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If I said to any Kerry owner that their dog could understand words and had the ability to learn new ones as quickly as many children, I am sure they would say, “What took you so long to figure that out?” Well, scientists had to make sure that what we have know for years could be scientifically proven.

A June 10, 2004 CNN article reported that German researchers, led by Julia Fischer of the Max Planck Institue for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, have been studying a Border Collie and his understanding of language. They can now report that they believe that the dog’s vocabulary is about the same as apes, dolphins and parrots who have been trained to understand words.

In addition, they believe that the dog can figure out what new words mean. They did this by placing several known toys in a room along with a new toy that the dog had never seen before. They asked the dog to fetch this new toy, giving it a name that the dog never heard before. The dog figured it out, and was able to bring back the correct toy 7 out of 10 times.

Patti Strand, American Kennel Club board member said, “Thanks to the researchers who’ve proven that people who talk to their dogs are cutting-edge communicators, not just a bunch of eccentrics.”

Some people try to spell out words so their Kerries won’t understand what they are saying. The problem is, Kerries have figured that out as well.

Carol Kearney


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