"Sit', 'Lie down', 'No'...According to a study, dogs understand an average of 89 words

Little girl teaching maths to a dog dog-wow © Olex2018 - Shutterstock

According to a recent study published by two scientists from Dalhousie University in Canada, dogs can understand up to 215 words.

By Emilie Heyl

Published on the , Updated on the

How many words do you think your pet can understand? Catherine Reeve and Sophie Jacques, researchers at Dalhousie University in Canada, have investigated this question.


After interviewing more than 100 owners of various dog breeds, the scientists found that dogs can understand up to 215 words. On average, canines can understand 89 words.

Not surprisingly, dogs were able to understand "their own name" as well as commands such as "sit", "lie down", "don't move" and "no".

According to the results of the study, sheepdogs (Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, German Shepherd) and small dogs (Bichon Frise, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua) know more words and sentences than other dog breeds.

Dogs have adapted to humans

The study states that "domestic dogs have learned to respond to human verbal cues at a level unmatched by other species".

Furthermore, "their ability to respond to communication cues is essential for the many work and family roles they play in our lives".

The study concludes that dogs are better at responding to human commands than to object words.

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