Are Horses Smarter Than Dogs?

Horses and dogs are two very different animals. However, they’ve both been domesticated by humans for centuries. People often wonder which animal is smarter. This could be smarter in general or smarter when taking and understanding commands.

Regarding a comparison, it is hard to find which animal is smarter. This is because both animals are smarter in their ways. Dogs are more socially intelligent and find it easier to learn new tricks. Meanwhile, horses tend to be more emotionally intelligent. They can understand different forms of communication, even if these types are non-verbal.

It is important to understand that dogs and horses are both intelligent animals. They are just smart in different ways. Let’s delve further into this topic. 

Horses and Their Intelligence

To compare dogs and horses in their intelligence we must first establish that we are not only looking at IQ but EQ as well. EQ is defined as emotional intelligence. This includes the ability to understand and perceive emotions. Horses have a higher EQ as they can easily understand and register emotions even when they have been communicated nonverbally. An example of this is when the owner is sad or frustrated around the horse, it tends to pick up on these emotions. It may offer comfort or assign these negative emotions to the owner themselves.

This includes emotional understanding between both humans and other horses.

Horses register body language instead. While this requires a lot more time and patience from the trainer, it proves very useful in getting horses to understand emotional cues. 

A horse’s brain is also heavier than that of a dog’s. This allows them to retain emotional cues as well as learn things at a deeper level. To further look into a horse’s brain, especially in comparison to a human’s brain, take a look at this article:,of%20a%20human%20child’s%20brain.


Horses also tend to be more perceptive. This is because they are prey animals and have developed a sense of understanding when a threat is near based on the changes in stimuli that might otherwise go unnoticed by other animals, regardless of how smart they are. 

This makes them extremely sensitive when it comes to any sort of danger. They can pick up the signs almost instantly.

This level of sensitivity and perception allows them to understand and respond to human emotions. They can also retain memories of the way a person would react to an unpleasant situation and use this to pick up even the smallest of cues from them.

Ability to Form Bonds

Horses are also able to form very strong bonds with human beings. They rely on their handlers for a sense of safety and security in situations where they may feel panicked. 

Strong Memory Retention

Horses have excellent memory. This makes it so that they are able to remember the faces of the people they’ve met more than ten years ago! 

This is a clear sign of intelligence as they are able to retain these memories and use them at a later date. An example of this is the fact that horses, when given food a certain way will respond in a particular manner no matter how long it’s been since they saw the trick.

Dogs and Their Intelligence

Dogs tend to be more socially intelligent when compared to horses. They can be trained easily and have a relatively good memory. 

This isn’t just any other kind of training. Dogs can understand up to 150+ words that they are taught. This makes them good guide dogs for people with disabilities such as sightlessness, etc.  Dogs will be trained in guiding their owners in public spaces in order to ensure their safety.

Sense of Smell

Dogs also have an incredible sense of smell which helps when it comes to using dogs as part of the police force, etc. 

This allows them to track down smells from perhaps a piece of clothing belonging to the person they’re looking for. Because of this reason, they are often employed by military organizations as well as police in order to help them locate trafficking victims, for example. 

This alone is a testament to their intelligence.

Apart from this, their sense of smell has proven to even sniff out cancer in their owners. This has been a major benefit for those who might be in their earlier stages of cancer. They are then able to get the help they need to have the best chances to remove the diseased area altogether!

Excellent Companions

Dogs, in a fact that is well known, are exceptional companions. They are able to provide a wholesome amount of love to their owners. They also act as support animals for those who are going through hard times and need someone to keep them company. 


Dogs are extremely reliable and loyal animals. They will always be there for their owners regardless of what is going on. This loyalty extends to protecting their owners against any harm, even if the source of harm is much more dangerous than they can handle.


Dogs also have incredible memory! They are able to retain information at an amazing rate. This allows them to learn tricks and learn commands so they can support their owners as best they can.

As can be seen from this article, both animals are extremely intelligent in their own capacities. While horses are more spatially and emotionally aware, dogs are more socially aware and are able to provide the best kind of support there is to give to their owners.


Horses and dogs both have things that make them incredibly intelligent. However, it is important to note that neither animal ‘wins’ when it comes down to it. This is simply because both animals are smart but in their own ways. Horses are able to hone their skills by keeping an eye out for threats, communicating with their owners and other horses through non-verbal language, and understanding non-verbal cues. 

Dogs, on the other hand, are socially aware, incredible companions, and have extraordinary memories. Both animals are amazing domesticated animals that serve their own purpose to their owners. Therefore, it is fair to conclude that neither one is smarter than the other; they are simply smarter in their own capacities.

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