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The Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

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Studies have suggested that dogs display many behaviors associated with intelligence. They show emotional attachment to their owners, can feel jealousy, understand body language and cues, and assist us in the improvement of our daily lives. These qualities are most likely the result of evolution, with the selection of dogs best adapted to living with humans.

Psychologist Stanley Coren’s famous book, The Intelligence of Dogs, lists the smartest dogs based on three categories: obedience, instinctive, and adaptive intelligence. Keep on reading to find out if your adorable pup makes it to the top 10 brightest canines!

1 Border Collie

1. Border Collie

The Border Collie is the smartest dog in the world regarding obedience training. Compared with other intelligent breeds that learn a command within 20–45 repetitions, the border collie learns five times faster. The breed excels at learning from previous experiences, implying a highly adaptable IQ. They are the most famous of the herding breeds and are considered the world’s best sheepherders. 

2 Poodle

2. Poodle

The national dog of France, poodles of all sizes are exceptionally smart, athletic, and trainable. Learning a basic command takes them around five repetitions. Poodles are extremely intelligent, both instinctively and adaptively. And because they were bred to be water retrievers, they are naturally good swimmers.

3 German Sheperd

3. German Shepherd

With a sharp sense of smell, German shepherds are the leading police, guard, and military dogs. They can successfully obey a known command on the first try with a success rate of 95% or higher. Few creatures are capable of such feats! They are highly adaptive and instinctive. The temperament of the German Shepherd and its power and stamina make it an outstanding working dog. As a result, they can be taught to execute challenging tasks such as explosive or drug-sniffing, tracking, and detection.

4 Golden Retriever

4. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is one of the best dogs for families. They are affectionate and caring by nature. As their name suggests, they are retrieving and sporting dogs. They were bred to retrieve birds and prey back to their owners with no damage. The ability to bring back an animal with no damage requires a high level of intelligence. Due to their desire to please people, these dogs may be trusted to act consistently in many situations. And when it comes to intelligence, it’s not just about brainpower but their ability to follow commands and tasks from their owners. 

5 Doberman Pinscher

5. Doberman Pinscher

The 5th smartest dog breed, Doberman Pinschers, has great intuition. They can sense perceived threats and distinguish friends from foes, making them the ideal guard dog. Doberman Pinschers are used for police and military work, search and rescue, as therapy dogs, and other forms of service.

6 Shetland Sheepdog

6. Shetland Sheepdog

Similar to Border Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs are known as great herding animals. With little to no human training, it comes naturally to them with instinctive intelligence. They sense how flocks move and coordinate their movements. It takes a unique kind of intelligence to round up sheep, organize them into formations, drive them in a specific way, and push them in a certain direction.

7 Labrador Retriever

7. Labrador Retriever

Having an excellent sense of smell and the capacity to make good decisions based on it, Labrador Retrievers were bred initially for fishing. They are known to have high adaptive intelligence, which refers to their ability to self-train by imitating and watching humans.

8 Papillon

8. Papillon

The Papillon breed can be traced to almost 700 years ago. One of the oldest dog breeds, it has evolved to be one of the world’s smartest dogs. They are among the most trainable breeds, frequently excelling in competitions for agility and obedience. They are attentive, obedient, and have a high aptitude for learning.

9 Rottweiler

9. Rottweiler

Rottweilers score highly in the tests for obedience, instinct, and adaptive intelligence. With just a couple of minutes of training, they can pick up commands easily on their first attempt. They have incredible instincts because they were bred for guarding purposes. They make excellent police dogs, therapy and service dogs, and all-around everyday companions. 

10 Australian Cattle Dog

10. Australian Cattle Dog

Bred in Australia to herd cattle, they react well to training while also possessing a remarkable ability to learn on their own. They may not be compatible however in living with people in the city or in an apartment. Australian Cattle Dogs are smart and organized but can be destructive when bored. 

And there you have it! Did your dog make it to the list?

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  1. Avatar Of Renee



    What about the schneale (schnauzer/beagle)?
    Mine is smart…sometimes to much for his own good.

  2. Avatar Of D.



    I used to have a German Shepherd, Gretchen! I LOVED her very-much, she was a sweetheart…but I don’t think she was all that smart.

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