Statue of Chaser, the Smartest Dog in the World – Spartanburg, South Carolina - Atlas Obscura

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Statue of Chaser, the Smartest Dog in the World

Spartanburg, South Carolina

A charming monument to a very special dog.  

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In Spartanburg, South Carolina, there is a most unusual memorial. Chaser the dog was a border collie who shared her life with John Pilley, a professor of psychology at Wofford College. Chaser was known for having the best memory of any dog ever recorded.

Pilley started an experiment regarding memory with Chaser as its subject in 2004. His lessons with the two-month-old puppy started with a blue ball. Pilly would say the name of the item, show it to Chaser, say “catch blue,” and then throw it to her. By the third day of their training, she was able to retrieve the blue ball from another room when asked. Within a few months, she knew the words for dozens of objects.

Three years later she could identify over 1,200 items by name. Chaser could understand several grammatical forms and decipher questions asked in multiple ways. She learned spectacularly quickly and mastered new concepts with ease.

She was given the title of “Smartest Dog in the World” and was well-known locally. When she died in 2019, a lovely statue of her was erected at the Spartanburg Children’s Museum in Morgan Square. 

Know Before You Go

Chaser is located in a public square and can be visited at any time. 

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June 28, 2023

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