Genius Dog Challenge kicks off to determine if 6 of the world’s smartest dogs can learn new names

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Hungarian researchers are running the Genius Dog Challenge, which pits six of the world’s smartest dogs against each other to show who is best at learning the names of new objects.

The event begins Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET and ends Monday, November 16. The competition will be broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook.

“The Genius Dog Challenge is part of a larger research project on language learning and processing in dogs,” Dr Claudia Fugazza, dog behavior researcher at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, told CNN. .

“We have been looking for two and a half years for dogs that have shown the ability to learn object names and have found that this appears to be a rare skill. While most dogs have a hard time learning even a few names, some rare people seem to be very good at this and can learn multiple object names very easily. ”

All the dogs participating in the competition are Border Collies and come from Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Hungary and Florida.Fugazza said that they are not actively looking only for Border Collies, but that almost every dog ​​they have found that possesses this skill is of this breed. She said she tested a Yorkshire terrier several years ago who had this rare skill but the dog died.

The first stage of the competition gives participants a week to learn the names of six toys, and the second stage will double that number and see if they can learn the names of 12 toys.

Squall, 4, is from Florida and knows the names of at least 55 toys. Gaia, 2, from Brazil, knows the names of more than 80 toys. Nalani is a 7 year old from the Netherlands and knows the names of over 75 toys. Rico, 4, is from Spain and knows the names of around 30 toys. Max, 2, lives in Budapest and should know the names of over 100 toys once the competition is over. Whiskey, 7, is from Norway and already knows the names of over 100 toys.

Researchers hope the event will help them find new research topics and answer two important questions: What makes these dogs special and different from other dogs, and where their outstanding performance comes from. ?

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