How smart is your dog?
While they may not be able to solve complex mathematical problems, they can still show some extraordinary abilities to learn. But how do we know that?
Well, psychologist Stanley Coren, in his book The Intelligence of Dogs, has ranked several breeds based on their trainability, problem-solving ability, and adaptability to new environments and tasks.
So in this article today, we will be exploring the top 10 smartest dog breeds in the world, based on Coren’s research and other relevant studies.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
10 – Australian Cattle Dog
Starting the list off at number 10 is the Australian Cattle Dog. Also known as the Blue Heeler or Queensland Heeler, this highly trainable and adaptable breed is known for its natural ability to learn and retain new commands and tasks.
Their herding instincts make them a popular choice in cattle and sheep herding operations, as well as in search and rescue, agility, and obedience competitions.
But don’t just take our word for it, according to Stanley Coren’s book The Intelligence of Dogs, the Australian Cattle Dog ranked as the 10th most intelligent breed. They are agile, strong, active canines, both physically and mentally.
A mischief-maker if they don’t have enough to do, the Australian Cattle Dog is a quick-witted, organized, and observant family pet.
Not only do they excel in intelligence, but Australian Cattle Dogs also have a high energy level and require a lot of physical and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. They are also highly loyal and protective of their family which is why they make great watchdogs.
9 – Rottweiler
Coming in at number 9, we’ve got the Rottweiler. This versatile breed has a long history of working as guard dogs and police dogs. But don’t let their tough exterior fool you, they are also known for their stoicism, keen perception, courage, and unflagging loyalty.
Ranked 9th in the Stanley Coren’s book of dog intelligence, Rottweilers are a highly trainable and adaptable breed. And while their rugged outer appearance and unyielding loyalty make them suited to guard work, they also make great therapy and service dogs because of their intelligence and trainability.
Rottweilers also have a strong protective instinct and are known to be loyal and devoted to their family. They can be a little wary of strangers and other dogs but with proper socialization, they do make great family pets.
These large and loving dogs are known to be highly trainable and adaptable, making them great in a variety of tasks and activities such as search and rescue, agility, and obedience competitions.
8 – Papillon
In the 8th spot, we’ve got the Papillon. The smallest pooch on this list, the Papillon perhaps is a surprise entry to some. However, when you look past their showy ‘butterfly’ ears, you’ll find a dog with exceptional intelligence, charm, and drive.
One of the world’s oldest breeds, with their roots going back some seven centuries the Papillon was bred from early spaniels, and it’s no surprise that they’ve inherited some of their ancestor’s brain power.
The long history of the breed has allowed them to evolve and develop their intelligence, manifesting in quick learning abilities and a happy, outgoing personality.
Often described as big dogs in little bodies, they have the athletic stamina to keep up on long walks, and the bravura of a canine ten times its size. You’ll also be delighted to find that these dogs can excel in sports like agility and obedience.
The Papillon is a true companion and watchdog. Although they can be ferociously protective over what belongs to them, their keen intelligence makes it possible to take them anywhere.
7 – Labrador Retriever
At number 7, we’ve got the friendly and ever-popular Labrador Retriever. Known as “Labs” for short, this breed is the most popular choice for families and it’s not hard to see why. With their intelligence, affection, patience, and gentility, Labs make the perfect companion for households with kids.
Ranked 7th in the book, Intelligence of Dogs, Labs are known for their quick learning abilities and eagerness to please. But it’s not just their intelligence that sets them apart, Labs are also known for their versatility.
With a water-repellent coat and highly-developed sense of smell, they were first used on boats to fetch harpooned fish. But their intelligence and trainability have made them an asset in a variety of tasks such as search and rescue, assisting the disabled, and police work.
But what really sets the Lab apart from rest of the dog breeds is their ability to self-train. Instead of waiting to be taught, they watch humans to learn a desired behavior.
This makes them a highly adaptable and versatile breed.
6 – Shetland Sheepdog
Coming in at number 6, is the Shetland Sheepdog, also known as Shelties. These herding dogs hail from the United Kingdom’s Shetland Islands and are not just smaller versions of collies but they have their own unique qualities.
Quick and nimble in mind and foot, even-tempered and obedient, they make perfect companions for families with kids. With their high energy levels, playing with young ones will help expend some of their energy and keep them happy.
Another herding dog, the Shetland takes this ability into the home, showing the same commitment and protectiveness over its human “herd” as the farm raised version does.
Highly intelligent, the Shetland Sheepdog handles life with great efficiency and diligence, learning new commands with little repetition, and making sure that all of the family is safe, sound, and in place. They show great devotion to their families, and are happy to live just about anywhere.
Highly vigilant and protective of their families, Shelties will alert you to the presence of any strangers or unknown animals by barking at them. And while they can bark and chase smaller animals a little too often, their affectionate nature and love for cuddles will definitely erase any hard feelings.
5 – Doberman Pinscher
In the 5th place, we’ve got the Doberman Pinscher. Originally bred as guard dogs, this breed is known for its fearless nature, speed, and stamina.
But that’s not all, the Doberman is also highly intelligent, loyal, and energetic. They are highly trainable and their instinct to protect means that they have impeccable focus and attention.
Smart and assertive, they can easily be trained for dominance or docility. Despite their past as war and police dogs, they are actually quite gentle and make great additions to the family.
Their loyalty and acuity make Doberman’s the perfect companion for those who want a protective and loyal pet. They are highly trainable and with proper socialization, they can excel in various fields such as obedience, agility, and therapy work.
They are also known for their trainability and adaptability which makes them great companions for households with kids and seniors. So, if you’re looking for a smart, fearless, and loyal companion, the Doberman Pinscher is definitely worth considering.
4 – Golden Retriever
At number 4, we’ve got the Golden Retriever – the ultimate family companion! These lovable pups are not just a pretty face, they are also incredibly intelligent, trainable, and adaptable. With their eagerness to please and quick learning abilities, Golden Retrievers are a breed that can do it all.
Imagine having a best friend who can play fetch, go for long walks, learn new tricks, and even help out with tasks around the house. That’s what you get with a Golden Retriever. They excel in various fields such as obedience, agility, therapy, and service work. Their trainability and adaptability make them great companions for households with kids and seniors. And their gentle and patient nature makes them perfect therapy dogs.
But their intelligence and trainability don’t stop there, they also make great candidates for search and rescue, hunting, and even as guide dogs. They are always ready to learn and eager to please, which makes training a breeze. And with their friendly and outgoing nature, they make excellent companions for anyone looking for a loyal and loving pet.
3 – German Shepherd
In the 3rd place is the German Shepherd. This highly intelligent and trainable breed is the ultimate working dog known for its strength, agility, and ability to adapt to various roles and tasks. Whether it’s as a police dog, military dog, search and rescue dog, or even a guide dog, German Shepherds excel in whatever they do.
But it’s not just their physical abilities that make them stand out, German Shepherds also possess a sharp mind and quick learning abilities. They are known for their keen sense of smell and ability to learn quickly, which make them perfect for search and rescue operations and as sniffer dogs for law enforcement.
Their loyalty and protectiveness also make them great companions for families and individuals alike. Their trainability and adaptability make them great companions for households with kids and seniors. And their gentle and patient nature makes them perfect therapy dogs.
They are always eager to please, which makes training a breeze. But what really sets them apart is their ability to think on their feet, making them highly adaptable and versatile in any situation.
2 – Poodle
Coming in at number 2 on the list of the smartest dog breeds in the world is the Poodle – a breed that will leave you in awe with its intelligence and trainability. Don’t let the fancy hairdos fool you, these dogs are not just for show, they excel as guard dogs and have a natural ability for hunting and retrieving in water.
Their trainability and obedience make them popular as circus performers and therapy dogs. With a big brain and a love for creative playtime, the Poodle is more than just a fluffy show dog, they are a highly intelligent and versatile companion.
The Poodle’s intelligence and trainability are not just in theory, it’s been tested and proved by their owners and trainers. Their ability to think on their feet and navigate tricky terrains makes them stand out from the rest.
They can put their paw to many jobs and canine sports, from assistance dogs to agility pros, they excel at all sorts and make loyal companions. With a Poodle by your side, you’ll never have a dull moment. These dogs are not just a pet, they are a bundle of loyalty, protection, and love, ready to be your best friend for life.
1 – Border Collie
At the top of the list, we have the Border Collie – the smartest dog breed in the world! These highly intelligent and energetic herding dogs are known for their extraordinary intelligence and trainability.
They have an intense connection with humans, making them ideal work and home companions. But be warned, these dogs need an occupation or purpose, or you may well find your home wrecked upon your return from a long day at work.
These workaholics learn not only cues and commands quickly but entire routines, making them perfect for canine sports like agility, obedience, canicross, and disc dog.
One Border Collie named Chaser could identify and retrieve 1,022 toys by their name in tests, the most any non-human animal has achieved in a study. Chaser also demonstrated an understanding of grammar and an ability to infer the name of a new object by excluding the objects that she already knew – pretty smart if you ask us!
These playful dogs need high-energy humans who can participate in dog sports with them. So, if you’re thinking of getting one of these remarkable dogs, be prepared to provide daily physical and mental workouts. For the right human, the Border Collie is well-behaved, exceptionally good at learning, and a true-blue companion.
And with that, we’ve reached the end of our article “Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds in the World”.
So, what did you think of our list? Did your favorite breed make the cut? Are you surprised by any of the entries?
And most importantly, are you ready to give one of these smart pups a forever home? Let us know in the comments below!
Don’t miss the tail-wagging adventures in our other dog-tastic articles! Dive into the world of all things canine and let the doggy fun continue!