iD magazine

Which animal has the better brain?


Dog and cat owners have long argued about which pet is smarter. Cat owners see a feline’s self-reliance as a sign of intelligen­ce, while dog owners cite a canine’s ability to master complex tasks. Neuroscien­tists at Vanderbilt University decided to find out by measuring the number of neurons in each animal’s brain. Result: At 530 million, dogs have about twice as many neurons as cats, and it wasn’t just a question of dogs having a bigger brain: A brown bear’s neuron count was on par with a cat’s despite its brain being 10 times larger. Surprising standout: the raccoon, which has as many neurons as a dog in a cat-size brain.

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