The ten smartest dog breeds
While there’s no such thing as a doggy IQ, per se, experts do agree that certain breeds are
better at learning new commands and adapting to their environment than others. In the
market for a furry Einstein? Here are the ten that are top of class (in descending order),
based in large part on Stanley Coren’s book, The Intelligence of Dogs: A Guide to the
Thoughts, Emotions, and Inner Lives of Our Canine Companions.
1: Border collie
Experts are almost all in agreement on this one – the Scottish border collie is the smartest
breed in the world, bred specifically for its brains and its ability to obey orders. You see,
when you’ve livestock to herd on the icy highlands, you need a dog that’s able to follow your
command. Up steps this black and white wonder.
It’s no surprise poodles are so popular with humans. Not only are they smart, they’re also
hypoallergenic, which means they’re friendlier to people with allergies than other breeds.
Originating in Germany, these dogs were also used to herd sheep, like the border collie.
3: German shepherd
It’s no surprise the german shepherd is a mainstay of the police. These dogs are capable,
hardworking animals with immense smarts. As an added bonus, they’re fantastic with
children, and make for wonderful family dogs.
4: Golden retriever
Is there any dog that symbolises the home more than the golden retriever? They’re easy to
train and invaluable support for the hard-of-sight, but also wonderfully adept at being a
source of emotional support in the house. With a golden retriever, you’ve got the whole
5: Doberman pinscher
Did you know that pinschers looked after sleeping soldiers during WWII? They were smart
enough to identify enemy threats, and to lead soldiers through perilous stretches of terrain,
barking any time a threat was sniffed out. At home, in a post war society, they’re great
companions and highly intelligent to boot.
6: Shetland sheepdog
Shelties, as they are known, are particularly good guard dogs. Thanks to their high
intelligence and their wariness of strangers, they’re always on the lookout for a threat. Bring
one in to your home and you’ve got a highly resourceful, highly watchful sentry point on four
7: Labrador retriever
No breed is more popular than the Lab in America. Weighing in at an average of 65 pounds,
these kind, gentle dogs are highly intelligent and sensitive to our emotions. Labs are
excellent swimmers too, a debt owed to their genesis off the coast of Newfoundland. They
are a common sight in homes across America today.
The word ‘papillon’ means ‘butterfly’ in French. You only need to take one look at a papillon
to see why. Their distinctive ears are shaped like butterfly wings. These dogs are very good
at learning to do tricks, and are a mainstay of dog shows. Their high intelligence means they
can be easily trained and taught to do new things.
Rotties are wonderful in the home, so long as they’re properly trained and socialised. A well-
meaning rottweiler is a force to be reckoned with, and a real boon. No wonder why: back in
the day they used to pull carts in Roman times, and have been used as guide dogs for
10: Australian cattle dog
Descended, in part, from the Australian dingo, cattle dogs need something to do. High-
energy workers, they thrive off sporting activities, and excel in any task they’re given to do. If
you’re a high-energy household and you want a dog that’s got something between the ears,
you could do far worse than this brave, energetic medium-sized hound.