List of Smartest Animals in the World | Most Intelligent Animals

Sometimes we don’t give enough credit to animals‘ intelligence. Many animals around the globe experience human-like emotion, understand human commands, have learned complex communication skills, and are very social. It’s no wonder we’re fascinated by them! The smartest animals on the planet range from African wildlife to sea creatures to household pets. The great thing about interacting with these animals is not only the wonder they invoke, but the bonds we can form with them. Lots of animals have a high IQ, but these are some of the most prominent. Here’s a list of some brainy animals.

Smartest Animals

List of the Smartest Animals

  • Chimpanzees
  • Dolphins
  • Octopi
  • Elephants
  • Orangutans
  • Crows
  • Parrots
  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Horses

*Many more animals are intelligent in their own way, but these have the highest rates of empathy, instinct, and communication skills!

Smart Animals & Facts


  • Chimps are very social animals. They tend to have a “best friend” in which the two enjoy grooming each other. Female chimps look out for other females’ babies.
  • They are excellent at using tools. The structure of their hands help with motor skills, but they are also intelligent enough to be resourceful when making tools.
  • Chimps are the animals most closely related to humans. They share 95% of our DNA.


  • Bottlenose dolphins are the smartest and most delightful creatures in the sea. Swimming with dolphins is a popular activity. Dolphins take notice of humans and are sometimes just as fascinated with us as we are with them.
  • Dolphins use unique whistles to communicate with one another. They’re able to let other dolphins know their exact location and condition just by whistling!
  • A dolphin’s brain has unique neurons that are also found in the brains of humans and chimpanzees. These neurons enhance social and emotional behaviors.


  • The octopus has amazing adaptability. They camouflage themselves to express anger, lie in wait to catch prey, or to blend in when predators are near.
  • Octopi are also good at solving food puzzles! In captivity, they have learned to unscrew the lids of jars to reach food.
  • They can squeeze into just about any small space due to their flexible, squishy bodies. They do this when they need to hide from predators or lay eggs.


  • One African grey parrot was known to have the IQ of a 5-year-old. They can quickly learn to use tools to grind cockle shells, providing them with a nutritious snack.
  • Parrots unfortunately aren’t smart enough to know what they’re saying when they talk. However, the very act of mimicking their owners is amazing on its own. They don’t have vocal cords. Instead, they make sounds using their throat and the air that flows through it.
  • Parrots bond with their human companions or other parrots if they’re in the wild. Mates often stick together for life!


  • If you’ve ever owned a dog, their intelligence is obvious. Dogs can surprise us in many ways with their good memory, emotional intelligence, and ability to obey commands.
  • Because their sense of smell is several times better than humans’, this is why dogs assist in rescue missions and join the police force.
  • Dogs are life-savers in more ways than one. Service dogs are trained to help the blind, deaf, and people with PTSD go about their daily lives.

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Carl W.
Carl W.
23 days ago

According to scientific research wolves are a lot smarter than dogs but I don’t see them on this list. A wolf’s brain is 17-22% bigger than a domesticated dog’s brain. In Europe, Wolves are the apex predator in the animal kingdom and by far the smartest animal in european nature. They rarely attack humans since they know we are a danger to them. In 99.9% of all cases of humans encountering wolves, the pack will try to get as far away from human beings as possible. Only in super rare cases, when the wolves have just killed an animal, do… Read more »

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