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New study reveals the smartest dog breed—and it's not the one you might expect

Move over, border collies, there's a new top dog in town.

Belgian Malinois dog
Photo by Anthony Duran on Unsplash

Belgian Malinois, the smartest dog breed.

If you Google "smartest dog breeds," most lists you'll find put border collies in the No. 1 spot, followed in some order by poodles, German shepherds and golden retrievers.

But a new study of canine cognition from the University of Helsinki puts a whole different breed at the top of the ladder—one that most of us have probably seen before but haven't heard the name of—the Belgian Malinois.

Best known as a police or security dog, the Belgian Malinois is a shepherd breed that looks very similar to a German shepherd. Both breeds are of similar height and coloring, but the Malinois is lighter weight and its ears are more triangular-shaped, according to the American Kennel Club.


So what is it that makes the Belgian Malinois more intelligent than other dog breeds?

The study published in Scientific Reports analyzed 1,002 dogs from 13 different breeds using a battery of smartDOG cognition tests. These tests involve food reward tasks that determine a dog's capacity for memory, problem-solving, impulse control, reading human gestures, copying human behavior and logical reasoning. Despite a wide field of research on dogs, according to the study, only a handful of studies have examined cognition of specific breeds instead of breed groups. Additionally, not much empirical research has been done on nonsocial cognitive traits such as memory, inhibitory control, spatial problem-solving and logical reasoning—all of which were covered in this study.

The researchers identified a few different tests as signifying high intelligence. For the most significant measure of intelligence, logical reasoning, the study revealed no significant difference between the dog breeds. So the three tests the authors singled out instead for measuring and comparing intelligence, according to The Telegraph, were:

- A V-detour test, in which a dog had to detour around a transparent V-shaped fence to get to a food reward, showing some problem-solving ability.

- A human gesture reading test, in which a dog's response to five gestures—constant pointing, brief pointing, pointing with the foot, pointing at something while facing another direction and following a human's gaze—was measured.

- An unsolvable task test, in which a dog tries to access food in an unopenable box, measuring independence and how quickly a dog asked a human for help.

The Belgian Malinois scored 35 out of a possible 39 points on these three tasks, making it the top scorer for high intelligence overall. Border collies came in second with 26 points and hovawarts came in third at 25 points.

The study authors point out that there are strengths and weaknesses in most breeds. Some score very high on some tests and very low on others. Some breeds saw middle-of-the-road scores across most tests.

According to IFLScience, one weakness the Malinois showed was in the cylinder test, in which a dog is taught to retrieve a piece of food from inside an opaque cylinder. The opaque cylinder then gets replaced with a transparent one to see if the dog will go around to the end of the cylinder to retrieve the treat, as it did with the opaque one, or try to go directly through the side of the cylinder to get to it. This test measures inhibition, and the Malinois scored among the lowest of all breeds on it.

Every dog has its bright and dim spots, but it's clear why the Malinois is a dog of choice for security work. High intelligence, of course, but even being low on inhibition can be seen as a plus for a working dog that needs to be highly responsive and act quickly when needed.

“The Belgian Shepherd Malinois stood out in many of the cognitive tasks, having very good results in a majority of the tests,” study author and owner and CEO of smartDOG Dr. Katriina Tiira told The Telegraph.

“Border Collies also performed well in many of the tests," she added.

A young woman drinking bottled water outdoors before exercising.



The Story of Bottled Waterwww.youtube.com

Here are six facts from the video above by The Story of Stuff Project that I'll definitely remember next time I'm tempted to buy bottled water.

1. Bottled water is more expensive than tap water (and not just a little).

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube


A Business Insider column noted that two-thirds of the bottled water sold in the United States is in individual 16.9-ounce bottles, which comes out to roughly $7.50 per gallon. That's about 2,000 times higher than the cost of a gallon of tap water.

And in an article in 20 Something Finance, G.E. Miller investigated the cost of bottled versus tap water for himself. He found that he could fill 4,787 20-ounce bottles with tap water for only $2.10! So if he paid $1 for a bottled water, he'd be paying 2,279 times the cost of tap.

2. Bottled water could potentially be of lower quality than tap water.

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A teacher collcts "rent" from ger 3rd-grade students.

Financial literacy is one of the most essential life skills determining someone’s future success and mental and physical well-being. However, only 17% of American students must pass just one semester of a financial literacy-based class to graduate.

This development flies in the face of public opinion on the topic. A recent poll found that 88% of Americans wish they had been taught financial literacy in school. The same number said their state should require either a semester or year-long personal finance course for graduation.

A teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina, has taken that problem to heart and is giving her 3rd-grade class rigorous, hands-on lessons on the importance of personal finance.

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Joy

A 9-yr-old cheerleader’s veteran dad couldn't help with her routine, so a high schooler ran to her side

Sensing something was wrong, he sprang to action with many witnessing his kind act.

Images from YouTube video.

Addie Rodriguez does her cheer.

Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Pop Culture

Elmo did a well-being check-in with everyone and unintentionally opened the floodgates

The response was massive, and Sesame Street's follow-up was perfection.

Elmo's check-in brought out thousands of emotional responses.

Few things evoke a visceral comfort response in people of all ages like the colorful characters of Sesame Street. Millions of us grew up with Elmo, Big Bird, Bert & Ernie, Grover, Oscar the Grouch and the rest, and have nothing but warm, positive memories associated with them.

So when Elmo asked all the grownups on X to how they were doing, it triggered a deluge that spoke to people's need to share their mental and emotional struggles as well as the safe place Sesame Street has been for generations.

It all began with a simple question: "Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?"

Elmo surely did not expect thousands upon thousands of people to dump their emotional loads on him like they were in a therapy session, but that's exactly what happened.

Not only did people respond that they were tired—a common refrain—but they also shared about the deaths of loved ones, their relationship struggles, jobs they'd been laid off from, their feelings of despair and depression. Clearly, some people needed a place to put their woes, and who better to receive them than a beloved childhood character who we know understands and accepts us unconditionally?

To Sesame Street's credit, they handled the trauma dump as best a fictional world filled with fictional characters possibly could. After the initial post's impact, Elmo posted, "Wow! Elmo is glad he asked! Elmo learned that it is important to ask a friend how they are doing. Elmo will check in again soon, friends! Elmo loves you." Elmo added the hashtag #EmotionalWellBeing.

And then the other Sesame Street characters started chiming in.

One by one, all perfectly in character, the Sesame Street crew showed up on their respective accounts to offer their support, all using the #EmotionalWellBeing hashtag.

"I'm here if you ever need a shoulder to lean on. I'll make us both a warm cup of tea," wrote Bert.

"If you need some cheering up, let me know! I love making others smile," wrote Ernie.

"Me here to talk it out whenever you want. Me will also supply cookies," wrote Cookie Monster.

"I, Grover, am here to be a good listener whenever you need it," wrote Grover.

Even Oscar the Grouch weighed in with some honesty and support. "I'm not great at listening to other share their big feelings, but my worm Slimey is. You should talk with him if you ever need to chat."

Yes, it's silly. But it's also not, because Sesame Street truly has been a lifeline for countless kids who found solace, support and celebration of themselves in those beloved characters, sometimes even more than they found at home.

The main Sesame Street account also shared a link to mental health resources.

But the wave of support and words of kindness and understanding didn't stay confined to Sesame Street. All kinds of big accounts, from NASA and the United Nations to Xbox and Verizon—even the President of the United States himself—weighed in with gratitude for Elmo checking in and reminders that we're all making our way through this life together.

Does it get more wholesome than NASA reminding us we're made of stardust?

The entire phenomenon was a testament to the enduring influence of Sesame Street, but also a good reminder to check in with people once in a while. You never know who might need to offload some emotional weight, and as cathartic as it might feel to drop it all on a beloved icon like Elmo, nothing compares to a real-life friend who offers a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.

Thank you for the inspiration, Sesame Street creators. Still managing to nurture the children within us, all these years later.

Four cousins hanging out in the yard.

The birth rate in the U.S. has steadily declined since the Great Recession. Between 2007 and 2023, it has decreased by nearly 23%. In 1950, the average American woman had 3 children. Now, she has only 1.6, which is drastically lower than the replacement rate of 2.1.

The dropping birthrate has many worried that it will upend government programs because there won’t be enough young people to work and pay taxes to support older people on Social Security and Medicare.

Faith Hill from The Atlantic recently illustrated another problem with the declining birthrate in the U.S. and Europe that no one talks about: the decline of cousins.

“If everyone hypothetically went from having five kids to having four kids, that would mean one less sibling for each child,” Hill wrote, quoting demographer Sha Jiang. “But it would yield a much bigger decrease in first cousins: Instead of a child having four aunts or uncles who each have five kids—20 cousins—they would have three aunts or uncles who each have four kids, for a total of 12.”

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Who knew the award-winning actress was a "Team America" fan?

George Biard/Wikipedia,Paramount Pictures/Wikipedia

Jodie Foster recently said that everyone should see "Team America" at lest once?

With a lengthy list of credits in critically acclaimed films like “Taxi Driver” and “Silence of the Lambs,” not to mention being a highly successful director for decades, you can probably trust any movie recommendations Jodie Foster gives you.

Recently Foster was asked in Interview magazine to pick one movie she thought everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.

Pulling a pretty badass move, the legendary filmmaker gave not one, but two movies. And one of her recommendations might come as a surprise.

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