Top 5 Smartest Dogs: Which Breed Reigns Supreme?

Looking to add a furry friend to your family? You may want to consider getting a smart dog breed! Intelligence is a desirable trait in dogs, and some breeds have been bred specifically for their intelligence and trainability. But what makes a dog smart, anyway? In this blog post, we will explore the top 5 smartest dog breeds and what sets them apart from the rest. From the incredibly intelligent Border Collie to the loyal and protective Doberman Pinscher, we’ll cover everything you need to know about these breeds and why they are so highly regarded. So if you’re looking for a four-legged companion that can keep up with your active lifestyle or simply want a dog that is easy to train, read on to discover which breed reigns supreme as the smartest of them all!

What makes a dog smart?

A dog’s intelligence is measured by their ability to learn, adapt and solve problems. Smart dogs are quick learners with a strong desire to please their owners. Trainability, memory and social intelligence also play a role in determining canine intelligence. However, it’s important to remember that each dog has its unique strengths and weaknesses.

Ranking the top 10 smartest dog breeds

Highly trainable and intuitive pooches are often considered the top-ranking smartest dog breed. These intelligent canines not only possess excellent obedience but also have high levels of trainability and memory. The ability of problem-solving and cognitive abilities set them apart from other dog breeds. Popular choices among smartest dogs include Border Collies for their agility in herding sheep; Poodles for their beauty with brains; German Shepherds as a versatile breed with strong guarding instincts; Rottweilers for being a combination of obedience and loyalty; Doberman Pinschers as protectors with high intelligence; Shetland Sheepdogs for their small size yet mighty in terms of intelligence; Labrador Retrievers as friendly companions trained as therapy dogs; Papillon are known for their beauty with high intelligence and adaptability. Mental stimulation is an essential factor to bring out the full potential of these intelligent puppers.

Border collie: The smartest of them all?

Border collies are commonly regarded as highly intelligent due to their exceptional training skills and innate herding abilities. Other breeds, such as poodles, German shepherds, and golden retrievers, are also known for their intelligence. However, it’s important to note that intelligence doesn’t always correlate with trainability or suitability as a pet.

Poodle: A breed with brains and beauty

Poodles are not just popular for their beauty; this breed is known for its high intelligence, making it one of the smartest dog breeds out there. They have been widely used for various types of dog training due to their high trainability. They come in three different sizes (standard, miniature, and toy), which makes them suitable for different living situations. Poodles have a distinctive appearance with their curly fur and long snouts that make them stand out in any crowd. Mental stimulation is essential to keep them from getting bored or displaying destructive behavior. Proper training and socialization are essential to bring out their full potential, making poodle breeders proud owners of some of the smartest dogs.

German shepherd: A versatile and intelligent breed

German Shepherds are undoubtedly one of the smartest dog breeds out there. They are versatile and highly trainable, which is why they are utilized in various fields like service, police work, and search and rescue missions. Their high intelligence makes them excellent guard dogs who will protect their family at all costs. However, it’s important to remember that just because they’re one of the smartest dog breeds doesn’t necessarily mean they’re easy to train or always suitable as pets.

German Shepherds have the ability to learn obedience quickly due to their high intelligence levels. Additionally, they possess an innate herding instinct which is why they’re also categorized as herding dogs. Their cognitive abilities, including problem-solving skills and long-term memory retention, allow for mental stimulation through agility activities or obedience training repetitions.

In terms of breeds with high intelligence levels besides German Shepherds, poodles are another popular choice due to their hypoallergenic fur that sheds minimally, making them great for people with allergies or those who don’t want excessive shedding. Other intelligent dog breeds include Border Collies (known for their herding abilities), Rottweilers (strongly built), Shetland Sheepdogs (small but mighty), Australian Cattle Dogs (hard-working), and even Papillons (small dogs with big brains).

Golden retriever: More than just a pretty face

Golden retrievers stand out as one of the most intelligent dog breeds. Their friendly nature and loyalty make them great family pets. But they also excel beyond that – they can be trained as service dogs or even make excellent hunting companions. Proper training and socialization can open up opportunities for these pups to participate in agility, obedience, and therapy work. It’s no wonder why golden retrievers are one of the most beloved breeds among dog lovers worldwide!

Doberman pinscher: A loyal and intelligent protector

The Doberman Pinscher is a highly intelligent dog that is known for its loyalty and protective nature. The breed excels in obedience competitions, search and rescue operations while also making a great guard dog. Proper socialization and early training is essential for ensuring that the Doberman behaves well. It’s important to note that these dogs require ample exercise and mental stimulation to prevent destructive behavior.

Shetland sheepdog: Small but mighty in intelligence

Despite its small breed, the Shetland sheepdog has always been recognized for its remarkable intelligence. The shelties’ cognitive abilities and problem-solving skills are comparable to the larger Border collie. They demonstrate high trainability and can excel in different dog sports such as obedience and agility training. These dogs have a strong inclination towards herding that they can leverage in these activities. Proper socialization and consistent early-age training are crucial for unlocking the full potential of their intelligence.

Labrador retriever: A friendly and intelligent companion

Labrador retrievers are among the most popular dog breeds due to their friendly, loyal, and highly intelligent nature. They make excellent companions with their versatility, high energy levels, and trainability. Labs are adept at a variety of tasks like obedience competitions, agility training, and even hunting. Their cognitive abilities have been compared to human intelligence as they possess about 300 million neurons in their cerebral cortex. With proper socialization and mental stimulation, Labradors can become therapy dogs or successful service animals. These pooches also have a long-term memory similar to humans while excelling in problem-solving tasks but should not be trained with excessive repetitions to prevent boredom.

Papillon: A small breed with a big brain

Papillon dogs belong to a small breed with high intelligence that ranks among the top 10 smartest dog breeds. These furry pooches are highly trainable and excel in obedience and agility competitions. Papillons have a lifespan of around 12-16 years, making them great family pets. Regular exercise and mental stimulation are necessary for these intelligent pups to stay sharp as they can be prone to boredom without appropriate attention from their owners. It’s essential to note that despite their size, they have big personalities and make excellent companion dogs.

Rottweiler: Smart and strong

The Rottweiler is an intelligent and highly trainable breed that was originally bred as herding dogs. These pups have a strong work ethic and love to please their humans. They can excel in various activities such as obedience trials, agility, and search and rescue with proper training and socialization. If you want to own a Rottweiler, you need to provide them with proper exercise, diet, and grooming for optimum health. Mental stimulation is also vital to keeping these smart dogs’ minds sharp so they don’t become bored or engage in destructive behaviors.

Australian cattle dog: A hard-working and intelligent breed

With their high energy levels and intelligence, Australian cattle dogs are well-suited for obedience training and agility competitions. In addition to being excellent herding dogs, they also have a strong desire to protect their family from strangers. Proper socialization and training can help prevent behavioral issues in these intelligent pups. If you’re considering adding an Australian cattle dog to your family, keep in mind that they require plenty of mental stimulation alongside regular exercise. With the right care, this smartest dog breed can thrive as a loyal companion.

Pembroke Welsh corgi: A beloved breed with brains to match

Beloved by many dog enthusiasts worldwide for their adorable looks and amicable nature, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are widely recognized for displaying cognitive abilities that match those of much bigger dogs. Interestingly enough, corgis have been ranked among the top 10 smartest dog breeds by experts like Stanley Coren. As versatile working dogs with high intelligence levels, they excel in tasks such as herding and agility competitions while responding remarkably well to positive reinforcement training methods. Adequate socialization combined with mental stimulation is crucial for maintaining their good behavior.

Miniature schnauzer: A small breed with a big personality and intelligence

The miniature schnauzer, with its high intelligence and problem-solving skills, is an excellent breed that responds well to positive reinforcement training methods. They are easily trainable due to their strong desire to please their owners, making them ideal therapy dogs. These pups require mental stimulation and physical activity to prevent boredom and maintain good behavior. Miniature schnauzers excel in obedience and agility competitions thanks to their trainability and intelligence. In addition, it’s fascinating how the number of neurons in a dog’s brain varies from breed to breed similar to humans; these features make miniature schnauzers one of the smartest dog breeds with a cerebral cortex resembling that of humans’.

English springer spaniel: A sporting breed with brains and beauty

English springer spaniel is an intelligent breed that was originally bred for hunting with a strong work ethic. They not only excel in various dog sports like agility and obedience competitions but also make great family pets due to their affectionate nature. Regular grooming is crucial for maintaining their beautiful coat. With their high intelligence level and trainability, English springer spaniels are easy to teach different commands while keeping them stimulated mentally.

Belgian Tervuren: A smart and versatile herding breed

Belgian Tervurens are a smart breed of herding dogs that have a strong work ethic. These versatile dogs are highly trainable due to their high intelligence. Regular exercise and mental stimulation are crucial for these high-energy pups. The Belgian Tervuren excels in various activities like obedience, agility, and tracking with their sharp cognition. Breeders tend to socialize these furry friends from an early age for better mental development. Stanley Coren’s research suggests that their trainability is due to the number of neurons in their cerebral cortex being akin to those in the human brain!

Schipperke: A small but intelligent and energetic breed

Schipperke, a small but energetic breed with high intelligence, is an excellent watchdog owing to their protective nature and long lifespan. These dogs have distinctive personalities that make them great companions for active owners. However, to impart positive behavior, it’s essential to train them well. With adequate training, this smartest dog breed can be honed to show obedience, agility, and tracking skills. A Schipperke pup needs mental stimulation in the form of tricks, games or exercise as they have a strong desire to please their owners coupled with their high intelligence levels. To keep them engaged while training, use repetitions along with rewards like playtime or treats.

The importance of trainability in smart dogs

Trainability is an essential factor when determining canine intelligence. It is the ability of dogs to learn quickly and respond well to positive reinforcement training. Schipperkes are one of the small breeds with high intelligence levels that require regular exercise and mental stimulation. They make excellent watchdogs because of their high energy levels and protective nature. Besides this, they are known for their skills in obedience and agility training that makes them famous in competitions. Being ideal for apartment living due to their small size doesn’t stop breeders from providing regular mental stimulation activities.

AKC recognition and standards for smart dog breeds

Schipperkes belong to the smartest dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The AKC sets standards of intelligence based on breed qualities such as problem-solving skills, trainability, and adaptability. As one of the smallest Belgian breeds, Schipperkes are known for being highly intelligent and energetic. Originally bred as watchdogs, these dogs are loyal protectors of their family. They possess excellent cognitive abilities which make them ideal candidates for obedience and agility training. Schipperkes’ love for mental stimulation is well-known, making them a popular choice among therapy dogs.


In conclusion, while all dogs are intelligent in their own ways, certain breeds have been found to be smarter than others. From the Border Collie’s exceptional problem-solving skills to the Poodle’s ability to learn new tricks quickly, each of these breeds has unique qualities that make them stand out in terms of intelligence. However, it’s important to remember that intelligence doesn’t necessarily equate to trainability or obedience. So, whether you are looking for a smart dog to compete in agility courses or simply want a furry friend who can keep up with your active lifestyle, consider adopting one of these top 5 smartest dog breeds. Want to learn more about other intelligent dog breeds? Check out our comprehensive list and decide which breed is right for you.

Photo via Verdicts

Categories: Dogs

by Brian Stilts



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