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What are the Smartest Dog Breeds?

Posted: 03/22/2023 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Pet care

So you’re thinking about adopting a dog and are wondering what the smartest dog breeds are. After all, you want a breed that will be easy to train.

The most intelligent dog breeds are those that score high on a number of “smart” factors including word comprehension, problem-solving abilities, responsiveness to training, memory, communication skills, and an ability to predict human behavior. Man, we can’t even do that last one!

Before getting to the list of the smartest dog breeds, it’s important to mention a couple of things:

#1: With Smarts Comes High Energy

An intelligent dog is a great companion. We’ve all no doubt had those moments when we swore the dog in our life was legitimately smarter than a majority of human beings we know. 

But understand that the smartest dog breeds also tend to be the ones that are high-energy and require lots of mental and physical stimulation to keep them calm and happy. An intelligent dog that becomes a bored dog is ultimately an anxious and destructive dog. So if you don’t have the time to take your pup on at least one walk a day and perhaps even get them involved in agility exercises, and you don’t want to come home to your sofa destroyed, then you may not actually want a really smart dog.

#2: Be Open Minded

Almost any dog breed, as well as mixed dog breeds, is trainable as long as you give them plenty of pawsitive reinforcement. When you are firm but kind and make learning fun for your pup, they are far more apt to do what you want. So don’t completely overlook all of those adorable and amazing mixed breed pups in the shelter that need homes. They can make a wonderful companion as well.

The 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

Without further ado, here are the 10 dog breeds known for their amazing intelligence:

Border Collie

smartest dog breeds

Heading up the pack is the border collie, considered by many to be the smartest of all dog breeds. Their smarts most likely stems from the fact they were bred as herding dogs. And if you’ve seen herding dogs in action, you know they are constantly thinking and problem solving to get a desired outcome. Border collies can do just about any task they are given and are always up for learning more. This breed is highly energetic and athletic, so they need to be constantly “working” and on the move!

Australian Shepherd

smartest dog breeds

Another herding dog, the Australian shepherd is a friendly, active and curious dog. They are quick learners and always ready to take on more responsibilities. This is another breed that needs to be kept busy and mentally stimulated so they do not become bored and destructive.


It doesn’t matter what size the poodle is (standard, miniature or toy), they are still one of the smartest dog breeds around. While we tend to think of poodles as fluffy, pampered pets, they were actually bred as hunting dogs. Trusty companions through and through, these diligent workers can learn the most complex of tricks. 

Australian Cattle Dog

Another dog breed from ‘Down Under’ the Australian cattle dog is one of the most focused and driven dogs around! They are also known for forming extremely close bonds with their humans. Another herding breed, the Australian cattle dog needs a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, or you can kiss your antique leather sofa goodbye. 

German Shepherd

smartest dog breeds

This dog breed is as loyal as it is intelligent. And when it comes to protecting humans, they’re all in. German shepherds definitely need a job to do or they will become easily bored. Many families find their pups naturally begin to supervise and protect the children. This gives this breed a real sense of purpose. If you’re looking for a dog that will pick up on training quickly and love doing a good job for you, consider bringing a German shepherd into your life and home.

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Shetland Sheepdog

Another beautiful dog that is known for forming very close bonds with their people, the Shetland Sheepdog is eager to learn and ready to engage in just about any task given. Shetlands are great at reading people and eager to please. This particular breed responds very well to positive reinforcement.


Up until now we’ve been looking at bigger working dogs. But don’t let the Papillon’s small stature fool you. Underneath this “delicate” lapdog is a Sherlock Holmes waiting to investigate. Alert and friendly, this breed loves to snuggle but also wants something interesting to do. Now this little breed, like other little breeds, can be a bit stubborn. You’ll definitely want to make training fun and rewarding for them.


The Rottweiler is better at reading people’s body language and facial cues than most people are! Though they come across as very aggressive, which is great for scaring off strangers, this breed is very affectionate and playful. Once you have earned a Rotty’s trust, they are quite easily trained and eager to perform many actions.

Jack Russell Terrier

Sharp as a tack, quick as a whip, they both apply to this dog breed. Jack Russels are fearless and energetic and also have a bit of a stubborn streak. While training might be a challenge at first, they are motivated by rewards. This breed desires to be kept busy and mentally stimulated. They excel at sports and agility so look into some agility classes in your local town.

Golden Retriever

One of the most popular breeds around, the Golden Retriever is a very interesting dog. At first they seem like goofy, happy dogs. And they are. But they are incredibly intelligent and want to please you. This combo makes them excellent with training. Goldens make great service animals and excel at sports and agility. They love being part of a family and are incredibly loyal to boot!

Different Breeds are Prone to Different Health Issues

While each of these breeds share a common characteristic, intelligence, they all have their own genetic profile and risks for developing certain health issues as they age. For instance, German shepherds are prone to developing hip dysplasia while border collies are known for developing pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening illness.

Should you fall in love with one of these breeds, you’ll want to learn exactly what health risks they may have so you can do everything in your power to prevent them. You’ll also want to enroll your pup into a health insurance plan so you can get them the care they need should a sudden accident or illness occur.

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  1. “Smartest Breeds of Dogs” Retrieved from:
  2. “How Smart is Your Dog?” Retrieved from:



The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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