Chaser: The World’s Smartest Dog
Chaser the border collie was the world’s smartest dog. She had the largest vocabulary of any nonhuman animal and is known as “the dog who knows 1,000 words.” The best part – she was a Spartanburg native!
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 how 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.
Sadly, Dr. Pilley passed away in 2018 and Chaser passed away in 2019. Today, a bronze statue of Chaser and a bronze pair of Dr. Pilley’s shoes stand in downtown Spartanburg as a visual reminder of their unbreakable bond.