can reach an intelligence comparable to two-and-a-half-year old children, can count up to five and understand on average 165 human words and gestures, with some breeds reaching up to 250 words.

Not surprisingly perhaps, since according to genetic analysis the gray wolf Canis lupus was the not only the ancestor of the modern dog but the very first animal Mankind domesticated, long before we domesticated species such as sheep or goats. The oldest known remains of domesticated dogs are estimated at 14.000 years old, but according to genetic analysis, dogs genetically diverged from wolves approximately 100.000 to 135.000 years ago, during the time when Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa and into the Middle East, pointing to a long co-evolution between our two species. Like humans, dogs retain "child-like" features important to intelligence well into adulthood, such as play behavior and the ability to learn new things, in contrast to the wolf which does not. Not only can dogs interpret human moods and facial expressions, research has found that small children who had never met a dog before could pretty accurately interpret body language and facial expressions of dogs in videos.

Some claim that there are more intelligent and less intelligent dog individuals and breeds, with breeds specifically bred for understanding verbal orders and acting independently leading in the intelligence spectrum. However, the "intelligence" of dogs is a controversial concept. It was invented by Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. His standards of defining intelligence were based on dogs' abilities to understand and obey commands. While the ability to understand and obey commands is a neccessity for any service dog, it is not an actual measure of intelligence. The "intelligence rating scale" is heavily weighted towards obedience, but not understanding or creativity--- features essential to hunting dogs that are unsuitable in service dogs.

It is very difficult to distinguish between disobedience and not understanding an order. Some dogs are stubborn by nature, and creatively choose to disobey orders. Dogs often play stupid in order to get away with misbehavior. (Many puppies do this. They will misbehave, then pretend that they are not aware of what they just did. Pekingese dogs are masters at this form of manipulation, likely because smaller dogs are usually treated like puppies by their packmates as well as their masters.) Dogs can and do lie in order to manipulate their owners into giving a certain reaction, and selective disobedience requires a certain degree of creative intelligence. Creativity and a stubborn nature might make a breed difficult to train, but it does not make them unintelligent.

One of the lowest rated, "least intelligent" dogs on the list are bloodhounds. However, anyone who has owned a bloodhound will tell you that these dogs are selectively disobedient, and keenly follow their instincts. They come up with solutions their masters do not, which makes them skilled hunting dogs.

Basically, compared to humans? Of course they're not the brightest. But by animal standards, they're downright geniuses.

Amongst an ensemble of Talking Animals, the dog is often the dumbest, and rarely smarter than the mouse or the squirrel.

Dogs doing what comes naturally when nature calls leads to Urine Trouble.



Straight Examples:

Advertising

  • "I smell... BACON!!!baconbaconbaconbacon! There! From that bag! What's it say? I can't read! (is given some Beggin' Strips) It's bacon! I love you. IlovebaconIloveyou!" -- ad for Beggin' Strips, bacon-flavored dog treats.
  • This Bud Light commercial, where the owner discovers that all his dog has to say is "SAUSAGES!" over and over again.
  • The "Stupid Dogbot - Clever Fiesta" Ford ad campaign.


Comicbooks

  • Odie from Garfield, pictured above.
    • Garfield and Friends had the cat usually extending it to all dogs. Which once led him to a beating, when saying "dogs have no brains"... to an audience featuring only dogs.
      • In the cartoon, Garfield once wore a shirt reading "I hate dogs"... and was surprised to find out that dogs can read...
    • However, Odie might actually be a case of Obfuscating Stupidity. One cartoon showed him reading War and Peace while Garfield and Jon were gone, and another showed he's a wiz at Sudoku.
  • Get Fuzzy. Neither Satchel nor Bucky is very bright; the difference is that Satchel has a more innocent stupidity, while Bucky's is a more malevolent stupidity.
  • Rantanplan from Lucky Luke is literally Too Dumb to Live, having nearly drowned or otherwise killed himself numerous times.
  • A one-panel Non Sequitur, captioned "How Your Pets Think", shows a dog and a cat looking at a man sitting in a recliner. The dog's thought-bubble reads "Petmelovemepetmelovemepetmeloveme!" The cat's reads, "Don't just sit there, you slow-witted oaf. Feed me."
  • Ms. Lion, the male dog, is absolutely The Ditz and Cloudcuckoolander of the Pet Avengers. Founding Pet Avenger Lockjaw, on the other hand, is smarter than the average dog, and superpowered to boot.
  • A strip of The Far Side featured a scientist who invented a device that could translate what dogs are saying so he could understand them. Several dogs onscreen were barking, which was translated to, "Hey!" "Hey, hey, hey!" "Hey, hey!"
  • In Rocky, the title character (a dog) tries to get a friend's advice on trying to play some obscure Hip Hop music video on a Swedish music TV station, since he doesn't know any current pop music. The final panel has the friend laughing as he watches Rocky introduce a video by Vengaboys.
    • In the English language version of the comic, the reference is changed to No Doubt.


Films

  • The 2005 version of The Shaggy Dog partially plays with this trope. Dave thinks like the human he is, but succumbs instantaneously to frisbees, scritches, and games of fetch.
  • The eponymous Beethoven is not exactly a canine genius.
    • He's not exactly a moron either, there is significant evidence that many of his "accidents" are in fact planned out, and he is also extremely quick to pick of on people's emotions and is exceedingly patient.
  • The also-eponymous Bolt is something of an exception, being naive rather than stupid.
  • Dug from -- SQUIRREL! ...Up
    • The other dogs, however, (particularly Alpha), are not very dumb at all, and regard Dug with scorn and shame, so it's really just Dug who represents this trope.
    • They are all shown to have some sort of Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny though, at least regarding squirrels and tennis balls.
  • Chance in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Shadow lampshades this repeatedly. It's more likely that he was meant to be young and naive, as compared to every other dog in the movie and sequel who range from quite knowledgeable (Shadow), to street smart (Riley).
  • The rottweiler from Over the Hedge, whose only spoken words are "Play? Play!" This was specifically done to avoid the Nightmare Fuel of a vicious attack dog, which is a common fear among children, their target audience.


Literature

  • Somewhat understandable in Warrior Cats since the main characters are cats, but still. All dogs portrayed in Warriors are either slobbering vicious brutes, or a harmless, but severe annoyance. Only the slobbering vicious brute variety was capable of any sort of speech, and their vocabulary was limited to "pack" and "kill".
    • The funny thing is, the head author actually likes dogs more than cats.
      • Well, in the prologue, when the dogs got out into the forest, they were saying stuff to each other like "Here, hole, hole, here" and "Out, pack out, pack run!"
  • T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats includes one passage comparing cats to dogs, ridiculing the latter as "clowns" that are "easily taken in" etc. (That stanza was cut from this number in the musical adaptation.) Also, there is the poem "Of the Awefull [sic] Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles", which basically describes two feuding clans of dogs who are so caught up in fighting that they disrupt life in the city until they are scared away by the Great Rumpus Cat.
  • In Watership Down, dogs are just another one of the many enemies the rabbit protagonists have to deal with, but they still show this trope. Rowsbery Woof, a minor figure in rabbit mythology, is a complete drooling moron, and the dog that shows up in the climax never has any lines and is treated as a giant monster.
  • Both subverted and played straight in The Plague Dogs, where the dogs do have lines and are treated as Stoic Woobies... but they still seem less aware than, say, the fox, ranging between Too Dumb to Live and Break the Cutie. Justified, since the dogs are only slightly more intelligent than real dogs despite being able to speak, Rowf is basically shell-shocked, and Snitter is a Cloudcuckoolander after being subjected to scientific experiments.
  • Basically the entire point of Marley and Me, in both film and book form. Marley was a tremendously loyal dog, and the overall plot is about how that affected the writer's life, but he was also a rather dim-witted, headstrong dog, which caused a great deal of trouble because of his physical size.
  • Played straight in Animal Farm. The female dog is loyal, but not terribly bright, which is why she allows Napoleon to take her puppies and raise them to be his blood-thirsty, single-minded minions. In all fairness, she didn't know what he was going to do.
  • Many of Dave Barry's columns about dogs play up their stupidity. Roger in his novel Big Trouble is stated to have the intelligence of celery, though he at least knows enough not to mess with the Enemy Toad again after it gave him a face full of bufotenine.
  • In The Unadulterated Cat by Terry Pratchett, during the Campaign For Real Cats Suspiciously Specific Denial that they have anything against dogs, the phrase "smelly, fawning, dribbling, morons of uncertain temperament" is used. A series of footnotes record attempts by the Committee to have this changed, to which the Chairman responds by making similar comments at greater length.
  • Several dogs in the works of PG Wodehouse, including Aunt Agatha's dog McIntosh, "an aberdeen terrier of weak intellect". They sometimes overlap with the Mister Muffykins type (also prevalent in Wodehouse's works), but are generally better-liked by Wodehouse's heroes, who tend to be dim (and loyal) themselves.
  • In the Gordon R Dickson novel The Magnificent Wilf, the hero's Great Dane is given the ability to talk by aliens. Examples of things it says are as follows: "Love Tom. Love Lucy [his owners]. Love Love Love Love." "Play? Frisbee? Play?" "Ow! Flea! Bite flea! Bite Bite Bite Bite Bite. Crunch flea. Aaaahhh."


Live-Action TV

  • When the crew of the Red Dwarf go to a parallel universe, Cat is disappointed to find that, instead of a female opposite, he gets to meet a male humanoid who presumably evolved from Debbie Lister's dog. The dog doesn't exactly exude intelligence (though in fairness neither does Cat).
    • Part of the reason the Dog appears so dumb is because the Cat has actually become, while not actually human and/or intelligent, at least more so than he was in, say, series one. The Dog was introduced as a one-time joke and is therefore almost exactly as "doglike" as the cat was "catlike" in the first series.
      • The Red Dwarf tabletop game gives both species nearly identical hits and bonuses to their stats. Both get a minus to dealing with other creatures socially, Cats because they're narcissistic and lack empathy, Dogs just because they're a bit uncouth and unrefined. (As the text puts it, Dogs are social beings, but in a "hanging-out-with-the-boys" sense, not a "let's-put-on-a-tux-and-go-to-the-Queen's-reception" sense.)
  • Mad About You has Murray, a Border Collie mix, which runs after mice until it runs into a wall, causing itself head trauma.
    • And there are no mice in the flat.
      • That's terrible. Seriously.
  • Top Gear Dog, Richard Hammond's real-life pet Labradoodle, during her brief stint on the show.
  • Darren from The Ferals and Feral TV, whose Intelligence stat was on par with that of a mushroom.
  • Emergency Vets unintentionally makes you wonder if dogs are intelligent after seeing enough episodes where dogs have to be brought in and operated on for having eaten something completely inedible (socks, speaker wire, a coin collection...).
    • Although humans have been known to swallow some pretty stupid non-food items, too.


Videogames

  • The dog in Duck Hunt. So dumb that it didn't try to return the duck that you successfully shot. And when you fail... it laughs, entertained at your failure. Unfortunately, you can't Shoot the Dog.
  • Ghost Trick: Missile comes off as The Ditz, albeit a very cheerful Ditz. Perhaps less "stupid" and more "incredibly naive and optimistic" (but note the subversion below).


Webcomics

  • PvP - Scratch Fury, Destroyer of Worlds, uses a mind-enhancing machine on Kirby in order to create his own nemesis - but unfortunately, even after multiplying his intelligence by 1000, he's still dumber than a sack of hammers, and tends to forget that he can speak, whenever he takes a nap...
  • Pooch from the webcomic Sinfest. If he's not stupid, he's definitely very young and/or naive. In contrast, his cat companion, Percival, is sublimely arrogant and sophisticated.
    • He is, however, just as dumb as Pooch and can be easily swayed with food or toys. He's a bit of a hypocrite and it's played for laughs.
  • Rare for a Furry Comic, but Better Days has this, Word of God claims that all have "a little touch of the Downs".


Western Animation

  • Ironically, sheepdogs, despite being one of the more intelligent of breeds, are typically cast as being the most stupid of dogs, due to their shaggy hair covering their eyes.
  • Guess which half of the title Cat Dog is relevant to this trope. In fact, a good portion of the dogs on Cat Dog are portrayed this way.
  • Hanna-Barbera egregiously abuses this trope:
    • Dynomutt is Blue Falcon's idiot robot-dog sidekick.
    • Dexter's Laboratory had an episode where Dexter gives a dog capability of speech and it drives him insane because all it says is what it sees going on.

 "It's a thing! I-I-I found a thing! It's here, the thing, I found the thing, and here it is, it's the thing, right here, a thing!"

      • And then turns around and subverts the trope. Dexter's parents never notice the dog can speak English. Also, when the dog's true owner shows up, he speaks exactly like the dog does.

 Man: Hey! It's my dog! I found my dog!

Dog: Hey, it's my man! I found my man!

Both: I found you, I found you, I found you! I found you!

Man: Let's go for a ride! You wanna go for a ride?

Dog:: Yeah, ride, let's go for a ride!

Both: Let's go for a ride!

      • Dexter also tries to repair Dynomutt at Blue Falcon's request, but Dexter scraps him as being an "idiot sidekick" (which he is).
    • 2 Stupid Dogs.
    • Huckleberry Hound, despite being smart enough to walk among humans, is still dumb.
      • Dumb? Or just "slow"?
      • Sometimes lucky, sometimes smart enough to overcome his foes (like Powerful Pierre and Dinky Dalton).
    • Astro from The Jetsons can talk and is still pretty dumb, despite being able to talk.
      • Though, to be fair, he does recognise bad thing or person when he sees one, and will warn and help the family. And, in one episode, was made into a super genius, but became insufferable as a result.
    • The Flintstones' Dino (only arguably a dog anyway) was smarter than Fred in many cases. But so was the cat. Hoppy was about as smart as Barney.
    • A Proto-Dino was shown during a camping episode to be extremely intelligent, with an elegant pseudo-British accent, until he was adopted by the women. Then he lost his ability to talk.
    • Hong-Kong Phooey is clearly more dense than his cat sidekick.
  • Runt from Animaniacs.
    • He's almost on The Ditz level of dumb, unable to understand that Rita is a cat, though it's arguably subverted since 80% of the time, Runt saves Rita from her own arrogance and selfishness (showing she's not exactly a genius either outside of composing brilliant musical bits).
      • Rita's arrogance is typically attributed to her being a cat, which she mentions frequently as being superior to humans and all other animals. Runt, meanwhile, is shown as as being far stupider than the average dog, which have normal intelligence.

 Rita: For fifty dollars and a chance to the Fisteva: how many brain cells does a dog have?

Runt: Oh boy! Oh boy! Nine! Definitely nine!


New Media

  • There is an internet meme which shows how a cat and a dog view their respective existences. The dog will say things like "Walk! YAY! Food! YAY! Pet! YAY! Outside! YAY!" Meanwhile, the cat carefully plots revenge on and escape from its human captors.
    • And here it is...
      • Dog: Dog food! My favorite thing!
      • Cat: My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.
  • The Simple Dog from Hyperbole and a Half, full stop. This dog is incapable of operating a staircase or getting out from under a blanket, and when put in sled-dog booties to prevent damage to the wooden floor, stared up with an expression captioned in the story's accompanying cartoon as "Where R My Legs?" Allie's other dog, Helper Dog, appears to be of normal canine intelligence, but on the other hand is extremely nervous and melodramatic.


Subversions and aversions:

Advertising

  • In the commercials for Bush's Baked Beans, Duke the golden retriever is a clever huckster who's always trying to sell his master's secret family recipe for his own monetary gain.


Anime & Manga

  • Ein the "data dog" from Cowboy Bebop is hinted to be very intelligent, but none of the crew ever notice.
    • Its also implied that he's a better hacker than Ed in one episode.
  • Akamaru from Naruto was quite the efficient partner for his master, Kiba Inuzuka, either as his Head Pet or his Big Friendly Dog. Justified, since the Inuzuka clan's business revolves around veterinary issues and dog training.
  • Menchi from Excel Saga is quite clever, and fully aware of her position as "emergency rations".
  • For the most part, the dogs in Massugu ni Ikou aren't explicitly stupid. The closest example of this trope is Hanako, who is more of a Cloudcuckoolander than anything else. Mametarou, Sora, and Shokora are all also subversions: they might have dumb moments, but give no indication that they lack intelligence aside from the odd quirk. Averting this trope outright are Gen and Jack - the former being an honorable and sensitive Gentle Giant, and the latter being a very intelligent Jerkass.
  • In Chi's Sweet Home, all the dogs play the trope straight and Chi's very much afraid of them. However, in the second season one of the Yamada's neighbors has a hyper puppy, and David subverts the trope by rescuing Chi in episode 76. It'd be a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming if the whole series wasn't Sweet Dreams Fuel already.


Comicbooks

  • Boot from the British newspaper strip The Perishers was certainly smarter than his boy owner Wellington. Unfortunately whenever Boot attempted to articulate his thoughts Wellington could only hear barking.
  • Dogbert, from the comic strip Dilbert, is generally presented as more intelligent than those around him (and as pretty much an evil genius).
    • False. Catbert is the evil one (it's even in his name for goodness sake). Dogbert is mischevious, at worst.
      • Dogbert is a scam artist. He himself implies that his scams could easily kill a consumer and that he even wants to get rid of the witnesses. It may be satire but that is pretty amoral.
  • Snoopy is fairly bright, albeit with a blind spot regarding the name of that round-headed kid.
  • Snowy from Tintin.


Films

  • The dogs of Cats and Dogs are able to run a hi-tech spy organization against the evil cats. Though some moments of stupidity still ensue (such as a Wire Dilemma when dogs are colorblind).
  • The dogs in the movie Babe are the leaders of all the farm-animals, and most intelligent; meanwhile the cat is pure evil.
  • Disney films One Hundred and One Dalmatians and Lady and the Tramp both feature dogs as highly intelligent and articulate, but do not show them as capable of talking with humans in ordinary language (although Tony can seemingly understand The Tramp).


Literature

  • Old Yeller is the true story of an actual dog.
    • Old Yeller from the eponymous book was an extremely intelligent dog.
  • Where the Red Fern Grows is also a true story.
  • Gaspode the Wonder Dog from the Discworld series is an equal-level thinker with most humans he interacts with, and currently makes his life as the thinking-brain dog (like a seeing-eye dog, only with providing thoughts instead of vision) of Foul Ole Ron. He's also basically the Only Sane Man in the Canting Crew.
    • Similarly, the Dog Guild in Men At Arms, although none of them were loyal (Gaspode is loyal, and seriously resents it). By contrast "Laddie", the Discworld version of Lassie in Moving Pictures, is completely moronic and a clueless, blond-furred ditz, but because he behaves like a Wonder Dog is expected to behave, everyone thinks he's clever.
    • Continuity Drift had a part to play here however. Originally in Moving Pictures Gaspode has had his intelligence magically boosted to human levels and there is no real evidence Laddie was especially dim by normal canine standards. By Men At Arms all dogs are as reasonably intelligent, although not so much as Gaspode (who can speak as well as most humans and even write (badly mangled) Morporkian, as well as being deeper in his thinking, the result of a different magical reason than in Moving Pictures). Laddie becomes retroactively that much worse. It is mentioned that the type of intelligence displayed by dogs is something they got from humans, along with names, cruelty and a cringing inferiority complex. Wolves are displayed as pretty smart but with a one-track mind controlled by instincts and thoughts wholly unlike dogs as a result.
    • According to Angua (in The Fifth Elephant), a bimorphic werewolf who spends too much time changed into a wolf becomes more wolflike in thinking, more prone to react either with flight or fight to unknown things, and unable to reason like a human. Her father, Baron Guy von Uberwald, has regressed so much that when he was in human form he spoke most in monosyllabic one-word sentences, in a loud voice like a bark, and has to be reminded to wear clothes.
      • Anytime Angua and her relationship with Carrot comes up, someone (usually Angua) mentions that anything that is part wolf and part human is a dog, which sort of explains a few things about Big Fido and his ideas about wolves.
  • Novelist Dean Koontz tends to write canine characters as smarter than most dogs (even excluding Watchers, which involves a genetically engineered dog of human intelligence).
  • Mouse from The Dresden Files is just as intelligent as a human, though he isn't a normal canine, but rather a "Foo Dog" (essentially a spirit-world canine from the mountains of Tibet).
  • Headies in the Noonverse are a species of dog-like aliens that are psychic, extremely pragmatic as a species and much, much smarter than humans; after a few decades, they just decide that they learned everything worth learning from humans and abruptly severe all diplomatic contacts with them.
  • Subverted hard in The Death Gate Cycle series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Haplo's nameless dog is repeatedly shown to have the most common sense of any character in the series and often acts as his Anti-Hero owner's moral center. Of course, it turns out that Dog is actually the physical manifestation of Haplo's soul, so this is justified.
  • Huan, the Hound of Valinor, from The Silmarillion, was able to speak three times, went through a conflict of loyalties and ended up helping Beren and Lúthien in their quest. (He and Lúthien managed to defeat Sauron by themselves.)
  • Lord Draffut, from Fred Saberhagen's Empire of the East and the Books of Swords, was mutated by tens of thousands of years in proximity to the "Lake of Life." Now he's worshipped as a god of healing. He tells an ally:

 "I was not in the Old World as you see me now. Then I could not think. I was much smaller, and ran behind human beings on four legs. But I could love them, and I did, and I must love them still."

  • Kojak from The Stand is revealed to be not only one of the hardiest dogs left in America, but the smartest... and ends up one of the heroes. He follows the other characters halfway across the continent, then rescues Stu from certain death. He's almost a Marty Pooch.
  • Subverted in the Uplift series - it's hinted at that after Chimps and Dolphins, dogs are the next animals humanity plans to Uplift, implying that they are fairly intelligence.
  • Averted in Robin Mc Kinley's Spindle'sEnd, a rewriting of Sleeping Beauty. Dogs are shown to be loyal guardian types with a sense of dignity, although one dog is also known for her tongue-overfriendiness.


Live-Action TV

  • The dog in Mad About You is actually fairly clever.
  • Lassie is usually smart enough to communicate with humans through barking and body language.
  • The Veterinary Sketch on A Bit of Fry & Laurie featured Stephen Fry as a babblingly stupid dachshund fancier, getting on the nerves of Hugh Laurie's cat-owning character. The end of the sketch reveals that the dachsie is, quite sensibly, taking Stephen in to the vet's to be put down.
  • Despite his laziness Buck the Bundy's dog from Married... with Children is smarter than his owners. Granted, this is not a significant challenge and does not prove that Buck is above canine-normal intelligence.
    • He knows what channel Jeopardy comes on. That's pretty good for a dog, really.
  • Eddie's intelligence is a matter of dispute between Frasier and Martin (one of many, of course) - but the dog that played him must have been a genius.
  • Sue Thomas' dog is very smart.
  • An aversion in Myth Busters, as they showed that, yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks.


Videogames

  • Koromaru from Persona 3 has a human-like intelligence. He may not be smarter than most of the humans in the party, but he could probably give Junpei a good run for his money.
  • Your Mabari war hound in Dragon Age averts this as it is explicitly stated to have human-level intelligence; he's perfectly capable of obeying complex orders and fully understanding human speech, and you may sometimes suspect he's the smartest member of your party.
    • There's a Fereldan proverb: "Mabari are smart enough to know how to talk, and wise enough to know not to."
    • He's also a master manipulator, able to thaw Morrigan into giving him treats, and if you choose him as one of the companions to try and break you out after being captioned, choosing to let Dog bluff succeeds in both cases where it's available.
    • At one point in Dragon Age 2, you can walk into your house and find Varric gambling at cards with your dog. And loosing.
  • Ghost Trick: The subversion in the end is Ray's true identity-a past-timeline Missile who manipulated Sissel into saving Lynne and Kamila while on his Quest for Identity, having went ten years into the past and taking The Slow Path back to the present. The Dog LITERALLY Was The Mastermind.


Western Animation

  • Muttley, the snickering hound, is smarter than Dick Dastardly and company.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog is smarter than his humans more often than not.
  • Watch My Chops is all about the attempts of a talking clever-by-human-standards dog to keep his secret under wraps.
  • American Dragon Jake Long's dog Fu Dog is smart as humans, but he's a magical creature.
  • Same deal with Monroe on The Life and Times of Juniper Lee.
  • The Ren and Stimpy Show subverts and reverses it at the same time with Cats Are Mean - the dog, Ren, is the Jerkass, Ax Crazy and Large Ham, while Stimpy, the cat, is the Cloudcuckoolander, Stupid Good and Genre Blind.
  • Gromit, from Wallace and Gromit. No voice, but easily as intelligent as (if not more than) any other character in the shorts/films. Preston in "A Close Shave" is violent and fairly intelligent, he's also a robot.
    • Gromit's ability to be a master of the silent snark is further evidence of his genius. You know, if being a dog who can build a rocket isn't enough.
  • Brian from Family Guy is generally the smartest character in the show, even if he does have occasional moments of idiocy stemming from him reverting to his dog instincts, his alcoholism, or hanging out with Peter.
    • Actually Stewie is probably smarter than Brian, acting as Brian's tutor to help him pass exams, but there is no question that Brian is brilliant and avoids this trope beautifully.
  • Pork Chop in Doug is portrayed as extremely intelligent by dog standards, to the point where he has human-like mannerisms (though he can't speak intelligibly, he pantomimes frequently.) The series makes it clear that most dogs in the cartoon's world don't act like Pork Chop, however.
  • Santa's Little Helper from The Simpsons varies from episode to episode but (especially in later episodes) is often presented as being pretty clever.
    • Oddly though, his cleverness it usually applied in stealing food.
  • Dukey in Johnny Test is often the voice of reason for his human friend Johnny and constantly exasperated by his silly antics. He is also occasionally the voice of common sense among the Test family.
  • Goofy, of the Classic Disney Shorts, is somewhere in between. He's generally portrayed as a simple country bum type. As A Goofy Movie and the Kingdom Hearts games show, he's generally the wisest of his friends.
    • Or he's so dim-witted that he can have moments of incredibly clear insight.
    • Goofy the character is accident prone and a bit dim. Goofy the actor is still a bit accident prone, but not nearly as dumb.
  • Droopy, the classic MGM cartoon character, is a Deadpan Snarker.
  • Mr. Peabody is the smartest being ever, despite being a dog. He is so intelligent that he builds a time-machine that not only transports him anywhere in time and space, but also allows the traveller to understand the language and dialect of the natives. This allows him to fix errors in history using his super intelligence.
  • Snoopy is generally the most intelligent member of the Peanuts gang; Peppermint Patty even thinks he's human, and refers to him "that kid with the big nose." Snoopy dictates complaint-letters to politicians, plays baseball better than anyone else on the team, surfs, and generally shows up Charlie Brown at everything. He's also the most popular one.
  • Sam the Sheepdog in Looney Tunes continually outsmarts Ralph the Wolf.
  • "Bandit" in Johnny Quest is fairly intelligent for a dog, and often saves Johnny and the team from danger.
  • Brain the aptly named dog in Inspector Gadget, who can talk, disguise himself, and generally ends up cracking the case (along with Penny) instead of the show's eponymous character.
  • "Good batdog."
  • Frisket is fairly intelligent, even managing to understand the Web Riders bizarre beeping language without difficulty (when presented with a Web Rider who knew his name, he reacted to the statement and THEN sniffed, recognizing the speaker).
  • Most, if not all of the dogs from any version of Pound Puppies. Even the occasional ones portrayed as dumb can be seen as aversions, as The Masquerade of dogs being speechless animals has held.
  • Spunky from Rocko's Modern Life. (Ironically, he is descended from intelligent, talking cave-dogs.)


Real Life

  • The Border Collie, the Poodle, and the German Shepherd are considered the three most intelligent breeds of dog in that order. They are said to have the largest "vocabulary" (that is, human words and commands they understand) as well as the best memories as well.
  • Christina H of Cracked, (who on a sitenote, is a cat owner herself) deconstructs this stereotype (at least as far as "dogs are dumb in comparison to cats" goes) in this article of hers.

 Yes, cats themselves are pretty dumb despite what cat propagandists would have you believe. Given two pieces of string, one that gives them food all the time and one that doesn't, cats will never learn to pull just the food string, whereas anyone knows a dog will have it figured out pretty fast (but may also eat the string). Sure, dogs are stereotyped as being lovable but dumb, with cats being their cold-blooded intelligent nemeses, but between that study and everyday observations of either animal staring into a blank corner and barking or meowing for no reason, it seems pretty clear that deep down they're all rock fucking stupid, God bless them.

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