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Dogs are loyal, lovable, and incredibly smart—but did you know some dog breeds are more intelligent than others? We know your pup is one smart cookie, but let’s see if science agrees.

“It’s not a surprise that this hard-working, herding breed comes in first on our list,” say Caitie Steffen, pet expert at Whistle, and Angela Hughes, DVM, PhD, a veterinarian geneticist with Wisdom Panel. Border Collies are always eager to learn and please their owners, which earns them the top spot in this smartest dogs ranking. “How can you argue with a dog with a vocabulary of over 1,000 words?” adds holistic pet therapist and author Sally Morgan, referring to Chaser, a famous Border Collie from South Carolina who was once profiled on CBS’s 60 Minutes. Wendy Hauser, DVM , adds that poodles are readily trainable and enjoy activities that allow them to be challenged, such as hunting, tracking, agility, and obedience work. Bred as herding dogs, German shepherds are adept at evaluating situations and determining the best course of action, adds Jill Cline, PhD, site director of the Royal Canin Pet Health and Nutrition Center in Lewisburg, Ohio. What makes them some of the smartest dogs is that they’re only too happy to “comply with commands or tasks asked of them by their owners, and they can be relied upon to be consistent with their behavior in a variety of situations,” says Dr. Cline. “Dobermans are so mentally active that they get bored without sufficient intellectual stimulation,” points out Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics. Labs (like goldens) show good judgment and bravery, according to Ichir, which makes them wonderful service dogs, especially for people with disabilities. These big-eared pups are one of the oldest dog breeds—their line can be traced back almost 700 years—which means they’ve had generations of breeding to become one of the smartest around, say Steffen and Dr. Hughes. “They’re eager to learn and respond well to reward-based training, allowing them to participate in a vast array of enjoyable activities including agility, flyball, and Frisbee,” add Steffen and Hughes. “These quick learners enjoy being challenged and often excel at sports where they must use their intelligence, like agility and competitive obedience,” say Steffen and Hughes. “Unlike many of the other breeds in the terrier group, Miniature Schnauzers have a strong desire to please and the smarts to do so,” points out Dr. Hauser. “But a Springer—with his smartly marked coat, yearning Spaniel expression, and long, lush ears—would be prized for good looks even if he couldn’t tell a grouse from a mouse [which he can! Curious, confident, and clever, the Schipperke is a big, brave dog in a small package and makes an excellent watchdog, particularly for boats. This breed, made famous by the 1943 movie Lassie , has developed an amazing level of intelligence over the years and is great for herding, protection, water rescue, and as a guide for the blind, according to Steffen and Hughes. The AKC says that the flat-coated retriever, which developed out of the same family as the Labrador, is confident as well as intelligent and makes a highly energetic hunting dog. Given that bloodhounds have a sense of smell that is three million times better than a human’s, which, in addition to their intelligent nature, makes them perfect for tracking or finding people, according to Steffen and Hughes, it just seems wrong not to give them at least an honorable mention here. Caitie Steffen, pet expert at Whistle Angela Hughes, DMV, PhD, veterinarian geneticist with Wisdom Panel Sally Morgan , holistic pet therapist Lazhar Ichir, founder of Breeding Business Wendy Hauser , DMV Jill Cline, PhD, site director of the Royal Canin Pet Health and Nutrition Center in Lewisburg, Ohio Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics The American Kennel Club

What breed of dog is most intelligent?

1. Border Collie : A workaholic, this breed is the world’s premier sheep herder, prized for its intelligence, extraordinary instinct, and working ability. 2. Poodle: Exceptionally smart and active.

What is the dumbest dog?

Afghan Hound. The Afghan Hound is the “dumbest” dog. ….Basenji. Basenjis also make the list of dumbest dog breeds. ….Bulldog. Bulldogs are known for their stubbornness. ….Chow Chow. Chow Chows can also be difficult to train. ….Borzoi. ….Bloodhound. ….Pekingese. ….Beagle.

Which dog has the least IQ?

English Mastiff. English Mastiffs are notoriously stubborn dogs. ….Basset Hound. Basset Hounds are sweet and blissfully ignorant of most commands. ….Bloodhound. Bloodhounds have a stubborn streak when it comes to training. ….Afghan Hound. ….Shih Tzu. ….Pekingese. ….Basenji. ….Beagle.

A dog’s intelligence is present in a variety of forms, and trainability is a sign of cleverness. Overall, attentiveness, the ability to absorb information quickly, and regular routines maintain a dog’s behavior.

Because intelligence can be measured in many ways, this list focuses on dogs who understand commands in less than five repetitions and obeyed them 95% of the time or better. Incredible Stamina : This highly intelligent breed thrives when they receive rigorous exercise. Also, this dog requires consistent training as well as regular exercise to curb unwanted behaviors. Crossbreeding farm and herding dogs, the GSD inherited a strong work ethic and they’re a loyal companion. Eager to Learn : Ready for anything, this dog breed requires a consistent way to expel energy. America’s Sweetheart: These playful and loyal dogs require socialization and obedience training to help them become well-mannered. Also, these dogs love runs, hikes, or even trotting alongside, a bicycle. Strong and Agile : This herding dog is very energetic, affectionate, and playful, making this breed an excellent watchdog. They were initially called St. John’s dogs after the capital city of Newfoundland. Muscular and Athletic : This dog breed requires 30-60 minutes of exercise daily, or else, they may be prone to forming problem behaviors. They thrive on mental stimulation, and they learn from every experience, so positive training is essential. Natural Guard Dog : This breed works in the police, military, and customs, but also, they’re a loyal family protector. Unique Origins : In 1893, Robert Kaleski began breeding the Blue Heeler, and he’s responsible for crossbreeding to create a working dog. Pet parents can put their dog’s power to use by training them in agility, herding, tracking, and obedience. Loyal, Protective, and Obedient Companion : The ACD is a canine perfect for pet parents who are willing to accommodate the energy level and need for mental stimulation that this dog breed requires. ANSWER : For the past 26 years, the trust-worthy Labrador retriever has been the most popular breed. Regular Walks :Bond through frequent exercise, play sessions, and behavior training.6.) Here’s a quick breakdown of smartest dog breeds relative to their size. ANSWER : Stanley Coren, a University of British Columbia, Psychology professor, wrote a book on The Intelligence of Dogs. In each intelligence tier, Coren discovered how many times a dog hears a command before they respond, and how often they obey. The top level of dog intelligence picked up a command in less than five repetitions, and they followed 95% of the time or better. Note: While the breeds in this collection tend to be smart, individual pets will vary.

You might think your beagle is the smartest canine on the block, but they have got the dubious honor of being among the least trainable of dog breeds. The snarling Doberman next door? They are a quick study.

From the WebMD ArchivesYou might think your beagle is the smartest canine on the block, but they have got the dubious honor of being among the least trainable of dogbreeds . And although the best in any breed can be nurtured by owners willing to put in the time and effort, there are fixed realities when it comes to your animal’s inherent qualities. If it’s bred to hunt, herd, or retrieve, the dog is more likely to be quick on its feet, eager to work, to move, and to please you. If it’s bred to be a livestock guard dog or a scent hound, it may seem distracted and just a bit dense. Your job is to find a breed that suits your lifestyle and to focus on bringing out the best in your dog. Border Collie: A workaholic, this breed is the world’s premier sheep herder, prized for its intelligence, extraordinary instinct, and working ability. German Shepherd: The world’s leading police, guard, and military dog — and a loving family companion and herder. Continued Veterinarian Sophia Yin, an animal behaviorist in Davis, Calif., tells people to seriously evaluate the amount of energy they have compared to the breed they want to get. Training will require more patience and the right kind of motivation, whether it’s praise, petting, or treats . Her Australian cattle dog, for example, stays at her side when they’re out and loves a pat on the head. Her Jack Russell terrier, a high-energy breed that didn’t make the smart list, has to be rewarded lickety-split with a treat or he’ll lose interest in learning. And the bulldog, which scored well below average on obedience tests, can learn quickly — as long as they don’t feel pushed around or punished. “The number of intelligent dogs I have met has been on the increase over the years because the better trainer I become, the smarter I see they are,” Redenbach says. Sources Stanley Coren, PhD, pyschology professor, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. Chris Redenbach, CDBC (certified dog behavior consultant), Lawrenceville, Ga.

Does your dog ever amaze you by her ability to understand commands? To learn new tricks quickly? Experts measure intelligence in dogs in a few ways, and the smartest dog breeds might surprise you. If your dog didn’t make the top ten list, but you’re convinced of her superior intellect, don’t despair—research shows that most dogs are much smarter than we give them credit for.

The top ten canine Einsteins below all share two qualities: the ability to quickly learn new commands, and the obedience to perform them 95% of the time or better. These beautiful dogs are a unique crossbreed of blue merle shepherds imported from England and the native Australian dingo. High energy and hard-working, these smart dogs thrive in an active home doing intensive sports like agility , rally obedience, herding trials, and flyball. Ancient Roman cattle herders, cart pullers, and guardians, rottweilers are renowned for gentleness with family and friends, and strength and bravery in defending them. Royal portraiture shows small spaniels resembling the Papillon as far back as the 16th century! Papillons are frequent winners at agility competitions and have a reputation for being highly trainable, even by less experienced owners. The most popular dog breed in the U.S. , the Labrador retriever is named for the cold waters off Newfoundland where they were first bred. A short thick coat, webbed feet, and a heavy tail help this intelligent dog swim long distances in cold water. In addition to their hunting prowess, Labs are popular favorites for canine water rescue, therapy work, and assistance dog training. Playful and energetic, the sheltie is equally at home working on the farm or in the ‘burbs, showing off in agility, flyball, and obedience. The Doberman pinscher was originally bred by a German tax collector for protection on his rounds. In WWII, they were trained to guard sleeping troops, lead soldiers through the jungle, and give warning barks if there were enemies hiding close by. Modern Dobermans are far less aggressive and make wonderful family dogs that love to play. Originally hailing from Scotland, this popular dog breed was started in 1865 from a lone yellow pup in a litter of black wavy-coated retrievers, crossbred with a local water spaniel by Lord Tweedmouth of Guisachan . The German shepherd was standardized by breeder Captain Max von Stephanitz in 1889 with a goal of “utility and intelligence.” The modern German shepherd dog is well-known for its ability to learn commands for many different tasks—which is one reason why these beloved dogs rate so high in intelligence. More than just a foofoo haircut, poodles consistently land on the list of smartest dog breeds. This intelligent dog was originally bred in Germany for bird hunting and water retrieving. Their storied history includes many occupations and locales, from herding sheep to crossing the battlefield to bring supplies to the wounded to the performing arts. These hunting dogs are remarkable for their loving nature, trainable intelligence, and sense of humor. The standard, miniature, and toy poodle are all highly athletic, intelligent, and trainable dogs. Bred to think independently and at long distances from human shepherds, they have the problem-solving intelligence and strong working drive to maintain control of the flock.

The 20 Smartest Dog Breeds

Dogs are loyal, lovable, and incredibly smart—but did you know some dog breeds are more intelligent than others? We know your pup is one smart cookie, but let’s see if science agrees.

What are the smartest dog breeds?

Each dog breed has its own strengths. The most affectionate dog breeds love to cuddle, there are dogs that don’t shed, and small dog breeds make the perfect lap dogs. And don’t even get us started on the cutest dog breeds — they’ll have you wrapped around their paws! While dogs are intelligent animals, there are certain breeds that are smarter than others. So, which one is the smartest? With the help of our canine experts, we managed to cut to the chase.

Border Collie

“It’s not a surprise that this hard-working, herding breed comes in first on our list,” say Caitie Steffen, pet expert at Whistle, and Angela Hughes, DVM, PhD, a veterinarian geneticist with Wisdom Panel. Border Collies are always eager to learn and please their owners, which earns them the top spot in this smartest dogs ranking. “How can you argue with a dog with a vocabulary of over 1,000 words?” adds holistic pet therapist and author Sally Morgan, referring to Chaser, a famous Border Collie from South Carolina who was once profiled on CBS’s

Poodle

The poodle has been selected as one of the top-ranked dog breeds for intelligence over and over because of its ability to be loyal, smart, and gentle, according to Lazhar Ichir, founder of Breeding Business, an educational platform for ethical dog breeders. “Poodles learn quickly and often surprise their owners by how human-like they can be,” he says. Wendy Hauser, DVM, adds that poodles are readily trainable and enjoy activities that allow them to be challenged, such as hunting, tracking, agility, and obedience work.

German shepherd

German shepherds are known to be intelligent and alert, so it’s no surprise they’re often employed as service dogs for law enforcement, search and rescue, and disability assistance (many seeing-eye dogs are German shepherds). Bred as herding dogs, German shepherds are adept at evaluating situations and determining the best course of action, adds Jill Cline, PhD, site director of the Royal Canin Pet Health and Nutrition Center in Lewisburg, Ohio. If you’re looking for a pup that will be totally devoted to your comfort, read up on the best emotional support dogs that will stand by you.

Golden retriever

Goldens are known to be calm and easy to train. What makes them some of the smartest dogs is that they’re only too happy to “comply with commands or tasks asked of them by their owners, and they can be relied upon to be consistent with their behavior in a variety of situations,” says Dr. Cline. Golden retrievers are used as service, search and rescue, and therapy dogs. Fun fact: these pups are also some of the best dogs for seniors to own.

Doberman pinscher

A true working dog, these sleek dogs are in demand for their intelligence, trainability, and protective personalities, according to Dr. Hauser. They’re a quick study as service dogs, particularly in law enforcement, say Steffen and Dr. Hughes. “Dobermans are so mentally active that they get bored without sufficient intellectual stimulation,” points out Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics.

Shetland sheepdog

This small herding dog is intelligent, alert, active, fast, and often vocal, making them great herding dogs. “Shelties are capable of following detailed directions and also independent problem solving,” says Morgan. “Natural family dogs, they are also people-pleasers and love nothing more than a good cuddle,” adds Dr. Hauser.

Labrador retriever

Labs (like goldens) show good judgment and bravery, according to Ichir, which makes them wonderful service dogs, especially for people with disabilities. They’ve been ranked among the smartest dogs because they are highly emotionally intelligent and trainable, according to our panel of experts.

Papillon

These big-eared pups are one of the oldest dog breeds—their line can be traced back almost 700 years—which means they’ve had generations of breeding to become one of the smartest around, say Steffen and Dr. Hughes. Papillons excel at both agility training and trick training.

Rottweiler

This strong and giant dog breed dates all the way back to the Roman Empire, when they were used to herd livestock. “Today, Rotties are revered as one of the smartest dogs for their sharp perception, unwavering loyalty, and acute awareness; it’s why they’re often employed as search and rescue dogs, guard dogs, and police dogs,” Morgan says.

Australian cattle dog

This tough herding dog from “down under” shares qualities with the other herding breeds, including an uncanny knack for knowing when and how to solve problems. “They’re eager to learn and respond well to reward-based training, allowing them to participate in a vast array of enjoyable activities including agility, flyball, and Frisbee,” add Steffen and Hughes.

Pembroke Welsh corgi

This happy, smaller, and short-legged dog breed is most fulfilled when there is a job to do, says Dr. Hauser. And adorably, they have a tendency to “herd” their family members, particularly younger children.

Miniature Schnauzer

“These quick learners enjoy being challenged and often excel at sports where they must use their intelligence, like agility and competitive obedience,” say Steffen and Hughes. “Unlike many of the other breeds in the terrier group, Miniature Schnauzers have a strong desire to please and the smarts to do so,” points out Dr. Hauser.

English Springer Spaniel

“The Springer is the place where beauty and utility meet,” according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), which adds that the Springer Spaniel’s energy, stamina, brains, and smooth “rear drive” movement have earned them an exalted place in the realm of bird dogs. “But a Springer—with his smartly marked coat, yearning Spaniel expression, and long, lush ears—would be prized for good looks even if he couldn’t tell a grouse from a mouse [which he can!],” shares the website.

Belgian Tervuren, sheepdog, and Malinois

The Belgian Tervuren, sheepdog, and Malinois all descended from the Belgian sheepdog and all “deserve to make the list due to their intelligent nature and affinity for sports such as agility, tracking, herding, and sledding,” according to Steffen and Hughes. The Tervuren is “loyal and smart,” and “great at tricks,” says Morgan. The Belgian shepherd shares a common heritage with the Schipperke, discussed below. Of the Malinois, Dr. Hauser says, “Classified as working dogs, Belgian Malinois are most recognizable for their roles as police and military dogs.” Smart, loyal, and confident, they possess an admirable work ethic.

Schipperke

Another brainy Belgian dog, the Schipperke descends from the same family as the Belgian sheepdog. Curious, confident, and clever, the Schipperke is a big, brave dog in a small package and makes an excellent watchdog, particularly for boats. In fact, that’s how it got its name: The Flemish word for “boat” is “schip,” and Schipperkes were bred to be ratters on canal barges.

Collie

This breed, made famous by the 1943 movie

Keeshond

“These thick-coated medium-sized dogs were once known at the Dutch Barge Dog,” notes Morgan. They’re used as seeing-eye dogs and are amazingly fast learners. That said, their independence requires a committed and disciplined trainer.

German shorthaired pointer

“Pointers have traditionally been used as sporting dogs, in bird hunting. They are loyal, smart dogs that thrive in very active households,” says Dr. Hauser. These hunting dogs were bred to locate prey and hold a point to identify where the prey is located, which takes an amazing amount of self-confidence and self-control, notes Morgan. They’re also one of those German dog breeds that make great companions.

Flat-coated retriever

The AKC says that the flat-coated retriever, which developed out of the same family as the Labrador, is confident as well as intelligent and makes a highly energetic hunting dog. Like the Lab, the flat-coat is not only one of the smartest dogs, but also makes a wonderful therapy dog.

What are the Smartest Dog Breeds?

What are the Smartest Dog Breeds?

A dog’s intelligence is present in a variety of forms, and trainability is a sign of cleverness. Overall, attentiveness, the ability to absorb information quickly, and regular routines maintain a dog’s behavior.Some breeds of dog are motivated by their strong desire to please, while other dog breeds are smart from instinct and their natural abilities. An intelligent dog is the result of pet parents putting in the time and effort to properly train their dog. After all, a well-adjusted dog is just smarter.

1. Border Collie

Because intelligence can be measured in many ways, this list focuses on dogs who understand commands in less than five repetitions and obeyed them 95% of the time or better. Check out the top ten smartest dog breeds.

3. German Shepherd Dog

5. Doberman Pinscher

7. Labrador Retriever

9. Rottweiler

Top Dogs

In his bestselling book,The University of British Columbia psychology professor relied on the assessments of 110 breeds by more than 200 professional dog obedience judges who scored breeds based on working/obedience tests.The top dogs absorbed commands in less than five repetitions and obeyed them 95% of the time or better. Here’s the list along with a breed description by the American Kennel Club:

Continued

Do Smart Dogs Make Better Pets?

You might think a smart dog will do what you want it to do. Not necessarily.”Smart doesn’t mean easy,” Coren says.”A Doberman is going to get bored and destroy your sofa and vase collection if you’re out of the house for 8 to 10 hours a day, while an English bulldog may take 8 hours to figure out you’re gone,” Coren says. “You’ll come home and he’ll greet you and your pottery is still on the shelf.”A border collie is bred to work all day, so if it doesn’t have an opportunity to work or exercise, it will be miserable, says Chris Redenbach, an Atlanta-based dog trainer who runs The Balanced Dog training program. “Typically, it’ll come out in other areas, like destructiveness, running away, nipping at kids.”Having a smart dog “is like having a very smart kid,” Redenbach says. “They’re always into something and will get into trouble if they’re bored.Coren says his beloved beagle, a breed that scored low in obedience tests, is perfect around Coren’s nine grandchildren because they don’t seem to mind — or remember — them pulling on their ears.

Continued

Veterinarian Sophia Yin, an animal behaviorist in Davis, Calif., tells people to seriously evaluate the amount of energy they have compared to the breed they want to get.”Are they the type of person who can exercise it a few hours a day? How much time are they willing to invest in training the dog, because the more energetic the dog is, the more training he might need,” she says. “When they think they want a smart dog, it’s a huge misconception. They don’t need smart; they need attentive.”

The top 10 smartest dog breeds

10. Australian Cattle Dog

There’s a reason that people are devoted to this breed! These beautiful dogs are a unique crossbreed of blue merle shepherds imported from England and the native Australian dingo. High energy and hard-working, these smart dogs thrive in an active home doing intensive sports like agility, rally obedience, herding trials, and flyball.These dogs are known for an incredible work drive—so much so that experts recommend owners ensure their dog is engaged in work, sport, or exercise as they can be mischievous. They’re famous for their intelligence and are even known to outsmart their owners on occasion!

9. Rottweiler

Ancient Roman cattle herders, cart pullers, and guardians, rottweilers are renowned for gentleness with family and friends, and strength and bravery in defending them. These dogs can be quite silly and playful, despite their size.They were one of the first breeds used as guide dogs and are still used in some search and rescue missions. Thorough training and socialization is an absolute must for puppies to mature into solid canine citizens.

8. Papillon

The Papillon is named for its graceful feathered ears. Royal portraiture shows small spaniels resembling the Papillon as far back as the 16th century! This toy breed is active, athletic, and companionable—the smartest of the toy dog breeds. Papillons are frequent winners at agility competitions and have a reputation for being highly trainable, even by less experienced owners.

7. Labrador Retriever

The most popular dog breed in the U.S., the Labrador retriever is named for the cold waters off Newfoundland where they were first bred. A short thick coat, webbed feet, and a heavy tail help this intelligent dog swim long distances in cold water.In addition to their hunting prowess, Labs are popular favorites for canine water rescue, therapy work, and assistance dog training. Labs excel in the canine sport of dock jumping.

6. Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland sheepdog may look just like a miniature collie, but they started out as a local variant of the Icelandic sheepdog found in the Shetland Islands. These small dogs were then bred to rough collies to create this unique breed.Playful and energetic, the sheltie is equally at home working on the farm or in the ‘burbs, showing off in agility, flyball, and obedience. These dogs are well-known for their intelligence and skill at herding but are also good guard dogs as they bark and are wary of strangers.

5. Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman pinscher was originally bred by a German tax collector for protection on his rounds. In WWII, they were trained to guard sleeping troops, lead soldiers through the jungle, and give warning barks if there were enemies hiding close by.Modern Dobermans are far less aggressive and make wonderful family dogs that love to play. Muscular in build, they’re renown for their loyalty and fearlessness and are one of the most recognized guard dogs.

4. Golden Retriever

Originally hailing from Scotland, this popular dog breed was started in 1865 from a lone yellow pup in a litter of black wavy-coated retrievers, crossbred with a local water spaniel by Lord Tweedmouth of Guisachan.This gorgeous, friendly dog still excels in retrieving, as well as agility and obedience, and as service dogs. But their favorite job is being the family pet. Americans love this dog breed because they’re highly trainable and have a loving personality.

3. German Shepherd

The German shepherd was standardized by breeder Captain Max von Stephanitz in 1889 with a goal of “utility and intelligence.” The modern German shepherd dog is well-known for its ability to learn commands for many different tasks—which is one reason why these beloved dogs rate so high in intelligence.Known for athleticism, loyalty, and confidence, German shepherds can be wonderful family dogs as well as skilled herders, military canines, and assistance dogs.

2. Poodle

More than just a foofoo haircut, poodles consistently land on the list of smartest dog breeds. This intelligent dog was originally bred in Germany for bird hunting and water retrieving.Their storied history includes many occupations and locales, from herding sheep to crossing the battlefield to bring supplies to the wounded to the performing arts. These hunting dogs are remarkable for their loving nature, trainable intelligence, and sense of humor. The standard, miniature, and toy poodle are all highly athletic, intelligent, and trainable dogs.

1. Border Collie

And finally, no list of smartest dog breeds would be complete without a mention of this handsome dog. Originally known as the “Scotch sheepdog,” the border collie hails from the highland border of England and Scotland.Bred to think independently and at long distances from human shepherds, they have the problem-solving intelligence and strong working drive to maintain control of the flock. Chaser, the dog who knows 1,022 toys by name, is an amazing example of the intelligence of her breed.

Learn more about your dog

The next 10 dog breeds are pretty darn smart too: