What Animals are the Smartest?

by | Aug 29, 2017


What animals are the smartest (after humans – who aren’t looking very smart these days)? It’s somewhat of a difficult question.  There is no one standard measure for intelligence and it is difficult to say that one species is definitively more intelligent than another. Different researchers rank animal intelligence differently. However, looking at a lot of lists from different sources, there is a lot of overlap and here is a pretty representative list of how researchers rank them:

11. Rats – they are quite cunning. In experiments can find shortcuts and escape routes and have colonized every continent except Antarctica

10. Octopus – they play, can solve problems and navigate mazes

9. Pigeons – can identify themselves in a mirror, have demonstrated the ability to differentiate subtle differences between objects and can recognize hundreds of images

8. Squirrels – They are cunning and as an example are known to put on elaborate bogus food burying displays to deceive onlookers. They are highly adaptable to a wide array of environments

7. Dogs – are highly trainable, can understand complex demands and have problem solving skills.

6. Pigs – Are at least as trainable as cats and dogs and have relatively advanced problem solving skills and distinct personalities

5. Crows – display advanced communication skills and a high degree of cleverness.  For example – crows living in urban areas are known to gather nuts from trees and then place them in the street for passing cars to crack open the shells, wait until traffic has cleared and then gather the nuts

4. Elephants – are highly trainable and have the ability to fashion and use tools

3. Orangutan – as well as other great apes have strong cultures, highly developed communication, use tools and spend years rearing and training their young

2. Dolphins – are extremely social, have a very sophisticated language and use tools in their natural environment. They are highly trainable and spend years training their own young.

1. Chimpanzee – they can make and use tools and use advanced problem-solving. They are highly social and cultures are complex with hierarchical structures. They can learn sign language and have shown the ability to understand abstract concepts.


  1. Just hope one isn’t named Mr Ed…..

  2. Oh no, my wonderful horses didn’t make the list.

    • Michael, you have horses?


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