Easiest Dog Breeds to Train?

Here at Newsweek, we love dogs … all of them. Big and small, fluffy and wirehaired; we rate each pup 10/10. But we have to admit that some breeds are more difficult to train than others (I’m looking at my dachshund on this one.) Some canines love to express their independence, while others are born to please their owners.

A golden retriever is seen in Central Park as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States on March 18, 2020, in New York City. Golden retrievers have intelligent brains behind their giddy smiles, and their pure devotion to family makes them one of the most trainable breeds to have in a home with children.

A Doberman wears a baseball scarf as he walks the bases during “Bark at the Park” night after the game at Safeco Field on April 17, 2018, in Seattle, Washington. Maddie, a Shetland sheepdog from Louisiana, smells a man’s fingers backstage at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on February 13, 2012, in New York City. A Labrador looks out from its bench on the third day of Crufts Dog Show at the NEC Arena on March 11, 2017, in Birmingham, England.

They’re notably eager to learn as puppies, and the AKC advises: “Early training and socialization will harness a Rottie’s territorial instincts in a positive way.”

What is the easiest dog to train and take care of?

Easiest to train: Golden retrievers. Because they’re loving and want to please, they respond well to verbal praise and playtime. “Positive reinforcement, sometimes known as reward-based training or force-free dog training, is widely recognized as the most effective and humane form of dog training,” Jackson says.

What is the hardest dog breed to train?

Beagles. A Beagle has a nose for everything – literally. ….Rottweiler. This one is a bit controversial, but here’s the breakdown on this breed. ….Siberian Husky. Most people would agree that a Siberian Husky is a gorgeous dog. ….Basset Hound. ….Chinese Shar-Pei. ….Afghan Hound.

While all dogs can be trained, some breeds seem as though they have an easier time learning commands. This is due to a number of different reasons. “The idea of breeds being easy or difficult to train is relative. The nearly 200 American Kennel Club breeds were developed to perform specific jobs,” says Mary R. Burch, Ph.D., director of AKC Family Dog. “In the beginning, dogs helped people by herding, hunting, and guarding and over time, they became companions. Some breeds were shown to make excellent service dogs or competitors in sports such as agility.”

Mental challenges, such as learning tricks and playing with puzzle toys , are also appealing to these breeds, but should never replace physical activity. “A trick to working with the breeds considered less trainable is to use the sound principles of behavior such as shaping (baby steps) and positive reinforcement ,” Burch says.

“Another thing to do is start where the training provides a carefully sequenced curriculum such as the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program where all breeds have been successful.” They are highly intelligence dogs full of energy, which makes them veritable athletesthey can learn tricks and exercises all while eager to please their owners. Border Terriers are known for their good temperament and affectionate personality, making them a great family pet or companion for an active senior.

A few years ago, I went through a huge dalmatian phase. Not Cruella de Vil level, but close. I ogled Instagram accounts devoted to speckled pups and imagined having a chill dalmatian, quietly cuddled up next to me. Reality check: Dalmatians are notoriously stubborn and get bored easily, which can lead to destructive behavior. Training is possible but tough. And this is important because if youre looking to adopt a dog, breed matters big-time, especially if you have small kids around. The breeds on this list are definitely energetic (canines with more get-up-and-go are more easily trained), but these dogs are also smart and enjoy learning commands. Here, the 10 easiest dogs to train.

In fact, theyve been working in various industries for decades (think: law enforcement; guide and assistance; search and rescue), and they willingly dedicate themselves to tasks. As curious and observant animals, these fluffy canines are quick to try new things, so dont be afraid to add on fresh commands once a Pumi has gotten the hang of the basicssit, roll over, do the laundry!

Named for its luxuriously large and pointy ears ( papillon means butterfly in French), these pups see themselves as big dogs in tiny bodies. These dogs are calm in a crisis, independent yet loyal and consider the entire family worthy of protection (yep, even Uncle Jack). This means excellent obedience and tracking skills, combined with a penchant for barking and territoriality, which could be a good thing for anyone looking for a canine security system.

Owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibility. Dogs need a safe environment and a nutritious diet. They need veterinary care. Plus, they need exercise, attention, and plenty of training. Its no wonder that in addition to searching for a dog whos easy to own, many people want a dog who will easily learn new tricks (or learn to relieve himself outside).

The Bernese Mountain Dog Club reports that with the training essential for ownership of a large working breed, Berners are generally gentle, easygoing, and tolerant . But they do need plenty of interaction with people. The AKC advises, The uncanny intelligence, athleticism, and trainability of border collies have a perfect outlet in agility work. Translation?

The American Miniature Schnauzer Club reports the breed benefits from basic obedience training and ongoing socialization . The AKC explains the border terrier is described as hard as nails when working, but at home theyre good-tempered, affectionate , and trainable. With plenty of exercise, they can live just as happily in the city as in the country. This makes it easy to train basic house manners, such as housebreaking, walking on a leash, leaving garbage alone, leaving clothes and kids toys alone, not jumping on people or furniture, sitting and staying, and coming when called (barring the presence of a squirrel or rabbit).

Just remember Dobermans, like many other dogs, can become destructive and aggressive if you let them become habitually bored or lonely. According to the AKC, the Doberman who is well trained and socialized is a loving pet , a world-class family guardian, [and] a versatile canine athlete. The Doberman Pinscher Club of America reports these dogs require intelligent handling but are versatile in activities , including search and rescue, obedience, and work as a guide or therapy dog. However, devotees love the breed for its loyalty, courage, and the ability to learn and retain commands for an amazing number of specialized jobs.

The German Shepherd Dog Club of America reports simple training should begin the moment your puppy arrives home. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America that corgis are intelligent dogs , trainable and good with children. Nonetheless, this breed is bright and bossy if you arent in charge, they will happily assume the role and a problem is much harder to correct than prevent. And as the AKC notes, They have a joyful, playful approach to life and maintain this childlike behavior for longer than some other breeds.

In fact, youll probably need to continually devise new games and challenges for this highly intelligent dog. As the American Kennel Club explains, this breeds strong work drive can make Aussies more dog than a sedentary pet owner might bargain for. The Norwich Terrier Club of America explains though the breed originally served as a working terrier, these dogs were also valued for their affable temperament . Today, the breed retains its original hunting instincts, small size, and jovial temperament so prized by early huntsmen on both sides of the Atlantic.

The AKC reports this very active dog breed likes exercise and takes to training. But this is a breed that learns from every single experience, and an inconsistent trainer will not produce consistent results even with very basic skills like housebreaking. As the AKC notes, they are social, friendly, and easily trained and will usually get along well with other family pets and well-behaved children. Just bear in mind theyre one of the more high-maintenance dog breeds because they prefer to stay close to their owners and dont like being left alone.

Nonetheless, the American Brussels Griffon Association reports this breed excels in conformation (the show ring), obedience, agility, rally trials, tracking tests, and as therapy dogs. The standard poodle consistently ranks as one of the most intelligent and obedient breeds which can sometimes feel like an uncommon combination. The American Rottweiler Club explains these dogs need socialization, exercise and stimulating mental challenges .

Easiest Dog Breeds to Train

Here atIf you’re a new dog owner, you may be looking for a friend who shows early signs of obedience. Choosing a pet by breed is a great way to assure they’ll have characteristics you’re looking for and behaviors that will align with your lifestyle. Of course, you can find a reliable friend in any dog; behavior isn’t totally based on breed. To make your search a bit simpler, here are the 13 easiesttotrain breeds according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Border Collie

These loving and loyal herders are considered the “workaholic” of the dog world, according to the AKC. That makes them a perfect pet that’s willing to do whatever it takes to win the affection and praise of their human loved ones.

Poodle

One of the more popular dog breeds globally is known to be brilliantly obedient. Poodles have long been associated with fashion and luxury, but that doesn’t mean they’re an accessory. The pups are actually one of the most intelligent breeds, and they’ll be more than willing to learn new tricks with you.

German Shepherd

Notably used by police forces and other first responders, German shepherds may not be a surprising addition to this list. The big dogs are not only wildly smart, but they’re fiercely loyal. If you’re looking for a dog eager to follow your commands, protect you and love you unconditionally, look no further.

Golden Retrievers

These pups are arguably some of the best-looking canines out there, but they have much more potential than looking adorable in your photos. Golden retrievers have intelligent brains behind their giddy smiles, and their pure devotion to family makes them one of the most trainable breeds to have in a home with children.

Doberman Pinscher

Known mainly for their major protection skills and intimidating looks, Dobermans may not be your first guess when it comes to obedient pups. They deserve a spot on the list, though, because of their loyalty to their owners and willingness to obey.

Shetland Sheepdog

This is another herding group pup that is eager to please, learn and be a generally well-behaved companion. Not only are Shelties known to be wonderfully responsive to their owners, but their intelligence allows many to excel in agility competitions and other canine sports.

Labrador Retriever

The top dog breed in America is known for its cheerful, sometimes whimsical behavior. Like the others on this list, Labs are eager to learn and behave (well, most of them. We all know a Lab who loves to eat socks, right?) They’re highly sociable and do their best to live up to each owner’s expectations.

Papillion

These tiny pups are surprisingly athletic. Along with their energetic complex, Papillons also make for agility champions and are up to the challenge of any new trick or routine.

Rottweiler

Another guard dog makes the list with an incredible dedication to family. They’re notably eager to learn as puppies, and the AKC advises: “Early training and socialization will harness a Rottie’s territorial instincts in a positive way.”

Australian Cattle Dog

These pups, also known as Blue Heelers, are known to be smart and easy to train. Loyal to their family and not always welcoming to strangers, they’re ready to follow commands from those they trust.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Iconic in British history, and making waves in America as trending pups, the corgi is ever-eager to learn and achieve. Both loyal and compassionate and independent, corgis aren’t clingy but love their owners all the same.

Miniature Schnauzer

These small dogs are ready for anything. Family life? They excel in kindness. Learning new tricks? Sure, they’re smart enough for anything. Need them for defense? Though small, they’re mighty.

Border Collie

The Border Collie is part of the Herding Group breeds, which means that these pups enjoy herding other animals (and maybe even people, too). They are highly intelligence dogs full of energy, which makes them veritable athletes—they can learn tricks and exercises all while eager to please their owners.

Border Terrier

A smaller breed, the Border Terrier only weighs up to 25 pounds. Border Terriers are known for their good temperament and affectionate personality, making them a great family pet or companion for an active senior.

German Shepherd Dog

Known as K9 units in the military and police, the ever-dutiful German Shepherd is known for having a calm, confident demeanor suitable for law enforcement. Though these dogs are not outright aggressive, by nature they are very protective of their people.

Golden Retriever

Considered one of the most popular breeds in America, Golden Retrievers are smart, amicable dogs. Because of their outgoing, eager-to-please personality, they enjoy a “the more, the merrier” approach to people, making them ideal for families. They’ll enjoy a long walk, swim, or outing as long as it’s with you.

Labrador Retriever

The faithful Labrador Retriever (affectionately called Lab) is another popular dog breed and considered America’s most popular pup, according to American Kennel Club statistics for 2019. Labs also held the title to AKC’s National Obedience Championship for several years in a row. They love hiking, cold and warm weather, and anything that involves water.

Papillon

This little dog has a big personality and loves to learn new tricks. Papillons are active but, due to their small size, most of their exercise needs can be met simply with some indoor play. They learn basic commands and tricks quickly due to having a keen mind.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

As they are both loyal and protective of their families—and also have a tendency to bark—the Pembroke Welsh Corgi can make a good watchdog. They happily play with their people in good humor. Because of their short legs, they aren’t inclined to accompany you in an agility course but they enjoy learning new tricks.

Poodle

Whether Standard, Miniature, or Toy breed, the Poodle is a highly intelligent dog that’s personable with human caretakers. They also have a hypersensitive nature—meaning that they are intuitive to their environment (a calm home results in a calm dog, whereas a noisy home can cause them anxiety). Due to this reason, they will listen to older children in games and activities.

Rottweiler

Gentle and devoted under the right care, Rottweilers can be trained to be great guardians. This powerful breed should be occupied with tasks and are inherently trainable.

The 10 Easiest Dogs to Train

A few years ago, I went through a huge dalmatian phase. Not Cruella de Vil level, but close. I ogled Instagram accounts devoted to speckled pups and imagined having a chill dalmatian, quietly cuddled up next to me. Reality check: Dalmatians are notoriously stubborn and get bored easily, which can lead to destructive behavior. Training is possible but tough. And this is important because if you’re looking to adopt a dog, breed matters big-time, especially if you have small kids around. The breeds on this list are definitely energetic (canines with more get-up-and-go are more easily trained), but these dogs are also smart and enjoy learning commands. Here, the 10 easiest dogs to train.

Poodle

There’s a reason standard, miniature and toy Poodles excel at dog shows. A healthy mix of versatility, intelligence and playfulness makes them ideal competitors who can lead a pack

German Shepherd

At its core, the German shepherd is a protector. These are smart, devoted dogs who love having a job to do. In fact, they’ve been working in various industries for decades (think: law enforcement; guide and assistance; search and rescue), and they willingly dedicate themselves to tasks. German shepherds definitely need exercise, both mentally and physically, so training in a park or big yard is ideal.

Pumi

Pumis are energetic Hungarian herding dogs that aren’t afraid to cuddle up with their owners (and they’re known to pick favorites). On top of that, they are bright, social and very easy to train. As curious and observant animals, these fluffy canines are quick to try new things, so don’t be afraid to add on fresh commands once a Pumi has gotten the hang of the basics—sit, roll over, do the laundry! Pumis also prefer reward-based training, so stock up on some goodies.

Papillon

Most small breeds aren’t super into the whole “training” thing. Enter the Papillon. Named for its luxuriously large and pointy ears (

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Do not confuse the Cardigan Welsh corgi with its more stubborn, petite cousin, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Cardigans have longer tails and are generally taller. They’ve also retained their cattle-herding instincts over centuries, making them strong-willed, intelligent pups. For their shape, Cardigan Welsh corgis are incredibly agile. They’re also loyal and affectionate to their owners (of all ages) without getting too territorial. A bonus for city-dwelling dog lovers: These corgis don’t need big yards or tons of outdoors time. As long as they’ve got regular engagement and mental stimulation, they’re good.

Golden Retriever

This all-American, family-friendly dog picks up habits quickly, even though it’s not the brightest bulb in the box. Basically, golden retrievers are excellent dogs to train because they love you and just want to make you happy (marry me?). They’re also patient and can go with the flow, which makes training and forming positive habits a breeze. The only drawback is if you’re interested in training a guard dog because goldens enjoy making new friends, even with strangers.

Collie

Think of collies as yogis: They practically ooze enthusiasm, while maintaining a calm Zen on the inside. There’s a reason Lassie was a collie! These dogs are calm in a crisis, independent yet loyal and consider the entire family worthy of protection (yep, even Uncle Jack). Reward-based training works best, as does mixing it up a bit. Once you’ve established commands like “sit” and “stay,” try new tricks to keep the collie brain sharp and energy in control. Since they tend to bark a lot, it might be worth it to start training there first.

Labrador Retriever

Like the German shepherd, Labrador retrievers have dabbled in tons of work environments. Like golden retrievers, they make terrible watch dogs because they are so friendly. But, like all the breeds on this list, they are super easy to train and can learn an incredible range of skills and tricks. Their even-keeled temperament and love of the outdoors makes training fun, albeit exhausting. Get ready to run, play and laugh with a Lab. And

Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland sheepdog could be called the comedian of the dog world. These pups love discovering unfamiliar tricks, pleasing people and showing off once they’ve learned something new. Originally bred for herding sheep (duh), Shelties are some of the smartest dogs out there. This means excellent obedience and tracking skills, combined with a penchant for barking and territoriality, which could be a good thing for anyone looking for a canine security system.

Bernese mountain dog

The Bernese mountain dog is a friendly breed that takes to training easily. According to the AKC, this “gentle giant” is mild-tempered and loves outdoor activities. This breed needs a moderate level of exercise, which will usually keep your dog from barking or acting out.The Bernese Mountain Dog Club reports that “with the training essential for ownership of a large working breed, Berners are generally gentle, easygoing, and tolerant.” But they do need plenty of interaction with people. And the club advises training should always use positive techniques.

Havanese

The Havanese always wants to please his owner. That means he loves learning new commands and tricks. In fact, the AKC reports the “Havanese are smart, trainable, and natural clowns.” This dog breed is a good choice for novice dog owners.But keep in mind he wants company and loves being the center of attention. According to the Havanese Club of America, the major concern with a Havanese puppy “is to provide adequate socialization for the pup to become a good citizen both in the home and the community. This usually involves exposure to a lot of other people and other dogs.”

Border collie

If you’re an experienced dog owner and simply want a dog who will take to training well, you might want to consider a border collie. The border collie has tons of energy but wants to please you. The AKC advises, “The uncanny intelligence, athleticism, and trainability of border collies have a perfect outlet in agility work.” Translation? This workaholic dog will never be a couch potato. So you’ll need to expend some of your own energy keeping him busy.The Border Collie Society of America reports you’ll also need to make time for ongoing training “in obedience, obedience, obedience!” Activities, such as agility, flyball, rally, herding, and tracking, all enable your dog to learn new mental skills. And they can help you provide your border collie with the vigorous daily exercise he needs.

Miniature schnauzer

The miniature schnauzer finds it easy to learn new commands. But you’ll definitely to work to keep this high-energy dog occupied. And you’ll have to train him not to bark excessively. Fortunately, the AKC explains, “This breed craves human companionship, which, combined with the breed’s intelligence, makes him easy to train for all kinds of activities. He is alert and spunky, but also obedient to commands.”The American Miniature Schnauzer Club reports the breed benefits from basic obedience training and ongoing socialization. But they are “obedient and quick to learn, extremely devoted, very playful, and very affectionate.”

Border terrier

The border terrier is often considered a highly trainable dog. And he’s laid-back for a terrier — but don’t think that means he won’t need a lot of activity. The AKC explains the border terrier is “described as ‘hard as nails’ when working, but at home they’re good-tempered, affectionate, and trainable.” With plenty of exercise, they can live just as happily in the city as in the country.According to the Border Terrier Club of America, the border terrier wants to please you. “This makes it easy to train basic house manners, such as housebreaking, walking on a leash, leaving garbage alone, leaving clothes and kids’ toys alone, not jumping on people or furniture, sitting and staying, and coming when called (barring the presence of a squirrel or rabbit).”

Boxer

The boxer is an intelligent and even-tempered dog who learns new commands easily. According to the AKC, these very active dogs “enjoy physical and mental challenges.” But they are also “upbeat and playful. Their patience and protective nature have earned them a reputation as a great dog for children.”The American Boxer Club reports though many boxers succeed at performance events, the “same innate intelligence that makes him quick to learn also gives the boxer a mind of his own.” The club adds that a trainer needs to stay “purposeful and patient.”

Doberman pinscher

Only experienced dog owners should consider a Doberman pinscher. But if you’re able to provide consistent training and leadership, he can become a friendly member of your family. Just remember Dobermans, like many other dogs, can become destructive and aggressive if you let them become habitually bored or lonely.According to the AKC, the Doberman who is well trained and socialized “is a loving pet, a world-class family guardian, [and] a versatile canine athlete.” The Doberman Pinscher Club of America reports these dogs require intelligent handling but are versatile in activities, including search and rescue, obedience, and work as a guide or therapy dog.

German shepherd

The German shepherd is eager to please and ready to work. And as the AKC reports, this very active breed needs regular mental and physical exercise. However, devotees love the breed for its loyalty, courage, and “the ability to learn and retain commands for an amazing number of specialized jobs.”The German Shepherd Dog Club of America reports simple training should begin the moment your puppy arrives home. A German shepherd puppy can learn his name and basic commands as early as 8 weeks old.

Pembroke Welsh corgi

The Pembroke Welsh corgi is an active little dog who loves having a job to do. The AKC explains, “The Pembroke responds well to training and loves his family, but he may try to herd you.” Corgis (and corgi owners) benefit from obedience classes. And the AKC promises, “The time you spend in training, especially during the first year of your pet’s life, will be repaid many times over by giving you a well-behaved companion, one that is bonded to you and your family for the rest of his life.”The Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America that corgis “are intelligent dogs, trainable and good with children.” Nonetheless, “this breed is bright and bossy — if you aren’t in charge, they will happily assume the role and a problem is much harder to correct than prevent.”

Golden retriever

The golden retriever makes a great companion for novice dog owners. This dog wants to please. And as the AKC notes, “They have a joyful, playful approach to life and maintain this childlike behavior for longer than some other breeds.”According to the Golden Retriever Club of America, dogs — including golden retrievers — are problem solvers and learn by trial and error. But your golden isn’t the only one who will be learning during the process of training. “As you teach your dog the steps necessary to learn the obedience exercises, he will respond correctly or incorrectly, and you must learn how to respond appropriately,” the club says.

Labrador retriever

The Labrador retriever takes the cake as the most popular dog in the U.S. — and for good reason. The breed is easy to train, whether you want one as a family dog or working dog. The AKC reports Labs socialize well with humans and with other dogs. But you shouldn’t “confuse his laid-back personality for low energy. The Labrador retriever is extremely active — he’s never met a backyard he didn’t like.” According to the Labrador Retriever Club, these dogs are “eager to please and non-aggressive toward man or animal.”

Australian shepherd

The Australian shepherd can learn anything you can teach him. But you need to keep him busy and entertained. In fact, you’ll probably need to continually devise new games and challenges for this highly intelligent dog. As the American Kennel Club explains, this breed’s “strong work drive can make Aussies more dog than a sedentary pet owner might bargain for. Aussies are remarkably intelligent, quite capable of outthinking an unsuspecting novice owner.”The United States Australian Shepherd Association reports these dogs are highly trainable and “easily housebroken because they are intelligent and eager to please.” But you’ll need to channel your dog’s energy to keep his behavior under control.

Norwich terrier

The Norwich terrier is energetic and needs a lot of activity. But he’s easy to train, and even novice dog owners will be able to handle him. The AKC reports the Norwich terrier needs both physical and mental exercise. But these dogs make “smart, willing companions and can excel in a variety of canine activities.”The Norwich Terrier Club of America explains though the breed originally served as a working terrier, these dogs “were also valued for their affable temperament.” Today, “the breed retains its original hunting instincts, small size, and jovial temperament so prized by early huntsmen on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Papillon

The papillon is another dog who will easily learn new tricks but really needs you to keep him occupied. The AKC reports this “very active” dog breed likes exercise and takes to training. Their intelligence plays a role in their trainability. But additionally, “it helps that they like to please and be with those they love.”The Papillon Club of America explains these dogs are “happy, alert, and friendly,” but you need to be a consistent trainer to bring out the best in your dog. “Consistent, dedicated trainers delight in the aptitude this breed has for just about anything. But this is a breed that learns from every single experience, and an inconsistent trainer will not produce consistent results — even with very basic skills like housebreaking.”

Brussels griffon

The Brussels griffon consistently ranks as one of the easiest dogs to train. As the AKC notes, they are “social, friendly, and easily trained and will usually get along well with other family pets and well-behaved children.” Just bear in mind they’re one of the more high-maintenance dog breeds because they prefer to stay close to their owners and don’t like being left alone.Nonetheless, the American Brussels Griffon Association reports this breed “excels in conformation (the show ring), obedience, agility, rally trials, tracking tests, and as therapy dogs.”

Poodle

The standard poodle consistently ranks as one of the most intelligent and obedient breeds — which can sometimes feel like an uncommon combination. The AKC promises, “Poodles are very intelligent and easily trained to do a number of things. Some of the activities that poodles enjoy are tracking, hunting, agility, and obedience.”The Poodle Club of America advises that “a poodle should be a member of the family. Prospective owners of poodles should be equipped to provide a fenced-in area in which the poodle can exercise, or be prepared to walk the poodle regularly on a leash.”

Rottweiler

The Rottweiler takes easily to training, but he definitely needs a job to keep him happy. According to the AKC, this dog’s “intelligence, endurance and willingness to work make him suitable as a police dog, herder, service dog, therapy dog, obedience competitor and devoted companion.” You’ll need to train him on basic obedience commands, as well as social skills. And you’ll also have to harness his natural territorial instincts. As the AKC puts it, “He has to know that you’re in charge, even if he is twice your size.”The American Rottweiler Club explains these dogs “need socialization, exercise and stimulating mental challenges. With these things, you will have a wonderful companion; without them, your Rottweiler may become destructive and out of control.”