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Canine IQ test 'may boost dementia fight'

Monday February 8th 2016

Clever pet dogs could be used in the battle against dementia and other long-term health problems following the development of a new canine intelligence test.

Scientists say that - just like humans - dogs that excel in one task are more likely to perform better than average in other ones as well.

Previous research has shown that people with higher IQs often live longer and the scientists say if they can show the same is true among dogs it may boost understanding of dementia and other conditions.

The new IQ test has been developed by researchers at the London School of Economics and Edinburgh University.

One element involves dogs having to work out how to reach food placed behind a barrier without just digging underneath it. Another task measures how closely dogs pay attention to people pointing. And another looks at dogs' ability to measure food portions by giving them a choice of two differently sized meals.

Dr Rosalind Arden says she hopes the findings will improve understanding of the link between health and intelligence in both dogs and people.

Copyright Press Association 2016