Who is Chaser?
Chaser the border collie is the world’s smartest dog. She has the largest vocabulary of any nonhuman animal and is known as “the dog who knows 1,000 words.”
In 2004, Dr. John Pilley, emeritus professor of psychology at Wofford College, began working with Chaser and published the findings from their work in the Elsevier journals Behavioral Processes and Learning and Motivation. Chaser and Dr. Pilley explored the true potential of animal intelligence and the ways in which any dog lover can achieve similar results.
Their story has been featured in hundreds of publications internationally in over 72 languages such as TIME, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Scientific American, and on television programs like 60 Minutes, Nova ScienceNOW, ABC World News, and The Today Show. Dr. Pilley also wrote a New York Times bestselling book about his beloved dog called, "Chaser: Unlocking the Genius Behind the Dog Who Knows A Thousand Words" – available in 5 different languages worldwide.
Because of her extensive language learning, while Dr. Pilley formally stopped teaching her nouns at age 3, she continued to organically learn new words every day, simply by eavesdropping on conversations, the same way children learn. This is because learning builds on learning.
Her conceptual understanding that words have independent and understanding simple sentences meaning garnered her the title of
having the largest language learning of any animal in the world including primates, dolphins, and birds.
Chaser was not only the smartest dog in the world, she was a beloved family member and a real "dog" dog.
She was a witty, charming, and sparkling canine who brought joy to everyone who met her.
Chaser, a purebred Border collie, was born on April 28, 2004, at Flint Hill Farms in Pauline, South Carolina. Eight weeks later, she became a member of the Pilley family and John’s research partner in exploring the boundaries of the canine brain. She and John Pilley officially retired from public performances and film shoots in early 2018. Chaser crossed the rainbow bridge onto her next adventure on July 23rd, 2019. Her transition was covered by hundreds of publications worldwide.