What Is the Smartest Dog?

Dogs are loyal, lovable, and incredibly smartbut 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.

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 CBSs 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 theyre 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 breedstheir line can be traced back almost 700 yearswhich means theyve had generations of breeding to become one of the smartest around, say Steffen and Dr. Hughes.

Theyre 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 Springerwith his smartly marked coat, yearning Spaniel expression, and long, lush earswould be prized for good looks even if he couldnt 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 humans, 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.

Which is the most intelligent dog?

German shepherd. ….Golden retriever. ….Doberman pinscher. ….Shetland sheepdog. Shetland sheepdog © iStock. ….Labrador retriever. Labrador retriever © iStock. ….Papillon. Papillon © iStock. ….Rottweiler. Rottweiler © iStock. ….Australian cattle dog. Australian cattle dog © iStock.

What is the number 1 smartest dog breed?

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.

Who is no 1 dog in world?

(CBS News) — The Labrador Retriever is still the most popular dog breed, according to the American Kennel Club. The AKC released its Most Popular Dog Breeds list on May 1, 2020. It’s based on 2019 AKC registration statistics.

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 didnt make the top ten list, but youre convinced of her superior intellect, dont despairresearch shows that most dogs are much smarter than we give them credit for.

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 taskswhich 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.

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.

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. Australian Cattle Dog: Happiest doing a job like herding, obedience, or agility. 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 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.

They may not be ready to beat you in a game of chess, but these brainy dogs are easy to train and generally anxious to please you. Here are 15 breeds with notable smarts.

So if you’re looking for dogs who can follow your commands with precision, or just an affable family pet who can roll over for a treat, here’s a list of the breeds who will probably be easiest to train . With perhaps the greatest combination of size, athleticism, and intelligence in the entire dog kingdom, the German shepherd is prized for everything from show competitions to home protection to military and police work.

Bearing a close resemblance to their larger cousin, the collie , the Sheltie has been a consistent champion in obedience competitions almost since the moment of their recognition by the AKC in 1911. Perhaps one of the more surprising entries on this list, the Rottweiler has been a popular protection and guard dog for decades, but perhaps without the same reputation for intellect as the German shepherd. One of the most popular cattle-herding dogs in the world, the diminutive Pembroke Welsh corgi shoves a big ol’ brain into that little fuzzy body.

Like the other herding dogs on this list, the Pembroke is smart enough to learn a routine, understand which things are “his,” and to be left to his own devices for long periods of time. At home, these friendly little dogs are happy to turn that intelligence towards learning tricks, playing games , and participating in agility coursework. Another dog that’s equally at home on the farm or in an apartment , the miniature schnauzer is an adaptable, friendly, quick-learning companion who is highly trainable and able to handle a variety of tasks.

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.

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.

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:

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:

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 dogis 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.”

15 of the Smartest Dog Breeds

They may not be ready to beat you in a game of chess, but these brainy dogs are easy to train and generally anxious to please you. Here are 15 breeds with notable smarts.Growing up, just about everyone dreams of having a dog they can teach tricks to. Regardless of whether that’s still your aim, or if you’re looking for a dog who can compete in competitions, or just want a family pet who will know not to tear up the furniture and jump on strangers, how smart your dog is will determine how quickly she can learn.”As with any other trait, intelligence is going to vary from dog to dog, depending on family tree and other factors,” says Dennis Riordan, DVM, of the Riordan Pet Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. “But generally speaking, ‘intelligence’ is measured in dogs based on how many repetitions of a command it takes for them to figure out what you want them to do, and how often they follow learned commands the first or second time you say it. So if you’re teaching them a trick, or kennel training, or anything that involves their memory and recall, some breeds have been fairly consistently shown to do those things faster and more consistently than others.”The smartest dog breeds, regardless of size or origin, all have that one thing in common: how quickly they can understand commands and how quickly they follow them. In the very smartest of dog breeds, hand signals and verbal commands can be trained simultaneously and used interchangeably, usually with no difference in response time. So if you’re looking for dogs who can follow your commands with precision, or just an affable family pet who can roll over for a treat, here’s a list of the breeds who will probably be easiest to train.

Border Collie

If you’re looking for a dog that can just about do it all, you’re looking for a border collie. These brilliant herding dogs have been keeping flocks of sheep safe throughout Scotland and Wales for centuries, and shepherds often refer to them as “the perfect shepherding dog.” In addition to learning cues quickly, these dogs are smart enough to learn and understand routines, and can be trained to handle daily tasks without much supervision. Nimble, athletic, and observant, border collies have continually done well in agility competitions, dominating competitions like the prestigious Crufts International in their native UK.

Poodle

Don’t let the fluffy hairdo fool you: Poodles are adept hunters, effective water dogs, and some of the brightest dogs you’re going to come across. Poodles of all sizes carry a high degree of intelligence, but the standard is the one best equipped to utilize those smarts, thanks to his greater size and strength. Underneath all those curls, the standard poodle sports a strong, slender body that makes him a great swimmer and excellent at retrieving.

German Shepherd

They’re the second most popular dog breed in the United States for a reason. With perhaps the greatest combination of size, athleticism, and intelligence in the entire dog kingdom, the German shepherd is prized for everything from show competitions to home protection to military and police work. Deeply loyal and eager to please, well-trained German shepherds make excellent family pets as well. The first genuine canine movie star—Rin Tin Tin—was a German shepherd, and that’s not a coincidence. They learn and retain new skills with alarming speed and consistency, and they have the physical gifts to accomplish truly astonishing feats.”German Shepherds, especially American-born purebreds, tend to have pretty serious issues with hip dysplasia as they age,” Riordan says. “So a lot of people who buy them as pups, they’ll see them slow down dramatically around age 8.”

Golden Retriever

Coming in just behind the German shepherd in popularity in the U.S., golden retrievers are beloved for their affable, people-pleasing, joyous nature. But in addition to being some of the friendliest dogs alive, they’re also among the smartest. This has helped make them excellent choices for service and therapy dogs, as well as working as search and rescue dogs, hunting dogs, and champion field and obedience competition animals as well.

Doberman Pinscher

Long one of the world’s premier protection dogs, the Doberman pinscher is a physical specimen almost without equal. Though they are fast, agile, and strong, these dogs’ greatest feature is their intelligence, which enables them to learn a variety of commands and tasks quickly, and allows owners to trust that they’ll follow commands unerringly.

Shetland Sheepdog

Bearing a close resemblance to their larger cousin, the collie, the Sheltie has been a consistent champion in obedience competitions almost since the moment of their recognition by the AKC in 1911. Much like their collie relatives, the Shetland sheepdog is a remarkably intelligent breed as a matter of necessity. As herders, they were required to keep track of a large number of wandering animals for long periods of time, often without supervision. This has created a small, nimble dog who is keenly observant and thrives on having a job to do.

Labrador Retriever

The most popular breed in the United States every year since 1991, these gregarious, hardworking hunting dogs are no slouches when it comes to brains, either. Not actually

Papillon

Looks and brains! These adorable little dogs have long been a favorite among royalty and aristocracy thanks to their regal appearance and charming personalities. But inside those tiny, plumed heads is a first-rate mind! Papillons delight in learning tricks and performing for people. Being the center of attention and making people smile is practically the papillon’s

Rottweiler

Perhaps one of the more surprising entries on this list, the Rottweiler has been a popular protection and guard dog for decades, but perhaps without the same reputation for intellect as the German shepherd. But make no mistake, these guys are as quick on the pickup as anyone. Don’t underestimate your Rottie’s ability to learn a few tricks!

Australian Cattle Dog

Related to Australia’s famously devious feral dog, the dingo, the Australian cattle dog was custom bred by British settlers specifically to handle Australia’s intense heat, rough terrain, and wide open spaces. Some of the finest herding dogs you’re apt to find, Australian cattle dogs are a highly intelligent breed, capable of following herds for great distances and keeping their flocks in line for days at a time without supervision. On the homefront, this translates to a quick-learning, observant family pet with a wry sense of humor and a penchant for mischief. Keep in mind that, even though they adapt well to city life, the Australian cattle dog is always going to be happiest with a job to do, so consider agility, herding, or flyball competitions to keep him happy and engaged!

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

One of the most popular cattle-herding dogs in the world, the diminutive Pembroke Welsh corgi shoves a big ol’ brain into that little fuzzy body. Like the other herding dogs on this list, the Pembroke is smart enough to learn a routine, understand which things are “his,” and to be left to his own devices for long periods of time. It’s a skill that requires improvisation and critical thinking skills that are in high demand among farm dogs of all stripes, and that intelligence has been purpose-bred into the Pembroke’s DNA. At home, these friendly little dogs are happy to turn that intelligence towards learning tricks, playing games, and participating in agility coursework.

Miniature Schnauzer

Another dog that’s equally at home on the farm or in an apartment, the miniature schnauzer is an adaptable, friendly, quick-learning companion who is highly trainable and able to handle a variety of tasks. These dogs love to hunt and are long-time favorites on the agility course, where their keen observation skills and pattern recognition comes in especially handy!

English Springer Spaniel

English springer spaniels make some of the most hardworking hunters you’ll find. They’ve been bred specifically for working with humans in the field, so they take especially well to learning tasks required for flushing (“springing”) game birds, as well as retrieving game. They can be trained to work off a boat, and become adapted to the sound of gunfire remarkably quickly as well. An important skill for hunting dogs is the ability to train to a whistle, and English springers have long shown a particular adaptability to understanding nonverbal commands.

Belgian Tervuren

Tervs were bred by Belgian farmers to be both a herding dog and guard dog. The Terv is happiest when he’s got a taxing job to do, and if you don’t have the means to keep him active and thinking every day, you might want to look elsewhere for a pet. Hunters, farmers, and people who live very active lifestyles will find the Terv best to their liking. Because of their need for a job to focus on, bored Tervs are smart enough to start looking for ways to amuse themselves, which will often mean finding ways to outsmart their human companions. But owners who can keep them engaged and learning will be rewarded to see the dog‘s genuine delight when they master a new task or job.