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Top 12 Smartest Dog Breeds

Black poodle smart dog breed

What makes certain breeds considered the “smartest” amongst dogs?

Generally speaking, hunting, herding, or retrieving breeds are more likely to be easier to train due to their inherited qualities to learn quickly.

Another essential aspect to keep in mind is that often the best pets are not the “smartest dogs”. So, when finding a breed to suit your lifestyle and amount of time you’re willing to put in is super important.

If intelligence is something you are after then this list will help you narrow your search for your ideal breed!

Top 12 Smartest Dog Breeds

1. Poodle

Poodles are typically known for their fluffy, cotton-ball-like looks, but some may not know just how intelligent they can be. Coming in 3 variety of sizes, all poodles have the same build and proportions. Poodles have proven themselves as versatile, athletic, and highly trainable via their amazing success as show dogs. These dogs are known for their adaptability and their hypoallergenic coats. Poodles are a great option for a smart, reliable, and kind dog should your family be looking for their new furry companion.

2. German Shepherd

German Shepherd laying in grass with its tongue out

German Shepherd dogs are the perfect breed to add to your family as well. Known for their speed and agility, German Shepherds are amongst the smartest breeds. This breed is the most utilized in the K9 police force, service dog industry, and military troops. Their sheer instincts are why they are capable of learning commands for multiple tasks. They are known as guardians, loyal, and confident. Due to their ability to train quickly and their willingness to serve, German Shepherds are often considered as one of the most intelligent dogs. 

3. Border Collies

You’ve already heard about herd breeds. The Border Collie is among the most trainable dogs. When looking for high energy, quick-witted, and skillful pups, Border Collies are viable competition for your next companion. Those who wish to add this breed into their family should be aware of their athletic and energetic needs. Their expertise in learning new commands quickly are what make the Border Collie rank high in our list of breeds in terms of intelligence.

4. Labrador

The Labrador, often called the “Lab”, are beautiful, smart, and fun dogs. They often have an innate ability to understand their human's emotions and needs. It’s a common misconception that these famous dogs are easy-going and lazy, however, the Labrador is mentally and physically strong. As one of the most enthusiastic breeds, they are creative companions with friendly qualities. Labs are notorious for being emotional support dogs, service animals, and all-around superior fluffy friends. It’s easy to see why Labrador’s are on the list of smartest dog breeds.

5. Golden Retriever

Golden retriever panting on a sunny day

Commonly mistaken for the Labrador, the Golden Retriever is considered a staple of “man’s best friend”. These loyal pups are incredibly friendly, enthusiastic and eager-to-please.This makes them one of the most popular breeds for families, especially with children.These dogs have a bouncy gait and beautiful golden coats - as is depicted in their name. The Golden Retriever breed comes from a natural fetching background. They are also known for their outstanding ability to focus, which aids in their training. For this reason, the Golden Retriever is one of the most intelligent dog breeds.

6. Australian Cattle Dog

Unforgettably speckled coats aren’t the only feature Australian Cattle Dogs possess. This breed was developed from a herding upbringing. They have amazing talents in hunting, chasing and of course, wrangling. Australian Cattle Dog, Blue Heeler, Australian Heeler, and Queensland Heeler, are all synonymous names belonging to this group. Alertness and agility are the perfect descriptions for these doggos. The Australian Cattle Dog is especially devoted to their handlers, more so than other breeds. Those seeking to build a lasting relationship with this particular breed need to know to keep them increasingly active for their energy levels so as not to cause mischief due to boredom.

7. Australian Shepherd

Also known as the Aussie, Australian Shepherds are amazingly agile. One of the most astute breeds, Australian Shepherds are also amongst the working dog class. Their long coats coming in merle in shades of blue or red, and striking eyes are significant identifiers. This breed, as the name suggests, are natural herders. Sedentary folks are not recommended to train Australian Shepherds due to their high energy, and demanding physical lifestyle. However, the Aussie is perfect for those looking for a herding breed or agility course training for dog shows.

8. Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland sheepdog running in a park looking happy

Shetland Sheepdogs, are also herding dogs along with the Australian Shepherd and the Australian Cattle Dog. Keeping with the natural way of these breeds, these dogs are very active and world-class competitors in obedience. Their markings, dense double coats, and their build are often compared to the miniature Collie breed. These fluffy pups are very affectionate family dogs with the ability to tune in to their handlers moods. Barking and usually reserved toward strangers, Aussies make for wonderful watchdogs. The Shetland Sheepdog is insanely bright, beautiful, and loveable dogs who would make a great addition to your family.

9. Bloodhound

You may have heard the phrase “nose like a bloodhound” before. The Bloodhound is the best breed known to find lost things. These loveable dogs with wrinkled faces and powerful legs that allow them to follow a scent trail for miles. The Bloodhound is a pack dog and is great with kids and other dogs. Obedience training can sometimes be a bit of a challenge since these pups are so headstrong. Determination is definitely one of their best qualities and can be highly intelligent as well.

10. Weimaraner

With their silvery-gray coat, Weimaraners are breathtaking. Their trainability, excitable attitude, and warm hearts are what makes this breed great for families and those wishing to be handlers. They were originally bred to be hunting dogs and excel at active lifestyles. A handler willing to stimulate their mind and activity level can do practically anything with a Weimaraner.

11. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinschers sitting in grass in front of a bush

The Doberman Pinscher was built for speed and make for a loyal companion as well as a working class dog. Seen often as police dogs or world class obstacle course winners. If you’re looking for a watchdog, these dogs are among the finest protectors.They have a flat shiny coat and give the appearance of royalty in the canine universe. Doberman’s are quick to learn and quick to obey a command. Their stamina, speed, and trainability add to why this is one of the most intelligent dogs.

12. Papillion

This is the tiniest dog on our list. The Papillion gets its name from the French word “butterfly”. They are named this due to their wing-shaped ears. Papillion’s are versatile and can thrive in almost any climate and are great in the city or the country. Don’t let this dog’s size fool you, Papillion’s have tons of energy, remain alert and yet is typically not aggressive. They are known to compete and win their sports competitions with style.

Papillion’s are incredibly smart, energetic, and fit in nearly any home and enjoy all types of weather.

Don’t See Your Dog On The List?

Any dog can be taught depending upon the handlers willingness to put in the time and immense effort. However, it may take some breeds longer to catch on.

Knowing what your pup is bred for and how to accommodate that, is essential in an efficient training style. Staying positive and consistent training will make any breed a good dog.

For More SitStay Works Check Out!

Top 12 smartest dog breeds By: Chelsea Clark

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