How smart are Sheepdogs?

I am perplexed...every time I read about OES's, it says that they are intelligent and agile. Maggie has gas and looks at me like "Did you hear that? What was that?" And she basically tumbles down the stairs in the big furry ball. I really don't find sheepdogs to be all that intelligent, but I think that's part of their appeal. We have a Goldendoodle, a mix of 2 of the smartest breeds, and I swear she's so smart, even I can't keep up with her. She's tricky and ornery and clever, and I think sometimes she even outsmarts me. And then she comes over and cuddles up to you and you just don't care anymore!
And maybe it's the poodle in her, but I think she doesn't think of herself as a dog. She's not snotty about it, but we'll have all 3 dogs in the backyard, and while Maggie and Oliver play together, she looks in the window at us like, "I'm surrounded by idiots. Get me out of here!"
And also one thing that cracks me up is that even though she's so smart and poised, since she's still a puppy, she has these funny puppy outburst where she chases her tail, and runs laps around the house, prancing around!
Ok, seriously, does anyone here really consider their sheepdog an Einstein? All this information I read makes OES's out to be this sturdy, reliable Lassy, standing tall, the wind blowing through their fur...Maggie stands in the yard, barking at snow, eating mud, and then running up to me like "Hey, what's up? The dirt's especially tasty today, want some?" Not that I'm complaining...she's always so happy with this big smile and she brightens a room whenever she walks in. I couldn't ask for a more amiable kind of dog.
Ok, that's it for now!
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Clyde's tongue never goes all the way all the way in his mouth-- even when it's closed. It's hard to look really smart like that! :)
good point
Is there anyway to move this last discussion on sheepdog intelligence into a new forum? ShaggyMaggie, I'm ROTFLMAO with your post re: sheepdog intelligence!! Could you copy it and start a new string? It's great!

And yes, I agree...........sheepies aren't the smartest bulb on the Christmas tree, but they are truly a novelty light. Maybe one of the bubble type lights?

When compared to my Great Pyrs, the sheepies are real dunces. Perhaps that's why the "official" write up for OES calls them "clowns."
Your wish is my command
The best info I've ever read was one that basically called sheepdogs the "comic relief." I thought that was pretty appropriate.

Or maybe like the 3 Stooges. "Nyuck Nyuck Nyuck"

"The Old English Sheepdog is a loyal breed, known worldwide for its strength, agility, and most of all, intelligence."
I have to admit picturing my sheepdog with the word intelligent next to him doesn't quite work :lol:
..."The best info I've ever read was one that basically called sheepdogs the "comic relief." I thought that was pretty appropriate.

Or maybe like the 3 Stooges. "Nyuck Nyuck Nyuck"

EXACTLY! That's why mine are named (quite by accident) siMOne, Harry (not Larry) and Curly( Jack) OK, I've got a few of the names wrong, but it wasn't my intention to have 3 Stooges.

Stupid? Well my contribution is: When they knock the door open but are too stupid to go out. I have to close it and reopen it so they will go out.

Thanks Ron for moving this to its own forum.!

Shaggymaggie wrote:
Maggie has gas and looks at me like "Did you hear that? What was that?"
I shouldn't have taken a drink before reading that!! LMBO!! :lol:
Jack and Annabelle have the worst gas of any living creature, and almost 2 years of that same loud gas, they still look shocked when it happens. :roll: The only good thing is they can't talk, if they could it would be like when your child does it and is "intelligent" enough to yell, "MOM!" in an accusatory voice. LOL
How about when you have glass patio doors, and they can't quite tell if it is open or closed. I know, lets ram our head into it....Yep, it's closed, but Mom heard me bang my head and now knows I need to go out!! See how intelligent I am!! :D

Stormi and co.
They are brillant!!

Our first sheepdog Prince discovered a way to attract attention
when he wanted to come into the house.

He would run across the yard , trot onto the bulkhead and
jump up ! It was quite a sight to see right outside the kitchen window
this large OES face with ears suspended in air looking back at you!

Twice he did this routine and fell off the side of the bulkhead,
luckily did not injure himself . Even genius has its limitations :D
My favorite is every once in awhile my dogs have this EUREKA! moment.
Like with the cat. She doesn't have front claws, so they love to pick on her. She fights back sufficiently, but I'm always yelling at them, "NO CAT! NO CAT!" and they just look at me like "Yeah right."
So one day Maggie is over at my sister's house and goes running after the cat. Well, THIS cat has all four claws, and Maggie's got him cornered. I'm saying "MAGGIE NO CAT!" and she's not listening, and then she goes in for the fun part, trying to get the cat's head to fit in her mouth, and the cat absolutely rips her a new one.
She comes wimpering back to me and gives me this look like "Mom, you were right."
Well, I warned her... :lol:
Every dog has its moment of brilliance, and every dog also has its moment of dimness.
One night when my dad was out of town, I slept in my mom's bed with her and her dogs to keep them company. Our Golden was sleeping in between us, and I guess he had forgotten I was there, because he woke up, looked over and saw me, and got so excited he started crying! What a dummy!

"Did someone just say treat?"
Shaggymaggie, is this Maggie? She looks like a hypnotist in this picture. maybe like the Persian rug weavers of the past they purposly wove imperfections into the rug because nothing is perfect or something like that. Maybe Maggie is pretending to be spacy because if she didn't she would be perfect. Go figure.
Out of my two girls I would say Dancer is highly intelligent, intuitive even. Sky is intelligent enough, but she does have that goofy shaggy puppy look when you call her name. Cocks her head, tongue lolling, like "What?" Sky is always happy, happy to be alive, happy to love, happy to be loved. Dancer is orderly, seems like she would make an excellent herding prospect. She thrives on routine, and knows when something is off. She knows at least ten toys by name, knows many commands, and seems to understand many sentences, not just keywords.
Sky, well, she's a keyword dog. LOL
We have always said that having Tasker was a bit like having (and please, no offense intended to anyone) our own little special needs child in the house. He is loyal, devoted, lovable, sincere, enthusiatic, jolly, entertaining, comforting, committed, high spirited, welcoming, never dull, always happy but................................ intelligent? NOPE
Norman is exceedingly intelligient, too intelligient if you will. Evil genius comes to mind!

Carl, on the other hand, seems like a total squirrel. Really spacy and airheaded. But apparently that was just our perception. I took him to get evaluated for some high tech dog work and the trainer was really quite impressed with his "logic" skills. He has some problem solving abilities that I thought were just an obsessive behavior.

Who'd have thought...
Henry walks into walls some days. Dumb as a post I would say. Ain't love grand?
Pepsi gives the appearance of the dopey dog....but last week a section of our back fence came down in the middle of the night. Pepsi had gone outside. Then I hear the dog door opening and shutting over and over. I finally got up and put the metal piece over the door. Yelled at Pepsi for waking me up. Then I realize that Peanut & Harley are nowhere to be found. I went to the back door opened it and called for them. Neither came so I just went back to my bedroom. About 10 minutes later I hear the two trying to get in the dog door so I get up and go back to the back door. Pepsi followed me. He then nipped both of them on the head as they came in the door. He slipped passed them and ran to the edge of the yard. I went out to see what he was doing. He was showing me the fence and the reason he was going in and out of the dog door was because his brothers had left the yard through the downed fence and he could not herd his flock. What a good dog and I thought he was just being annoying going in and out of the door. From now on I will say "What is it Lassie?" lol

Panda has a hard time with glass doors, runs into them every time....thank goodness we dont have that type of door in our house. she has also run thru my bosses screen door (which I had warned him that she would...he said "no, shes too smart for that " weeeellllll, guess what??!! She is not brilliant, but she isnt dumb either...a little slow,maybe.. Id put her in the "C" grade catagory...but it is probably because she likes to be the class clown more than studying :D
Zorro at times can appear not to be the sharpest pencil in the pack, like when he looks right at you and then walks under a table and runs into your leg. But he has his periods of brilliance when he copies what my older dog that has passed away since that works, like knocking on the storm door to come in or howling to let my mother, who is hard of hearing, when the phone rings more than twice. He has his "who farted" moments and looking through the french doors with the cocked head asking "are you gonna let me in or what?" But he is loyal as the day is long... Who would trade that?
ah my boys are not called chuckleheads for nothing :clappurple:
Phoebe is rather smart and can figure things out. Winston is a huge, loveable knucklehead.
Like I've said before.
Zeke is kind of a dummy.
He knows his name, how to come, and "no". And that's about it.

But he's the sweetest and I still love & miss him despite his lack of intelligence.
This post made me laugh. It gives back to 2005 and all these years later, we all can still relate!

I happen to think sheepies are VERY intelligent and in fact so much so, they are smarter than us! They can "trick" us into the I am dumb but cute thing and get everything they want! Now, that is intelligent :pupeyes: :pupeyes:
Tonks and Luna are both mad-scientist-taking-over-the-world smart. Don't let your pup fool you. They're so smart, they play dumb!

I wish I was making this up. When my girls were 4 months old, I enrolled them in a 6 week puppy training class. We did all the homework, and the girls really didn't learn much. Class was where they went to goof around and play. Even so, they were advanced to the second class, where they proceeded to still be at the bottom of the class. We re-did the second class, and half way through dropped out, partially because it was just too much for Tonks and Luna to absorb. Or so I thought.

For a variety of reasons, we sought out additional training with a trainer, one on one. Among our problems was just how stupid and distracted both girls were; they learned NOTHING in 14 weeks of puppy classes. Or so I thought. In the first 5 minutes meeting the new trainer, Tonks and Luna did EVERY COMMAND she put to them, every one that we'd covered in class and practiced so hard at home. We were stunned. Our new trainer explained to us that the girls had us wrapped around their finger (paws?). They knew we didn't expect them to get it, that the class' teacher didn't expect them to get it, so they did as little as possible to get by without having to actually work. They trained US into thinking they were dumb, so that we'd have low expectations of them.

So no, Sheepdogs are not slow, they are not dumb. They are just smart in different ways from other dogs. Some dogs want to please you, desperately, and to that end will do whatever you ask. I have found in my short experience, that sheepdogs want to play and goof around more than anything. If training = playtime, then they are on-board. But if its boring and looks way too much like work? No thank you.
I agree with Alison.

Sometimes Tiggy acts really dumb but then she slips up and gives away how smart she is. I haven't quite decided whether she has ADHD or just likes being a clown because it makes me laugh and then she doesn't have to do what she's told.

For example does she run around the living room like a mad thing because she has ADHD and can't concentrate or because it makes me laugh and she doesn't fancy sitting on her bed. I'm beginning to suspect the latter because when she wants a treat she'll sit on her bed like "patience on a monument" until she scores the treat. :oops: :lol:
OK battle of the sexes!!!!

After years of girls, they seem to be smarter, Syd is remedial but a huge sweetie, his sis "Babettte" is sometimes tooooooo smart for her own good. :roll: :lol: :lol:

I am always amazed as most people outside the breed think sheepies are dumb. :roll: BUT we all know better, they are a working breed and soooooo atuned to what is around them and switched on to that, I find them after the pupper stage :headbang: easy to train and click on fast, but there is a variance in "Brain Waves" some click fast others need more training :cow:

After years of smart/alert females I am soooooo enjoying my ooompa loompa giant marshmellow boy. No trouble what-so-ever!!! Feed me, potty me, and I'll love ya to bits. :D :lol:

All sheepies "RULE" and if given the time are clever :wink:
Ashley wrote:
I happen to think sheepies are VERY intelligent and in fact so much so, they are smarter than us! They can "trick" us into the I am dumb but cute thing and get everything they want! Now, that is intelligent :pupeyes: :pupeyes:


Five years later, finally somebody's catching on :roll: :wink: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

How can you resist a sheepie when their ears go up and they cock their head from side to the other, like they're trying to figure out what you want....really they are just showing off their cuteness...I know I fall for Violet's everytime..totally forget what i was saying. :)

The other day the song "Brown Eyed Girl" came on the Radio. My hubby said "Oh, Violet's song is on." At first I didn't get it, then he said "you know she has one blue eye and one brown eye." Done it make my Brown eye Blue) Ok, I get it, just not too sharp that day. lol
I pretty much think they are dumb like a fox.
They are VERY intelligent! Agree with the others that have figured out the 'game' of playing dumb and outsmarting you every time! : :lol: :lol: :lol: With one of mine--I am convinced his 'reasoning skills' are above that of the average child!!
my sheepdog looked dumber than an empty box was so quick to learn new tricks, but after mastering them he no longer had interest, we but a bell on the door so when he wanted out he would ring the bell, we played hide and seek with treats and he would seek till he found his reward,had him for 13 years and he remained a puppy until a few weeks before we had to put him down due to cancer but i would have another one in a heartbeat, best breed ever
Maude, our first Sheepie, lived with my husband's parents before we were married.
They kept her outside, for the most part :( She had a large dog door (my s-i-l St Bernard could squeeze through) to the shed at the back of the garage. For fun, she pulled all of the tools out of the shed (rakes, hoes, etc), along with the 50 lb bags of fertilizer. No holes in the bags of fertilizer either.
She also figured out early that she didn't need to protect if my husband was home, but if he was gone (he had to go out on the rigs sometimes), she was a fierce protector against all threats, real or imagined.
She was never trained to walk off leash, she just did it.
I still miss her and it has been 30+ years.
Mad Dog wrote:
Ashley wrote:
I happen to think sheepies are VERY intelligent and in fact so much so, they are smarter than us! They can "trick" us into the I am dumb but cute thing and get everything they want! Now, that is intelligent :pupeyes: :pupeyes:

Exactly! I had a beardie owner once tell me that sheepdogs were dumb and he would never own one. My response was he wasn't smart enough to own a sheepdog because they obviously have already outsmarted him.

Lily knows over 30 commands/tricks and will do anything I ask her to do but put her in a situation where someone (usually my husband) is a push over and can be fooled, she wouldn't sit even for a treat. She's incredibly smart and has learned to open unlocked windows, doors, refrigerators, cupboards, gates and dog food bins on her own. She does out smart even me occasionally.

I thought lilys brother was a bit of a dunce at first but he was a rescue and adapted/learned quickly once he settled. He had a hard yr and a half of being tied up outside or thrown in a crate. After 2 days he was completely potty trained (which the owner said was impossible) a month he walked well on a leash, learned recall, stay, sit, down, retrained that the crate was a positive thing, off, shake, speak and a few other things in 4 months before he went to his new home. I would say that's pretty smart for a rescue that had no training til 1 1/2 yr old.
I enjoyed reading this string because every time I read about how OES are smart... I'm like... "mine are really not the brightest on the block... is it just me?" so good to hear it wasn't just me. But I do have to say they are (or at least mine were) easy to house train. in fact, we would go outside and I'd tell them to "go pee pee" and they'd immediately go. We have another little SMART dog now - very smart... but she won't do that. She was easy to house train, but she has to find the perfect spot before she goes - regardless of how long it takes. Our OESs also just couldn't be trained to not get in the garbage or stick their heads in the kitty box. It would be a little obvious when we got home and kitty litter was sticking to the hair around their mouths! So we had to devise a system to prevent the cat box from any close encounters at all with the OES and before we left the house we'd have to actually put the garbage can in the garage. It was like they just couldn't help themselves. But SO SO good in every way except that tiny thing. Oh yea, one of them ate a pound of raw hamburger meat off the counter when I wasn't looking once too. I didn't see her, and I wasn't sure which OES did it, but I figured it out by the smell on her breath! She didn't have a clue. How can you not just see the precious nature of an OES?
Let's not forget that dogs are like people and some are quite a bit more intelligent than others! Just saying! I have to laugh at one person in particular on fb who insists they are quite dumb. I think that is more "user error" than dumb dog!

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