Dogs outclass cats... just

There are cat people and dog people and many would say that never the twain shall meet. But there will be some furious feline fans today as a new study reveals that dogs really are man's best friend.

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The 'great pet showdown' involved a team of experts who compared various animal traits, including character and intelligence, by studying research published in a variety of scientific journals. And the dogs won by a whisker with a score of six to the cats' five.

There was much to recommend the cats though. They have bigger brains (proportionally speaking) and are considerably more popular, with 204 million living in the top ten cat-owning nations compared to only 173 million hounds.

The moggies also see better, speak better and are apparently 'greener' than their canine rivals. But with their 135,000 year history of being man's best friend, the dog won in many of the human interaction categories.

Our pampered pups are readily able to bond with their masters, while their superior understanding of human language and gestures, as well as problem-solving abilities, also stand them in good stead. But when the scores tied at five-a-piece, it was time for a deciding vote – and the dogs won with their 'usefulness'. As New Scientist says: "Dogs can hunt, herd and guard. They can sniff out drugs and bombs; they guide blind and deaf people, race for sport, pull sledges, find someone buried by an avalanche, help children learn and possibly even predict earthquakes."

Cats, on the other hand, "are good if you have an infestation of rodents" (the words of New Scientist, not ours). So what do you think - do dogs deserve their mantle as 'man's best friend', or have the clever cats been robbed?