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Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

At A Glance

Stanley Coren published his book “The Intelligence of Dogs” in 1994, which outlined the ten smartest dog breeds in the world.

These top-tier dogs can learn new commands after less than five instances of exposure. They are obedient to their owners nearly 100% of the time.

Last Updated on: Aug 22, 2022

You want the cutest and most adorable puppy that you can find. The fluffiest and cuddliest in the litter are always the first that get adopted.

It’s the same with wits and brains. Many dog lovers want the smartest dogs who can be trained and follow commands like a pro. But like humans, no two dogs are equal.

Additionally, certain dog breeds are nurtured and trained for different purposes. This means they each have specific experiences in their dedicated fields such as hunting, working, herding, sporting, and more.

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Australian cattle dog

Australian Cattle Dog

Also known as Blue Heeler and Queensland Heeler, this breed is a cross between the beautiful Blue Merle Shepherds from England and the native Australian dingo.

These hard-working dogs are happiest when herding, as they can demonstrate their intensive agility and obedience training.

These dogs are intelligent and full of energy, and they thrive in action and physical activities.

Australian cattle dogs have a deep sense of duty and are incredibly loyal and protective of their owners.

Not barkers by nature, these silent watchers have an independent streak, and they do well in a structured household.

Also Read: Top 10 Dumbest Dog Breeds


Initially intimidating because of their fierce looks, Rotties are one of the gentlest breeds that you can meet.

Once used as cart pullers, cattle herders, and family guardians, Rottweilers are reliable dogs that use their bravery and strength to protect their human families.

Rottweilers have very strong instincts that lean towards protecting and guarding their humans.

Their ability to anticipate and read people’s intentions makes them incredibly intelligent.

Extremely powerful but playful, Rottweilers love being provided with responsibilities. They are also great police dogs, service dogs, herders, and therapy dogs.



Named after their graceful and pretty feathered ears, the Papillon is the toy breed’s representative in the smart category.

This small but spirited dog is usually one of the top favorites among agility and obedience trainers who want a petite and athletic competition canine.

Even less experienced dog owners can get great results when they train Papillons. They are naturally curious, trainable, and smart dogs.

Their intense and sensitive eyes can track the slightest change in their environment, a sign of their intelligence.

Labrador retriever dog

Labrador Retriever

One of the most popular smart dog breeds is the Labrador Retriever, and their intelligence is often shown in movies and shows.

This breed has a gentle demeanor and an intense excitement for the sport of dock jumping. And thanks to their short but thick coat, heavy tail, and webbed feet, they can swim long distances, even in cold water.

Aside from their impressive hunting and retrieving abilities, Labrador Retrievers are also enlisted in canine water rescue and therapy work.

Labs can also help provide training for other dogs in detection and search and rescue activities.

They are an incredibly smart breed, and you can expect them to adapt to any environment and circumstance with ease.

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog

Nicknamed the “Sheltie,” this smaller version of the Collie is classified as a working breed. They are energetic and playful, and they love helping out on farms, especially when you give them herding responsibilities.

Shelties have superb agility, obedience, and flyball skills. What sets them apart in intelligence is their natural herding skills, even with minimal to no human training.

This natural skill equates to a special dog IQ type referred to as instinctive intelligence.

Doberman Pinscher dog

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher is one of the smartest dog breeds. This breed has long been the face of aggressive, ferocious, and intimidating guard dogs.

Their primary purpose is to guard and protect households and buildings. But when you look past their intimidating looks, you can find a wonderful and dependable family dog.

Initially bred by a German tax collector for security, Dobermans were also trained to protect sleeping troops during World War II.

Muscular in build, Doberman Pinschers can effectively recognize threats in almost all situations regardless of the environment, and they remain fearless in all conditions.

This is one of the main characteristics of excellent police and battle dogs.

Golden Retriever Dog

Golden Retriever

No dog breed is as popular as the Golden Retriever in this list of the smartest dog breeds. This gorgeous breed is a pro when it comes to retrieving, obedience, and agility. They are also highly trainable.

Golden Retrievers have a high adaptive IQ, so they can quickly read human emotions and respond accordingly.

They are also effective communicators, which is why they have long been an incredibly popular family pet.

They have the intelligence and social skills to quickly develop strong relationships with their owners and even other pets.

German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd

German Shepherds did not earn their reputation as the top police and military dog from nothing. Their athleticism, trainability, and confidence contribute to their success as excellent family dogs, reliable herders, and law enforcement.

They can learn new commands and tasks quickly and perform well when given responsibility. Their adaptability and inquisitive nature make them highly intelligent.

Having strong instincts is also beneficial. That’s why they are often tapped for search and rescue operations and even bomb detection tasks.

This breed is also very cooperative and eager to please their humans, which is why they tend to execute learned skills as quickly as they can.

Poodle dog


More than just a pretty face and distinct haircut, Poodles have long been considered one of the smartest dog breeds.

They were bred in Germany for water retrieval and bird hunting. They have then been further trained to herd sheep, bring supplies to the wounded during battles, and even perform in shows.

Poodles are superb hunters, and regardless of size, they are trainable, athletic, and highly intelligent.

They are most popular for their recall memory and strong instincts, especially in water.

Border collie dog

Border Collie

The Scotch sheepdog or Border Collie is an independent thinker known for its problem-solving skills.

Border Collies are workaholics by nature. They love being assigned something to accomplish. You can rely on this breed to expertly herd sheep and cattle.

Border Collies have extraordinary instincts, and their working capabilities are superb. They are the only dog breed that can move sheep into different formations and get them moving in the needed direction.

These dogs don’t need any special training to make this happen, and they rely purely on instinct.

Also Read: Strongest Dog Breeds

Dog wearing glasses and bow

Having one of the smartest dog breeds is definitely a huge plus. But more than your dog’s ability to learn new commands and tricks, you also need to consider your preference and lifestyle before choosing a breed to bring home.

You can expect all dogs to love, cherish, and protect you with their life regardless of the breed.


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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

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