Dogs are hailed as some of the smartest animals on Earth, which is why they are among the most popular pets. Aside from simply being absolutely adorable, they can also be taught how to do impressive tricks such as fetching a ball, rolling over, and even playing dead – and these are just some of the more well-known examples. Some pets can even perform simple household chores like getting the morning paper, opening and closing doors, and even picking up trash. The question remains; however, what are the smartest dog breeds out there?
As is most often the case, the dogs considered to be the smartest are the ones that are easier to train. However, you must be willing to put in the time. If you don’t then all of its potential will just be wasted. If you do spend the quality time needed in training them, some dog breeds could even reach the intelligence levels of a four-year-old child.
The “smarter” dogs are also usually the high-energy breeds, which could give you a vague idea of what the general consensus thinks the smartest dogs are. Some dogs are smart because it is in their nature, while other dogs learn quicker because they want to please their masters. There are also those who argue that the smartest dogs are the ones who can manipulate their owners, but the people who share this opinion are in the minority.
Considered by many breeders and owners to be the smartest of all dogs is the Border Collie. This is a good example of working-type dog who has a lot of energy. Many describe this breed as always willing to learn, so if you can’t find a way to spend time with it, then it will find its own way to get busy. Border collies are also extremely affectionate, which helps boost their ability to learn as well as their popularity among lovers. You would be hard-pressed to look for a border collie not pining to spend time with his or her owner.
Historically, border collies worked in the fields to help herd sheep and other animals. This is why you may notice that even domesticated versions of this breed still possess their “herding eye,” which is a gaze they use to stare down and herd other animals. Herding isn’t the only thing the border collie excels at though, as they are also very good at doing casual chores and even playing dog sports.
The second most popular dog breed across the globe is the German Shepherd. They are hailed for their courage and confidence, which is why they have found work historically as a herding dog, and in more modern times as a member of the military or the police force. A lot of people also use German Shepherds to guard their homes. They may not be the most affectionate dog breed, but they are highly energetic and loyal to their families. This dog breed is also a big hit with the kids, if you have any.
German Shepherds are also popular because of their cunning and smarts ¬– they are among the quickest learners in the dog world. They enjoy being given jobs that they perceive as being important, such as protecting children. Tasks like this give this type of dog a sense of purpose and responsibility, so they are always looking forward to their next task. This is the reason why you should always keep a German Shepherd dog busy with mental stimulation and physical exercises, because if you don’t they might start to get anxious.
Take a look at our review of Dog Food for German Shepherds for more options.
Staying on the same topic of shepherd dogs, the Australian Shepherd is also considered as one of the most intelligent members of the animal kingdom. This breed is a big fan of dog sports, as it is always seeking movement and stimulation. They can also be found in the rodeo, as cowboys are a big fan of this breed. Much like their German counterpart, allowing the Australian Shepherd to get bored is a big no-no, as anxiety and stress may begin to appear.
Australian Shepherds have an innate ability to herd, whether it’s other dogs or even kids. They can even do so with much larger animals. With an average life expectancy of around 12 to 15 years, you can be sure that this dog breed can learn a lot in that time period. This dog may not be the best fit for a person who lounges at home all day, as it has so much energy. However, if you are looking for a dog who can keep up with an active lifestyle, then the Australian Shepherd is one of your best bets.
You may not have expected it, but the poodle is actually one of the smartest dog breeds in existence. They may seem too fancy or high maintenance, but this dog breed is among the most eager to learn new things. This applies to all poodle sizes, whether you get one in a toy, miniature, or in a standard size. Besides being an intelligent breed, there are also those who decide to bring a poodle into their home because they are hypoallergenic. Poodles are so popular that they have been named as the French national dog breed.
Smaller poodles are actually considered as being good show dogs. Aside from being an attractive breed to a lot of pet owners, they can also be taught a lot of neat tricks in a rather short amount of time. For instance, they can be taught how to balance on a moving ball. Aside from this, they can also be taught how to jump through hoops or to keep a treat on their nose until you tell them to get it. With a poodle, the variety of tricks you can teach them appears to be almost endless.
Next on this list of the smartest dog breeds is the Golden Retriever. In terms of job prospects, many dog owners argue that this breed can do the most. They originally served as hunting dogs, guiding people to game that they can use for food or other resources. Golden Retrievers are good at this job because of their amazing sense of smell. They have also been used for search-and-rescue operations for the same reasons. In more recent times, Golden Retrievers have been used as seeing-eye dogs for people with visual impairments.
Golden Retrievers are also some of the friendliest dogs you can find. It may look a bit goofy – which, no lie, adds a lot to its charm – but it can learn just about anything under the sun. Much like the other dog breeds on this list, the Golden Retriever is also very good at playing a lot of dog sports. It is a favorite when competing in events such as dog parkour, competition obedience, and even showmanship contests. Its cousin the Labrador Retriever, one of the most popular breeds across the entirety of North America, also deserves to be mentioned on this list of the smartest dogs around.
You may also like our article on Dog Food for Golden Retrievers.
The Rottweiler is another smart dog breed. In fact, some argue that it can adjust its personality based on how much it trusts who or what it’s interacting with. If it is more familiar with the person, a Rottweiler may appear more open and playful. However, if they do not know the other person as much yet, then they might appear much more controlled and reserved. When you do get this breed’s trust, it is one of the most affectionate. They are also among the most protective, so it will always be better to get on their good side.
Rottweiler dogs are some of the easiest animals to train. They are also among the quickest learners. They may appear stubborn to begin with, but this is because, as mentioned before, you have to gain their trust first. Once you begin to get comfortable with one another, the whole process gets a whole lot easier. A Rottweiler can be taught to become an amazing herder, service dog, police dog, or even a therapy dog. They can also be trained to excel in obedience competitions and other sports that dogs compete in.
The Papillon may be one of the smallest dogs on this list, but don’t let their size or appearance fool you. Also known as the Continental Toy Spaniel, this dog was given its name because of its butterfly-like ears – “papillon” means butterfly in French. It only grows to be around four kilograms by the time it reaches adulthood. However, being small doesn’t mean that this dog has downgraded intelligence. Papillons are a fast, agile, and athletic breed. They can be taught all kinds of tricks and they excel at obstacle courses and showmanship.
Like, the poodle, a Papillon may appear high-maintenance, but that just isn’t the case. They are actually great companions and are very active. Even people from royalty are big fans of this dog breed, as evidenced by Papillons being featured prominently in royal portraits dating as far back as the 16th century. Papillons are also a good dog to have at home because they are not shy or aggressive. They can adjust to newer environments rather quickly, even if there are already resident dogs living there. Some people even consider these dogs to be the most intelligent among the toy breeds.
The Shetland Sheepdog is also included on this list of the smartest dog breeds. Some Shetland Sheepdogs are graceful, while others have their personality more on the active side. They may look aloof at first, but they are actually very trainable and intellectually capable. Shelties, as they are also known, have a knack for reading their environment as well as the people around them. If they like the people they are with then they are willing and eager to learn a lot of things.
Because they are sheepdogs, being energetic and teachable is in their nature. Shelties are also highly affectionate, as it only takes a short time for them to form tight bonds with their owner. This dog breed is a close relative of the collie, which may also help explain both breeds’ increased level of intelligence.
Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell Terrier’s intelligence goes under the radar of many owners because of their energy and playfulness shines through more often. To some, it also comes off as one of the more stubborn breeds, but this could just be a reflection of its intelligence. Jack Russell Terriers are a cunning type of dog that know exactly how to get what they want. It’s very hard to pull a fast one on this breed.
Because of these rather unique characteristics, the Jack Russell excels at agility events as well as in barn hunts. You may find it hard to keep up with this breed’s activeness at first, but once you become a pack leader in their eyes, it’s well worth it to see their progress.
Check out our guide on Dog Food For Jack Russell for more info.
Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog also finds its way into this esteemed list. These dogs come as a result of breeding blue merle shepherds with the dingos native to Australia. Because of this, they are an extremely hard-working breed, which possess a lot of energy. This allows them to excel in agility events, rally obedience, and flyball. Australian Cattle Dogs have also been described as being focused and driven.
It is important to give an Australian Cattle Dog something productive to do, as they may wander away or worse, have some destructive tendencies if they get bored. However, if you treat this dog breed right, then you’ve found yourself a new best friend. If you decide to get one, you’ll find that your Australian Cattle Dog will almost always be at your side.
If you’re looking to adopt a new pooch, this list of the smartest dog breeds can give you an idea of which one is the best to bring back home. Whether you are going give your older pets a new friend, or if you’re planning to be a first-time owner, getting a smart, easy to train dog is always a good idea.