Top 10 most intelligent dog breeds

Charan PetWah
By Charan PetWah 9 Min Read
9 Min Read

Is your dog smart enough? If they are one of the breeds in this list, there are chances that they are amongst the smartest dogs out there. Whilst they might not be able to do mathematics, the dogs mentioned in this list show extraordinary abilities to learn.

It’s not a coincident that the breeds mentioned in this list are smart – almost all are descended from working dogs. Breeders usually select the dogs which perform their jobs best – usually the smartest and trainable ones. During this process, they have created breeds with above-average intelligence, who shine with good training and exercise.

Taking on such an intelligent dog requires loads of hard work. You have to make sure you’re prepared to keep them from getting bored – that means plenty of mental stimulation like games, challenges, and training along with their normal exercise routine. Speaking of exercise, most of these dogs need a good deal of it, so it is advised to keep track of how much they’re actually getting . Both the  Dog GPS Tracker and the  Dog Activity Monitor include award-winning activity monitoring so you can find out precisely how much walking, running, playing and rest they’re getting every day.

Top 10 most intelligent dog breeds

Top 10 most intelligent dog breeds
Top 10 most intelligent dog breeds
  1. Border Collie

Border Collies consistently tops the rankings for intelligence in dogs. They’ve been bred for herding sheep, a job which many still do today, and to be honest that is not an easy task. With just a few instructions from their handler, they must be able to make quick decisions to drive the sheep where they need to go and work with other dogs and the herdsman to ensure the sheep end up where they are meant to be. 

With their sublime agility and speed, Border Collies are ideal for canine sports like agility, canicross , obedience and disc dog, as well as making beautiful companions.

One Border Collie named Chaser has identified and retrieved about 1,022 toys by their name in tests, the most by any non-human animal achieved according to the study. Chaser also demonstrated an understanding of grammar and an ability to infer the name of a new object by excluding the objects that she already knew – smart, isn’t she?

  • Poodle

Few people may think that the Poodle is nothing but a showy dog on the arms of the upper classes – but they are wrong. Like many of the other dogs on this list, the Poodle is a gun dog, particularizing in retrieving game from water. They need to be able to think on their feet and steer tricky terrain – their smarts would be helpful!

The Poodle’s paw can be used to do many jobs and canine sports – from assistance dogs to agility pros, they shine at all sorts and make loyal canine companions.

More recently, the Poodle has become one of the most popular parent breed of many of the nation’s favourite cross-breed dogs such as Cockapoos and Labradoodles.

  • German Shepherd

The noble German Shepherd is famous for its role as a police dog, but they were predominantly bred to herd sheep and protect them from predators and other threats. Just like the other herding dogs on this list, working German Shepherds owners wanted them to be intelligent and capable of making independent decisions as well as understanding their handler’s commands. 

Whether being a pampered pup at home or working as a police dog, German Shepherds are brutally loyal to their owners and shine in obedience training.

  • Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is not only easily trainable but also is a great family dog. Their extraordinary emotional intelligence makes them perfect candidates for assistance dogs, even though they were originally bred as gun dogs. They are capable of thinking independently and make quick decisions when working, which is required in many of their roles.

  • Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinschers were at first bred as guard dogs, but fans of the breed will know them as energetic, loyal, intelligent companions. They are easily trainable and their instinct to protect means that they have unblemished focus and attention. Modern Dobermans are much less aggressive compared to their working ancestors and can make wonderful house pets with good and consistent training.

  • Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog, also known as the Sheltie, is another shepherded dog, bred on the Shetland Islands. Farmers needed Shelties to do all sorts around the farm, including letting their family know when a stranger was approaching the farm and keeping birds out of the field. They are smart and quick, meaning they dominate agility in their size group, and are often best pick for competitors who don’t want to run a Border Collie.

  • Labrador Retriever

The Labrador is the typical family dog, and though they might act goofy at home, these hardy pooches are actually very easy to train and eager to please. Them bred as a gun dog means they must be able to think quickly, judge scenarios and make a quick decision – the same skills needed to be an exceptional assistance dog. 

In fact, not only are Labradors the first choice for assistance dogs, but they’re also put to work with their nose sniffing out on all manner of things, from illegal items to medical illnesses in humans.

  • Papillon

The Papillon is the smallest pooch on this list and perhaps might be a surprise entry to some. However, when you look past their showy ‘butterfly’ ears, you’ll find a dog with great intelligence, drive and charm. Bred from early Spaniels, it’s no surprise that the Papillon has inherited some of their brain power and intelligence, and owners are often glad to find that their dogs can stand out in sports like agility and obedience.

  • Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is a misunderstood dog which is used for many jobs – herding cattle, pulling butcher’s carts, and as police and military dogs. These smart and intelligent dogs have shown their capability to adapt to all sorts of roles – including as beloved family partners – and love to have a job. They shine with firm and consistent leadership, forming close bonds with their owners. 

  1. Australian Cattle Dog

Last, but not the least, is the plucky Australian Cattle Dog. This sturdy pup was bred to shepherd cattle over long distances. To deal with animals much larger than itself it requires the Australian Cattle Dog to be firm, driven, and quick thinking – qualities that they have in droves. Unique amongst other dogs, the Australian Cattle Dog can trace bloodlines back to domesticated dingos, themselves described as showing incredible intelligence.

Picking an intelligent dog breed can be incredibly rewarding, but you must be prepared to spend enough of time with them, keeping them mentally and physically challenged. We recommend a good deal of exciting walks, canine sports, and playtime!

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