They are assessing trainability, not intelligence. My much beloved Chow Chow was the most intelligent animal I have ever known, but quite stubborn. Her understanding of vocabulary, body language, judge of character, and just being able to read my mind were unbelievable. She could do things on a whim, with no training... When I would get home late, she would shake my socks around. One time, under my breath, I commented in an even conversational tone, “Why don’t you do something useful like get my pajamas?” She came back with my pajamas in her mouth. The amazing thing is I could never even train her to fetch a toy.
She made up her mind to just give up after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. The cancer had already spread, and after five days she wouldn’t eat or drink anymore. I had a very quiet talk with her, explaining that one of the things I loved and respected most about her was her love of life and indomitable spirit— I asked her to please, just for me, fight this thing to the end since a vaccine for her type of cancer was due out in weeks to months. She understood, gave me this look, like “Okay. I’ll fight it to the end. For you.” She begin to eat and drink moments later, and even to the last day of her life she fought with everything she had. It is coming up on a year now since I lost her, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of how much I loved that little bear, or how much I miss her.
How right you are about chows. Anyone who would say otherwise has never been up close and personal with one. They only give their alegience to a human once. Thats why they can only be a one owner dog and thats for life, either the humans or the dogs.