The Ultimate Dog Vocabulary Quiz

Estimated Completion Time
1 min
The Ultimate Dog Vocabulary Quiz
Image: Dirk Anschutz/Taxi Collection/Getty Images

About This Quiz

How much do dogs understand? Do they have vocabulary comprehension and retention? Can they say "Woof!" and mean it? Take this quiz and learn more about whether dogs understand words.
According to psychologist Stanley Coren, how many words does a trained dog know?
about 60
about 100
about 160
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

He believes that trained dogs know about 160 words. That's more than the average three-year-old kid!

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When did researchers successfully train chimpanzees to use sign language?
in the 1950s
in the 1970s
in the 1990s
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

They did this in the 1970s when they trained chimps to use and read sign language.

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Which animal can be trained to speak human words?
the parrot
the dog
the monkey
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The parrot, of course! Polly want a cracker?

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In a certain study, Rico, a border collie, displayed his knowledge of 200 words. How did researchers test whether he could expand his vocabulary?
They repeated word after word until Rico showed he understood them.
They gave him a new word list and got him to bark when he understood them.
They introduced new items and words and Rico caught on 70 percent of the time.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

They introduced new items with their corresponding names and had Rico fetch the items. Rico caught on 70 percent of the time.

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Remembering words after exposure to them for one time only is called:
good luck
fast-mapping
brain train
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

It's called fast-mapping and it applies to humans as well. Children do this often in their language acquisition.

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In the 1900s, a horse named Clever Hans appeared to be able to do math. Upon investigation, what did they discover about Clever Hans?
He had an IQ of 180.
He was a fraud.
He was just responding to subtle, unconscious cues.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The horse, it seems, was just responding to subtle, unconscious cues from people. He couldn't do math at all!

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How does language acquisition begin?
The learner associates sounds with items or concepts.
The learner listens out for repetitive sounds.
The learner hears a word and repeats it.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The learner, whether human or animal, associates sounds with items or concepts. "Bottle" is a sound the baby hears, which he associates with the drink he loves. Similarly, "No!" is a sound he hears, which he associates with something forbidden.

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Which things do dogs understand, abstract or concrete concepts?
both abstract and concrete concepts
concrete concepts only
abstract concepts only
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Dogs only understand concrete concepts, such as toy, food, bowl. They don't understand abstract concepts, like love, hate, happy.

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Some linguists say that dogs do not understand language because:
they can't repeat words
they don't understand syntax
they have limited vocabulary retention
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

They say that language acquisition is defined by an understanding of syntax and therefore dogs do not understand language.

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Does body language play a part in a dog's ability to understand language?
possibly
not likely
it can't be proven either way
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Many researchers believe that it is possible that, rather than understanding words per se, the dog is actually reading body language for cues to behavior.

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You Got:
/10
Dirk Anschutz/Taxi Collection/Getty Images