How Intelligent Are Cows? Are Cows Smarter Than Horses?

As an animal lover, I believe that animals on this planet are all intelligent in their own ways. Dogs, cats, and whales are those typical creatures that everyone already knows how excellent their brain is. This time, I’m going to tell you about a less famous animal – cows. How intelligent are cows? I bet what follows will surprise anyone who usually says that “dumb as a cow”.

How intelligent are cows?

According to plenty of research, cows are a quite intelligent animal. Indeed, they can memorize many things for the long-term. They can also interact in various ways, enhancing their friendships over time and holding grudges against other cows who treat them badly.

Cows can learn and memorize

It is said that cows have dull minds and slow movements. In fact, cows are typically quick learners with fantastic memories.

1. Cows can discriminate objects

Cows can distinguish not only a wide range of similar objects but also images of objects and humans. Specifically, cows categorize among different kinds of objects regardless of geometric shape, size, color, and brightness.

The distinction between individual humans can also be identified by cows. Interestingly, both calves and adult cows can learn to be afraid of people who have roughly treated them before, not just responding to stimuli.

2. Cows can discriminate against individuals

In various studies, cows are proved to have the ability to distinguish between individual cow members. They can also discriminate cows from other species. This thanks to their sophisticated spatial memory.

Individual discrimination is the foundation for any animal’s capacity of identifying family members and familiar individuals. This helps to make decent distinctions between the individuals and establish their social circles.

3. Cows have spatial cognition

Cows have spatial cognition

Cows practice a diverse collection of cognitive skills to adapt to their environment. One of the most striking things is that cows are experts of maze navigations, like most grazing animals. That is a signal proofing they have a good memory about their surroundings.

In fact, cows could learn to conquer two different types of mazes effectively, link food with various different locations, and recognize them for eight hours. What’s more, cows often use systematic analytical strategies when foraging. That is, in their process of looking for food, they practice organized and deliberate methods that enable them to rely on their memory of places already visited.

Cows have emotions

Cows have a rich and complex love life in reality. They encounter feelings such as panic and anxiety and have wonderful memories as well.

1. Cows show emotional reactions to learning

Emotional responses to learning are experienced by cows. When they achieve a task, they exhibit signs of enjoyment.

In one research, cows found that the optimal outcome could be given by executing those activities. It is assumed that a cow’s happiness was a direct consequence of a cow’s sense of self-efficacy or its expectation that it could accomplish a goal. As these cows know, the completion of the task excellently brings exceptional pleasure.

2. Cows can catch other’s feeling

cow kisses

Apart from the feelings cows encounter at an individual level, they also catch the emotions of each other. The demonstration of emotional contagion by cows reflects how tuned in they are to the emotions of each other.

Normally, a cow can recognize how sad its fellow is by smelling. When they observe their stressed peers, cows who are not under pressure see the sense of tension and show their reaction. They eat less and contain an elevated amount of the hormone cortisol related to stress. It is considered a form of sympathy.

3. Cows are social and friendly

Numerous studies show that cows are contingent on each other for emotional support.

Dairy calves which are raised in diverse and complicated social communities tend to be more efficiently cope with the transition. This means a social correlation will enhance the growth of emotional and behavioral resilience in cows.

The calm that cows feel from the presence of friends and family members testifies to their close social connections and, importantly, for their well-being.

So, you can rethink the intelligence of cows because they are smarter than you probably thought. How intelligent are cows? I guess you all have your own answer.


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