How Many Words Do Dogs Understand?

A responsible dog guardian will spend time educating and training their dog incorporating phrases like “Let’s go for a walk” or “come here” or “good boy”.

Have you ever wondered how many words they can actually understand? Today we will explain to you all you need to know and we hope that you appreciate it :)

They say each dog is like their owner. Either due to their habits, appearance, or other characteristic traits. Sometimes you may see your dog coming over and it seems that the only thing they need is to sit down and be spoken to.

The truth is that dogs are able to understand many words. Perhaps more than you imagine. Although they cannot answer you in the same way you speak to them, it doesn’t mean they cannot understand. This is why dogs are able to understand basic orders such as “sit”, “lie down” or “stay.


Several studies conducted on this topic. It has been shown that dogs process words similar to humans. They gather information about the world and subsequently form an understanding of its various processes. They use the left hemisphere of the brain to understand the words they hear, while the right deals with their intonation.

Once this process is done, they are able to understand the intention of what a person has said to them. Dogs understand multiple signals easily and quickly if they are conditioned for it. Having a positive behavior with treats, kind words or other rewards is an excellent incentive for learning.


Various studies have indicated that Its effectiveness is much greater than punishment. The best-known study in this subject was made by psychologist Stanley Coren, famous for his book “The intelligence of dogs”. His analyses focused on studying the ability of dogs to learn new words.

In his research, Caron showed that dogs were able to understand approximately 160 words, it properly educated too so. As an equivalent, they understand the human lexicon, but the same as a child between two and three years of age. This is of course as long as constant practices maintain.

Furthermore, the investigation showed that dogs find it much easier to understand words related to specific objects such as bone or ball. It’s much harder for them to understand words related to abstract forms such as honey or sadness.

Coren also discovered that dogs find it easier to learn words beginning with strong consonants such as P, T, C, K, and Q while softer ones such as F, S, R, and L are more challenging. In any case, they learn words faster individually than when combined with others. This means you can teach them more easily if you say “eat” rather than “let’s eat”.

It happens because dogs retain words through a process called a quick method. It occurs when we frequently repeat certain words when exposing them to an action or object. During training, it’s very important that the words which form each order are easily distinguished from each other.

In this way, confusion is avoided. The orders or commands are more effective when they are accompanied by proper body language, making it easy to understand the message you want to convey.

Now you know how many words a dog can understand, you may wonder if the same happens with all breeds. Research also revealed that some dog breeds are more likely than others to learn words.

Poodles, German Shepherds, Border Collies, Labradors, and Dobermans all demonstrated a greater ability to develop a broad vocabulary compared to other breeds. However, this will always depend on proper training and stimulation of the dog from an early age, regardless of the breed.

We hope you find this article helpful! We are happy to write these articles, so you can understand your friends much better.