Cats Are Mean, right? Dogs, on the other hand, are obedient and loyal. Unfortunately in the modern age, "Loyalty" has been diluted into "stupidity," 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.
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. Wild canines are often the opposite of dumb, including the Noble Wolf, Those Wily Coyotes, and Cunning Like a Fox.
open/close all folders
"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.
It must be bacon, because only one thing smells like bacon, and that's bacon!
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.
Inuyasha is a Half-Human Hybrid whose youkai heritage is canine. He's very simple-minded as a result and his limited intelligence can get him into a lot of trouble. However, his instincts for fighting evil are very powerful and he's therefore capable of surprising acts of wisdom.
Sesshoumaru rarely transforms into his true form. When forced to against Magatsuhi, he becomes entangled in his enemy's tentacles. Jaken notices that all Sesshoumaru needs to do to escape is drop back to his smaller humanoid form and slide out. When Sesshoumaru instead pointlessly shakes his body like a wet dog, Jaken realises Sesshoumaru's true form gives him both his full power and a dog's intellect. An implied telepathic connection between them is revealed when Sesshoumaru first responds to Jaken's tactical analysis to transform and escape and then responds angrily to Jaken's disparaging thoughts regarding canine intellect. The battle is very serious, but the scene regarding Sesshoumaru's dog form is Played for Laughs.
Rantanplan from Lucky Luke is literally Too Dumb to Live (or at least dumber than his own shadow), having nearly drowned or otherwise killed himself numerous times.
Lockjaw isn't actually a dog. He's an Inhuman whose exposure to the Terrigen Mists changed him into a dog-like shape.
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.
The 2006 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 off on people's emotions and is exceedingly patient.
The also-eponymous Bolt is something of an exception, being naive rather than stupid.
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 (in a Scooby-Doo-like voice) are "Play? Play!" This was specifically done to avoid them being portrayed as a vicious attack dog, which is a common fear among children, their target audience.
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.
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 fact, some people have accused Barry of being a dog-hater, apparently not noticing that he has evidently owned multiple dogs for years (Barry himself responding to such claims: "Perhaps from these peoples' perspective, dogs are intelligent, but I'm not going to go there.")
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.
Another obligatory Pratchett example: Laddie in Moving Pictures. His internal voice consists mainly of "Good boy Laddie! Laddie good boy!". Gaspode is a pretty severe aversion, being a dyed-in-the-wool cynic.
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."
The children's chapter books by Lucy Nolan in the series Down Girl and Sit focus on two not-so-bright dogs who believe that "Down Girl" and "Sit" respectively are their names because these two phrases are what they usually hear from their owners.
In So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, there's Know-Nothing Bozo the Non-Wonder Dog, so stupid that it is incapable of eating the right dog food on camera, even when engine oil is poured on the wrong food.
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.
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.
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."
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!"
Kenny from Dogs Of C Kennel, although most of the other dogs are an aversion of the trope.
A great example on an episode of A Prairie Home Companion, during the "Guy Noir" segment. Guy sets out to find a talking dog who's been kidnapped. The character who kidnaps the dog says "At first it's amazing, then you realize, dogs just aren't that smart. He kept saying 'you're barking up the wrong tree!'"
The Eclipse Phase sourcebook "Panopticon" lists "Smart" dogs as having the intelligence of a two-year-old human (which real life dogs are compared to) and a vocabulary of twenty to thirty words (far lower than RL dogs). Smart cats on the other hand have the intelligence of a three-year-old and a vocabulary of thirty to forty-five words.
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).
The dog enemy in BLOODCRUSHER II is notably simple, consisting of just three behaviors; stand out of sight waiting for the player, run in a straight line at the player to attack, and chase any grenades the player throws.
Dogs in Minecraft are rather infamous for falling off of cliffs and into lava, and for attacking anything the player attacks, which could mean their death.
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.
Ironically, certain breeds of sheepdogs (mostly Old English Sheepdogs) are often cast as the stupid dogs due to the shaggy hair covering their eyes. Herding breeds are actually among the most intelligent of dogs; the hair doesn't obstruct their vision at all.
Guess which half of the title CatDog is relevant to this trope. In fact, a good portion of the dogs on CatDog are portrayed this way.
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).
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 recognize 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!
Freakadog from Freakazoid! was not only dumb, but also vicious and rabid.
Dudley from T.U.F.F. Puppy has an assortment of dog stereotypes, plus he occasionally chews on his butt.
Spunky from Rocko's Modern Life drinks his own drool, eats trash, has crossed eyes, fell in love with a mop, and runs into walls.
We learn on Garfield and Friends that dogs actually used to be smart but when they found out that cats are actually alien invaders who have enslaved humanity, our feline overlords lowered their intelligence with a stupidity ray so they wouldn't tell us.
This is simply one of Garfield's fantasies on how cats are superior beings; he also claims that dogs have a very small brain, and that their tongue is nine yards long on average.
Niblet, from the 2010 version of Pound Puppies (who is, incidentally, a sheepdog) is far outstripped in the intelligence department by his teammates... including the squirrels. However, see the Pound Puppies example under aversions for a counterargument.
The Bugs Bunny cartoon Foxy By Proxy features a fat fox hound who is so dumb he couldn't spell "cat" if he was spotted the "c" and the "a." Yet somehow the big lummox winds up triumphant at cartoon's end.
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 a hair-triggered mass of neuroses and melodrama.
Subversions and aversions:
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 examples of this trope are Hanako, who is more of a Cloud Cuckoolander than anything else, and Shokora, whose main problem is that he is Literal-Minded. Mametarou and Sora are subversions: they might have dumb moments, but give no indication that they lack intelligence. Averting this trope outright are Sebastian, Gen, and Jack - Sebastian being fairly down-to-Earth, Gen being an honorable and sensitive Gentle Giant, and Jack being a very intelligent Jerk Ass (later a Jerk with a Heart of Gold).
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.
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 101 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).
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 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.
Kludge from Varjak Paw may not be very bright, but he's loyal to his friends and can speak cat...somewhat.
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.
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.
The dogs in Citizen Dog were jerkasses of normal intelligence while the cats were cheerful Butt Monkeys who were easily entertained by string.
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: Origins 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.
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 II, you can walk into your house and find Varric playing cards with your dog. And losing.
He can even fetch the city guards to arrest a burglar that has broken into your house.
The Mabari hound is a national symbol of Ferelden. You'll see dog motifs in a lot of architecture, affectionate nicknames nobles give their children, and even in coats of arms for nobles. There's a Fereldan proverb: "Mabari are smart enough to know how to talk, and wise enough to know not to."
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.
Inverted and downplayed in Cogito Ergo Sum's series of "escape the room" games, where Nyan the cat frequently finds herself locked out of the apartment and needs Wan the dog's help in order to get back in. Nyan also eagerly jumps to participate in any suspicious special offer she receives, so long as there's a prize is at stake, while Wan just sighs and goes along with her. So she's not entirely stupid, just accident-prone and somewhat gullible.
Muttley, the snickering hound, is smarter than Dick Dastardly and company.
Gromit, from Wallace & 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.
Brian is a bit of a Marty StuAuthor Avatar, but it is occasionally a plot point that while he's legitimately pretty smart (definitely smarter than Peter, for example), he's not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. There's an episode where he writes a best-selling book and goes on the Bill Maher show, and Maher and the other guests tear him and his book to pieces.
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.
Though as anyone with a dog will tell you, 99% of dog intelligence is focused on food and getting to places they're not supposed to sleep.
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 the character is accident prone and a bit dim. Goofy the actor is still a bit accident prone, but not nearly as dumb.
The fact that dog-type dogs (e.g. Pluto) exist in the Disney canon casts some doubt on what Goofy actually is. He was originally called "Dippy Dawg", and it's plausible that in the Disneyverse "dawgs" are a distinct species that happens to be somewhat dog-like.
Mr. Peabody (Rocky and Bullwinkle, Mr. Peabody & Sherman) 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.
In the original series, Mr. Peabody basically treats Sherman as a pet, even introducing himself "I'm Mr. Peabody, and this is my boy, Sherman." In the movie, he's more of a loving father.
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.
Barnyard Dawg generally outsmarts Foghorn Leghorn in his appearances.
"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 understand English, use machines, disguise himself, and generally ends up cracking the case (along with Penny) instead of the show's eponymous character.
Batman Beyond: Being a trained attack dog for the Goddamn Batman, the Bat-Dog is extraordinarily smart.
ReBoot: 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 PoundPuppies. 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.)
Kevin from Mr. Bogus is actually quite intelligent, often occasionally helping Bogus out with any problem that arises in the Anybody residence.
Relative to most animal life, this trope is completely averted by real dogs. Wolves, from which dogs descend, are "political" animals; they are social creatures mostly safe from predation which have a complex, fluid group hierarchies. These creatures have sufficient advantages over their environment that the greatest inhibition to reproduction is each other, meaning that in order to pass on your genetics, it's not enough to just be strong or fast: you have to be smarter than your fellows as well, which selects for intelligence and social savvy over generations. This is a category shared with whales and dolphins, grey parrots, gorillas, and humans, all known for being remarkable smart. Well, most of them, at least.
Most dogs can understand up to 165 words, and some are able to understand even more, to one extreme case where a dog could understand up to three hundred words. Note the reaction to words like "Walk," "Treat," and "Bad." They get it.
If you say several words in the same tone, dogs will eventually learn one or two of them.
Though it's less the actual words and more your tone and body language. Still, for a non-human animal to even be able to understand you by how you talk, your facial expressions, and how you carry yourself is pretty amazing.
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.
Dogs have been noted as being able to understand explicit gestures by humans, such as pointing at objects of interest, that not even chimpanzees can. They also can read human facial expressions, and lab tests show that they read human faces exactly the same way that humans do, even though they don't do this with each other. One study discovered an extremely intelligent Border Collie that was smart enough to understand abstract concepts like names given to her toys, difference in scale (i.e. showing her a small ball would result in her fetching a similar but larger ball) and being able to interpret the connection between a two-dimensional drawing and the three-dimensional object it depicts, putting her roughly on a par with a two year-old human, and above the vast majority of other animals.
She was also able to utilize the reasoning process of elimination, fetching the one toy whose name she did not know when given a name she was unfamiliar with.
In a recent experiment, some dogs were left in a room with a human volunteer and some food. The dogs were explicitly trained and instructed to not take the food, then after a while the lights were turned off. Many of the dogs tried to take the food when the lights went out, seemingly because the human volunteers could not see. Dogs, if only on a fundamental level, understand the concept of deception.
It should be noted that dogs have significantly better low-light vision than humans.
Its more than that. Unlike wolf packs, Moscow's stray dogs, particularly the beggar dogs, have a hierarchy where dominance is determined by intelligence rather than physical strength. Not only do they know how to navigate the subway systems as demonstrated above, but also recognize and use crosswalk signals with fatalities being a rarity. They are adept at figuring out the psychologies of each person in order to determine which technique will work best, even sending out their cutest, smallest members of the pack to garner more success in begging from them.
Dogs are intelligent animals, but they are less intelligent than their wolf ancestors due to a process known as Neoteny. Basically, as a side effect of domestication we made them not as smart as wolves.