The 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

Posted by Eddie Salama on

Are you thinking about getting a smart dog breed you can train yourself? You may have seen that irresistibly cute beagle of your neighbor and promised you’d get one, but it pays to know that this breed is among the hardest to train. Interestingly, dog intelligence is much like human intelligence in that it comes in different forms. Experts agree that virtually any dog can pick up the basics such as sitting and staying, but some prove to catch on faster than others.

How exactly does one measure the intelligence of dogs? It's based on trainability. Prompt obedience to commands is of course, an indication of how easily a dog can be trained. If you want to limit your search to the smartest dog breeds, read on.

1) Border Collie

For a smart, energetic, and affectionate companion, look no further than the Border collie. This smart dog breed is second to none when it comes to athleticism and agility. It’s also fond of cuddling, making it the perfect friend during those days when you need a hug. The Border collie is also well known for its herding eye, a fearsome gaze it uses for sheep herding. Its hypnotic gaze keeps the flock at bay.


2) Poodle

The poodle consistently ranks among the most popular dog breeds year after year - and for a good reason. It’s always fascinating to see poodles standing tall and proud. Aside from its captivating look, the poodle is also extremely smart. Its high intelligence makes it easy to train. This is not surprising considering the fact that this smart dog breed are good at retrieving things thrown into the water.  Whether you want your dog to hunt, retrieve, or track, the poodle should rank high on your list.


smartest dog breed

3) German shepherd

What dog breed comes to mind when you hear intelligence, confidence, and bravery? Without question, it’s the German shepherd. There’s a reason why they’re the top choice of the police. This smart dog breed serves as an all-purpose worker, capable of learning specialized tasks that make them invaluable to any owner.

4) Golden Retriever

For many years, golden retrievers have been considered one of the smartest dog breeds. They offer the perfect combination of friendliness, intelligence, and skill. It’s a dog breed that knows how to execute its job to heart. You can train it to hunt or simply as a loving companion.


smartest dog breed


5) Doberman Pinscher

Here’s another reliable police dog. The Doberman Pinscher acts as strong and intelligent as it looks. Their high intelligence makes them capable of retaining trained skills over the years. Though the dobbie is feared because it is seen as aggressive, it is in fact, a gentle loving dog that doesn't bring troube to itself. It is ready to defend its family anytime. Moreover, interesting to learn that Dobermans have even served in wars back in the day, a testament to their true capabilities.


As an owner of this exceptionally smart dog breed, once is expected to take the lead in training it to the best of its abilities. A Doberman Pinscher owner must not be lazy. The Doberman should always be presented with new challenges in order to prevent boredom.


smartest dog breed

6) Shetland Sheepdog

This dog breed shares plenty of similar characteristics with the Border Collie. They are equally as playful, making them an excellent choice if you want a dog that can play with your kids. The Shetland sheepdog is incredibly loyal. They can also serve as reliable watchdogs to ward off strangers.

Their playful nature is coupled with their natural instinct for herding. You may find them chasing little animals such as squirrels or chickens. They need to be stimulated as much as possible in order to keep them from making a mess.  


smartest dog breed

7) Labrador Retriever

The Labrador retriever has always been the most popular dog breed in the US. Many consider it as the ideal dog for families. It’s a very gentle and affectionate dog. Of course, it also has the smarts to be easily trained even by your little ones.

The sweet-natured Labrador has a sweet temperament that makes them great therapy dogs. This shows the extent to which they can be taught to even care gently for people. This characteristic is however, an impediment to them being watchdogs

Many Labrador owners haplessly complained that even though this smart dog breed can be taught to assist the handicapped, they can't be depended on as watchdogs. Intruders can even be welcomed and shown around the house.


8) Papillon

This dog breed’s name literally translates to “butterfly” in French, owing to its ears that resembles the shape of the butterfly. The Papillon is known for being an alert dog, but it isn’t too aggressive that it gets in trouble all the time. If you want a dog that can perform a truckload of tricks, then the Papillon is a great choice thanks to its incredible agility.

9) Bloodhound

Don’t let their wrinkled faces and droopy ears fool you. While they might look bored all the time, Bloodhounds are known for being attentive. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another dog breed as inquisitive and determined as the Bloodhound.


10) Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is a fantastic service dog primarily because it loves to work. It oozes confidence in all the things it does. Without a doubt, you’ll find the Rottweiler to be a loyal and loving companion.

Rotts need consistency in training. These highly intelligent dog breed will test their owners to see if they really mean what they said. Clarity is very important in order to establish a routine and manage these lovable dogs well. 


After reading this list, you can’t simply get yourself a smart dog breed and expect it to do all kinds of tricks. As the pack leader, you need to invest enough time and effort to nurture your dog’s inherent intelligence and abilities. Also, never assume that the smartest dog breeds make the best pets. You need to find a dog breed that matches your lifestyle.

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