How Big is a Dog’s Brain? Facts on Canine Brain Size

You may be surprised how big is a dog’s brain. In this article, we explore fascinating facts about canine brain dimensions. Learn how brain size varies between breeds, compares to body mass, differs from other mammals, and what it reveals about intelligence. Discover surprising statistics on how big dog brains measure up.

𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐁𝐢𝐠 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐃𝐨𝐠’𝐬 𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧?

On average, a dog’s brain accounts for 0.5% of their total body weight. But size varies greatly by breed – a Chihuahua’s brain is around 5 cubic inches, while a Great Dane’s can exceed 160 cubic inches! Still, adjusted for body mass, all dogs have similar brain-to-body ratios.

𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐒𝐢𝐳𝐞 𝐕𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐁𝐞𝐭𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐃𝐨𝐠 𝐁𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐬?

Certain breeds of dogs have naturally larger brains, while others have bigger brains due to their size. Working/herding breeds like German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Dobermans, and Labrador Retrievers have some of the biggest brains. Their large brain capacity may be linked to trainability and the need for mental exercise.

𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐃𝐨𝐠 𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐒𝐢𝐳𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐁𝐨𝐝𝐲 𝐒𝐢𝐳𝐞?

Remarkably, dog brains maintain an average brain-to-body mass ratio of 0.5%, regardless of breed size. Smaller dogs have tiny but proportional brains. This steady ratio reflects their evolution and cognitive needs.

𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐃𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐚 𝐃𝐨𝐠’𝐬 𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐆𝐫𝐨𝐰?

At birth, a puppy’s brain is about 90% of its adult weight. Rapid brain growth occurs during the first 2-3 weeks of life, reaching adult size by about 12 weeks old. Their skulls provide space for the brain to grow.

𝐈𝐬 𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐒𝐢𝐳𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐑𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐃𝐨𝐠𝐬?

Not necessarily – smaller breeds can be just as intelligent as larger breeds. Overall, size doesn’t determine intelligence. However, brain structure does impact learning ability. Bigger brains may allow more neural connections.

𝐖𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐃𝐨𝐠 𝐇𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐚𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧?

The Great Dane holds the record for the most giant dog brain, averaging over 160 cubic inches. Other big brains are found in the Bulldog, German Shepherd, and Bloodhound. But large size alone doesn’t predict smarts!


While size varies dramatically between breeds, a dog’s brain maintains an ideal ratio with body mass. And some small pups can outsmart dogs with bigger brains! So don’t underestimate your dog based on brain size alone.


𝐐: 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐨𝐠 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧?

A: The smallest dog brains are in toy breeds like the Chihuahua, Papillon, and Pomeranian. But their tiny brains are proportional to their miniature size.

𝐐: 𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐛𝐢𝐠 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐝𝐨𝐠’𝐬 𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐚 𝐡𝐮𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧?

A: A dog’s brain is much smaller than a human’s, about 1/10th the size in proportion to their body size.

𝐐: 𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐛𝐢𝐠 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐝𝐨𝐠’𝐬 𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐟𝐫𝐮𝐢𝐭?

A: A dog’s brain is roughly the size of a small fruit, like a lemon or an orange, in proportion to their body.

𝐐: 𝐃𝐨 𝐟𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐞 𝐝𝐨𝐠𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐬𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫 𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬?

A: On average, male dogs’ brains are about 10% larger than females. Brain-to-body ratios are the same regardless of body size when controlling for body size.

𝐐: 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐚 𝐝𝐨𝐠’𝐬 𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧?

A: Dog brain weight varies from 25 grams in tiny breeds like Chihuahuas to over 300 grams in giant breeds like Great Danes. But relative to body weight, dog brains are consistently around 0.5%.

Sufiyan Ali is a canine nutrition expert with over 3 years of experience researching dog foods. I read books on providing dogs a healthy, balanced diet. Now I love to share my knowledge about dogs diet with you.

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