The 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

The 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

Dog Breeds

We all know dogs are smart creatures. But have you ever noticed that some seem to be smarter than others? Like human intelligence, dog intelligence occurs in many different forms. Certain breeds have particular inherit qualities and are bred to be more intelligent in certain areas.

For example, if a dog is bred to retrieve, herd, or hunt, they are more likely to be eager to work, quick on their feet, and more willing to please you. Livestock guard dogs or scent hounds, on the other hand, can sometimes seem dense or distracted.

So, while certain dog breeds are smarter in particular areas, all dogs have the capability to be trained. Some might just take a bit longer to catch on!

Stanley Coren, a neuropsychologist and author of “The Intelligence of Dogs”, uses trainability to assess a dog’s intelligence. He used research from over 200 professional dog obedience judges on more than 100 breeds. The judges scored the breeds on obedience/working tests. These ten dog breeds learned commands in no more than five repetitions and obeyed these commands at least 95% of the time.

Border Collie

The Border Collie is often thought of as a workaholic and is the world’s best sheep herder. They have extraordinary instinct, extreme intelligence, and a strong work ethic.


Poodle’s are smart and active. They were originally bred as water retrievers. Poodle’s are a devoted family dog and make excellent companions.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a wonderful family companion along with a highly respectable guard, police, and military dog. They were bred to herd.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever’s are eager to please and highly intelligent. They were originally bred as a hunting companion and work exceptionally well as guide dogs as well as search-and-rescue helpers.

Doberman Pinscher

This is a breed known for their speed and stamina. They were bred as guardians and also work as police and war dogs.

Shetland Sheepdog

Also known as the “Sheltie”, the Shetland Sheepdog is a miniature working Collie. They have a keen intelligence and are excellent herders.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are very social dogs. They are also extremely gentle and highly intelligent. They make a wonderful family and sporting dog.


This is an alert and happy breed. They are not known to be shy or aggressive. Though small, they are an energetic, highly intelligent breed.


This breed is happiest when it has a job to do. They are powerful and hearty yet make a devoted companion. They make excellent police, service, and therapy dogs as well as herders and obedience competitors.

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dogs are very intelligent and energetic. They love when they have a job to do such as obedience, agility, or herding.

Although these are the “smartest” dog breeds, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the “easiest”. Chris Redenbach, a dog trainer based in Atlanta said that having a smart dog “is like having a smart kid. They’re always into something and will get into trouble if they are bored”. (Pets.WebMD).

Highly intelligent dogs require a lot of time, training, and patience as they get bored easily. They tend to be more energetic than less intelligent dogs, requiring more time and training. However, many dogs that don’t appear to be very intelligent, may just be bred to be more independent.

So, it’s not necessarily a matter of “smart versus dumb” dogs, it’s more about breed, instinct, and – most importantly – training. Even the most stubborn dog can learn with enough training!

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