Chaser the border collie

Spartanburg, S.C. (FOX Carolina) -- An Upstate border collie who has earned the title of the world’s smartest dog will be memorialized in a bronze statue in his hometown of Spartanburg, S.C.

Hub City Animal Project announced Thursday the plans to erect a statue of Chaser, who is believed to have the largest vocabulary of any nonhuman -- 1,000 words.

Chaser mastered the names of more than 1,000 toys, which would later be incorporated into sentences with multiple elements of grammar.

At 80 years old, his owner  John W. Pilley, Jr,  needed help to get his findings published in a peer-reviewed journal, so he contacted his long-time friend and colleague, Dr. Alliston Reid.

Reeves is a professor of psychology at Wofford with extensive experience in scientific journalism.

Reeves said he knew Pilley’s data was ground breaking, so they had to devise a rigorous method for testing Chaser that would hold up to stringent peer review.

In late December 2010, their research was published by the Elsevier journal "Behavioral Processes," which went viral in more 72 languages.

The research indicated that dogs are not only smart, they are capable of much more than previously thought.

 “This research is important because it demonstrates that dogs, like children, can develop extensive vocabularies and understand that certain words represent individual objects and other words represent categories of objects, independent in meaning of what one is asked to do with those objects,” Reid said.

Since 2011, Pilley and Chaser’s story has been featured in hundreds of publications, including TIME, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Scientific American, and on television programs including "60 Minutes," "Nova ScienceNOW," "ABC World News," and "The Today Show."

The bronze statue of Chaser will be erected outside the Children’s Museum of the Upstate -Spartanburg on Magnolia Street in spring 2020.

Betsy Scott of Cloudland, Georgia, has been commissioned to create the statue. Scott has earned recognition as one of America’s most respected wildlife sculptors and is the co-creator of the Wofford College Terrier, a 1,000-pound statue located at the entrance of the Campus Life Building.

To learn more about Chaser, visit

Copyright 2019 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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