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What Are the Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds?

What Are the Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds?

What Are the Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds?

“Dogs are intelligent creatures” is quite an understatement. Some breeds are so smart that they could outwit you. We’ve all been here before when your furry buddy suddenly does something that amazes you, and you can’t help but think: “What in the world did just happen?”

Rest assured, you’re not alone. Even the most experienced dog companions and trainers have moments like these. Now let’s find out which breeds are considered the sharpest when it comes to canine intelligence.

Note: The basis is how well they perform in obedience trials and training, not how obedient they are in real life.

1 – Border Collie

This breed takes the cake when it comes to retrieval, herding, and other trials requiring speed, agility, and stamina. But what really makes the Border Collie stand out is its high level of intelligence. That’s why it’s no surprise to see them as fixtures in canine sports and competitions. They are also known for their great problem-solving skills.

2 – Poodle

Poodles come in three sizes (standard, miniature, and toy), but they all have one thing in common: high intelligence. This breed is often used in circus acts because of their natural athleticism and ability to follow complex commands. And did you know that poodles are excellent swimmers?

3 – Golden Retriever

For the Golden Retriever, versatility is the name of the game. It’s one of the few breeds that handles literally everything and gets a high score for each, including obedience, problem-solving, and retrieving.
But that’s not all.

Golden Retrievers likewise excel in tracking, hunting, and assistance work. Their propensity to be easily trained gives them the recognition as one of the smartest dogs around.

4 – German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a smart dog breed often used in law enforcement and the military because of their natural ability to follow commands, protect, and serve. But German Shepherds are more than just working dogs. They’re also great companion animals and excel in obedience and agility trials.

Fun Fact: German Shepherds are smart enough to play brain-challenging games that very few dogs can understand, like following a paw-shaped cursor on a computer screen.

5 – Doberman Pinscher

You’re probably surprised why the Doberman Pinscher is on this list but make no mistake – this breed is one of the smartest around.

Dobermans are known for their loyalty, fearlessness, and obedience. But what really sets them apart is they’re natural problem-solvers, making them great working dogs. They were originally bred for personal protection and guard work, but they have since proven their versatility by excelling in various disciplines.

Dobermans, in general, are also known for their exceptional intelligence and have been used in everything from law enforcement to the military.

6 – Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog, or “Sheltie,” is a small herding breed originating from the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland (hence the name). Known for being clever and quick-witted, these dogs are natural herders and excel in agility, obedience, and other dog sports.

Fun Fact: Dr. Stanley Coren, a renowned canine intelligence expert, studied working dogs and concluded that the Shetland Sheepdog is the sixth smartest breed out of 138 breeds he tested.

7 – Papillon

The Papillon is a small, friendly breed best known for its butterfly-shaped ears. These dogs are quite the spectacle when performing for their human companions. They’re agile, obedient, and quite adept at problem-solving challenges. You’ll even see videos of this breed trained to turn the lights on and off, open doors, and even flush the toilet.

8 – Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever owns the title of being one of the most popular breeds in the world, and for a good reason. They’re great companion animals that are also intelligent, hardworking, and versatile.

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Labradors belong to the “smart dog” category because of their outstanding retrieving abilities; they’re often used as hunting dogs. Because they’re avid swimmers, it makes sense that they’re trained along with their human companions as lifeguards.

9 – Rottweiler

One look at a Rottweiler and being smart may be the last thing that comes to mind. But don’t let their intimidating appearance deceive you – they’re one of the smartest dog breeds.

Rotties were originally bred as working dogs, and they excel in various roles, i.e., herding, guarding, and obedience trials. Like most breeds in this list, they’re adept at solving problems, which is likely why they’re often used as police and military dogs.

Fun Fact: Rottweilers are one of the oldest breeds in the world. Roman legions used them as guard dogs, and the breed eventually made its way to Germany, where they were used as cattle drovers.

10 – Australian Cattle Dog

As the name suggests, this canine was originally bred as a herding dog. But its innate intelligence and quick thinking have made it one of the smartest and most versatile breeds you’ll find.

But it doesn’t come as a surprise since it’s believed the breed came from dingoes. You probably don’t know it, but dingoes are clever wild canines that can survive as solitary hunters.

The one thing that all these breeds hate the most is boredom. Since they’re smart, they need activities and tasks to keep their minds challenged. That’s why their companions and fur parents must provide them with plenty of mental stimulation through games, puzzles, and other brain-teasing activities.

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