Sheep are no. 17 on this list of Top 25 Most Intelligent Animals on Earth. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

I’m always a little wary of smart animal lists for two reasons. The first is that I know without a doubt that my greyhound, Chic, is the smartest dog in the world, yet greyhounds rarely rank in the top 10 on any expert’s list of intelligent dog breeds. I tell myself that’s just because greyhounds don’t find doing what humans want them to do particularly appealing.

Which brings me to reason number two. It’s very hard for us humans to step outside the biases of our own species when placing judgment on a different one. What may seem like astute behavior to us may have no use or meaning within that other community.

Even so, it’s fun to look at such lists to learn more about animal behavior and gain an appreciation for each species’ abilities and talents. While watching the video below, titled 25 Most Intelligent Animals on Earth, you might, like me, not be surprised to find bottlenose dolphins or crows listed here but astonished by the inclusion of sheep and squirrels.

I think my greyhound is the smartest dog in the world. ©John T. Andrews

The list was compiled by Syed Balkhi and David Pegg, former college roommates at the University of Florida who enjoyed finding bizarre yet interesting information on the Internet and sharing it with their friends. Their joint passion led them to create List25, a collaborative project in which the two compile daily Top 25 lists of lesser-known but interesting information. After viewing the video, let us know if there’s a species you’d nominate for inclusion.

As for me, I’d like the dog category broken down, with greyhounds positioned at the top of the list.

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,


If you’d like to see chimpanzees, whales, elephants, orangutans or sea lions in the wild (nos. 1, 5, 8, 20 and 21 on this list of intelligent animals, check out our African safaris, British Columbia trip, Borneo journey and Galapagos expeditions.