Many dog owners like to think they have the smartest dog on the block. And, while your dog can bark on command and roll over, just how bright is your furry four-legged friend? A study by psychology professor and neuropsychological researcher at the University of British Columbia, and author of The Intelligence of Dogs, Stanley Coren compiled a ranking of 110 dog breeds based on a survey by more than 200 professional dog obedience judges. 'There were some surprises. A few breeds were higher or lower than expected, but the overall pattern was what was expected,' Coren says. 'For the top 10, the majority were sporting breeds, the Poodle may have been a surprise, but it's a retriever by nature.' As the No 2 ranked breed behind the Border Collie, the Poodle is a natural retriever in waters. Coren says the Poodle's unique haircut was originally intended to keep vital organs warm after swimming, while reducing water weight retained by thick, long hair. According to the author, the average dog is equivalent to a two-year-old child. The average dog can understand about 165 words, signs and signals, while a very clever one is about 21/2 years old and can understand about 250 words. 'However, some people have been pushing those limits, and increasing a dog's lexicon,' he says. Of the herding breeds, Coren says, three are in the top 10: Border Collies, German Shepherds and Australian Cattle dogs. 'The expectation of retrievers would be high and they are quite intellectual, partly because retrievers pay a lot of attention to humans. But I was surprised Hounds came out as low as they did,' he says. The Golden Retriever ranked fourth and the Labrador seventh. In terms of knowing who's boss, Coren points out a dog's social intelligence equates more to a teenager. 'They know who is moving up in the pack, and who is sleeping with who,' he says. Coren's findings were also based on three types of intelligence: adaptive; instinctive and working or obedience intelligence. Adaptive intelligence shows a dog's ability to learn and solve problems, which is specific to an individual animal and is measured by canine IQ tests. The professor teaches obedience classes and remembers a bright Golden Retriever. The owner said to it: 'Come over here and sit down.' The dog started dragging itself across the floor - the dog was trying to do all three commands at once: come, sit and down. For those thinking of getting a dog, Coren suggests owners consider how happy it will be according to its intelligence. 'If you have a job that gets you out of the house for 10 hours a day, an intelligent dog will get bored and try to amuse itself by destroying your sofa,' he says. 'But for Bulldogs, third from the bottom of the list, it would take them eight hours to figure out you were gone. And you'll come home with your furniture still intact.' As the owner of three dogs - a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named Dancer, a Beagle named Darby, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Ripley - Coren has never owned a dog in the top 10. 'I've reached a point in my life where I have grandchildren, and if you have a 75-pound bouncing dog, you need to be able to control it,' he says. 'You can get some big dogs that are sociable and tolerable [of kids], but they can still knock over a child and do some damage.' The second type of intelligence, instinctive, shows what a dog was bred to do. Herding dogs herd, Terriers hunt and go down burrows after prey, and Retrievers retrieve. 'We have prewired dogs to do these things. I remember last summer, when a Shetland Sheepdog tried to herd ripples in a puddle,' Coren recalls. So can you teach a dog to be smarter than your neighbour's pooch? 'How you rear a dog can make them more intelligent and stable. With a perfect dog, you need to start from about three weeks of age - give them extra stimulation and experience,' Coren says.