Top 10 Smartest Dogs

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Dogs are known as man’s best friend, though we can’t always say that’s true. If you have ever owned a dog, you probably encountered those days where you have a slight bit of regret for getting the dog. From chewed up shoes to messy carpet to washing a smelly dog that only seems to smell worse after, dogs can be a pain.

Some say that the intelligence of a dog all depends on how well its owner trained it. Others believe it’s all about the genes…well, breed. Thanks to Waggedy Dog Supplements for this list. While it may be a combination of both, here’s a look at the top 10 smartest dog breeds, in case you’re in need of a Dogs for Dummies Handbook:

#10 Australian Cattle Dog

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No you don’t have to live in Australia to encounter this dog. These dogs generally grow to be 30-50lbs. Australian Cattle Dog’s are known for their intelligence, especially when it comes to being able to train them to herd in cattle (this is where the name comes from if you didn’t catch it.) They have also been trained to be “biting” dogs. Don’t be scared, unless you’re training this dog to bite you. Australian Cattle Dogs are trained to bite cattle (not too hard) to keep them moving. These dogs have been herding cattle since the 19th century and today they still do just that. Australian Cattle Dogs are very active and love having a task at hand.

#9 Rottweiler

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Better known as the “Rottie,” Rottweilers can be mis-trained to be vicious, mean dogs that can take down a human. Speaking of humans, Rottweilers can weigh as much as a petite sized female; about 110lbs in fact. This breed of dog originates out of Germany but was used in the Roman Empire. Rottweilers are sometimes used as police dogs because of the strong jaw and teeth that they have. Rotties can take you down! In the olden days, they were used to carry wood and other large heavy goods to markets and houses. If you’re looking to train a dog to protect you and all of your (precious) belongings, the Rottie is definitely the way to go.

#8 Papillon

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This breed of dog is probably one of the cutest and smartest you’ll find. Papillons are able to show that cute things can be smart too. This breed also proves that small things (brains) do come in small packages. Papillons can weigh up to 11lbs and can weigh as little as 3lbs. These dogs are very charming and have always been a symbol of elegance. During the Renaissance, these dogs were adored by royal courts and the aristocrats of the time. They always proved to be good watch dogs because of their keen sense of hearing. Make the slightest sound and the Papillon’s ears will be up faster than you can say the name. King Henry II is said to have spend crowns upon crowns on his own Papillons.

#7 Labrador Retriever

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This is one of the most intelligent as well as one of the most popular breeds of dog in the world. The Labrador Retriever is an amazing breed of dog that offer many different services. The breed originates from Newfoundland and was trained to hunt waterfowl. As time has passed, Labs have been introduced to more and more jobs. Many of these dogs are used in the police force as bomb sniffing or drug sniffing dogs. Any dog that can be trained to do this is most definitely smart. These dogs are also used as rescue dogs. Many are trained to help the disabled, especially the blind. Labs can be trained to lead a human around while ignoring any type of distraction. The Labrador Retriever is a loving, obedient, and patient dog that can be trained to do almost anything.

#6 Shetland Sheepdog

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Though not one of the most popular dogs around, the Shetland Sheepdog is a very smart dog. Some owners of this breed of dog claim that they are just as smart as a human is. Shelties originated out of Scotland. Sporting a furry two-layered coat and definitely not the toughest looking dog around, Shelties are used to herd sheep. Since the breed can be both big and small in size, some of these dogs are used to keep pests and smaller animals out of gardens. Shetland Sheepdog’s are generally very hyper, but they have a great sense of hearing. If anyone ever shows up at your door or a car pulls into the driveway, you can expect to hear a bark from this dog.



#5 Doberman Pinscher

This breed of dog comes in right at the middle of the list. The Doberman Pinscher is another German breed to make the list. In the past, these dogs were trained to be police dogs, watch dogs, and guard dogs. In the 1800s, men were looking for a dog that was loving and loyal as well as tough and ferocious when necessary. This is exactly where the Doberman Pinscher fits in. Even though they can be trained to be ferocious, many of these dogs are very gentle and docile. Some have even been used in hospitals to help patients that are undergoing therapy. Slightly vicious by nature, you can expect that this breed will protect you.

#4 Golden Retriever

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Often confused with the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retrievers are also very popular dogs that seem to be perfect for a family. In the past up to today, these dogs are man’s companion, especially for those who hunt. This breed can be easily trained to find and bring back waterfowl or game that has been shot. The dog’s soft mouth allows it to bring back unharmed game to its owner. Aside from being a hunting dog, Golden Retrievers can be used as rescue dogs, drug sniffing dogs, and guide dogs. This breed is very patient, which makes it that much easier to train. If you ever find a dog sports competition online or on the television, you are sure to see a Golden Retriever competing. Photo by Ingrid0804

#3 German Shepherd

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Rin Tin Tin! This is the one breed of dog that you can say actually looks tough and mean. Looks are most definitely deceiving because the German Shepherd is one of the most lovable breed of dog you will ever come across. Loving or not, these dogs can be trained to do things that humans can’t. Today, these dogs are usually trained to be police dogs, rescue dogs, and some are even able to work with the military. These dogs are so bright that the Army and Marines have allowed them to be used in overseas activity. German Shepherds are very obedient dogs as well as protective. In the past, German Shepherds were used as herd dogs but today they are used in more “higher up positions,” so to speak. The German Shepherd is one of the smartest dogs around.

#2. Poodle

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Surprised? You probably aren’t the only one. No your eyes aren’t going bad. The Poodle is number two on the list. Don’t let the fluffy, curly, white coat fool you. This breed of dog is absolutely brilliant. Though you have probably never seen it, Poodles are used as hunting dogs as well as watch and rescue dogs. The Poodle (sounds like puddle doesn’t it?) is also used as a water dog. Poodles come in all sizes, but even the Toy Poodle can be used to hunt birds. Poodles love to be around people and are very protective. Though this breed only weighs up to 8 lbs., a mighty heart can come out of such a pretty looking dog.

#1 Border Collie

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Topping off the list is the Border Collie. This dog lives to work, literally. Though it may seem only us humans have a lifetime full of hard work, this breed of dog needs something to do to be happy. The Border Collie is used as a herding dog and has since grown to be used as a sporting dog as well. The breed is known for its agility, speed, and obedience. It is also known for it’s ability to learn new tricks quickly. These dogs love being able to work next to your side. Collies are especially great at dog sport competitions. You will generally see them competing in Flyball and disc games. Photo by meg price


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193 Comments

  1. Owned a lot of dogs. The smartest has been our rat terrier. Not only learn a ‘trick’ in 10 min. but all the other dogs – you let them out a door and they’d bark at the door to be let back in, the rat terrier would circle the house and bark at the window he knew you were sitting under watching T.V.

  2. Wrong!!! The Rat Terrier is the smartest of them all! You need to do more research when compiling these lists. I am so tired of Ratties not getting the respect and recognition they deserve. Ratties are tue most intellugent and the best companion. Everyone who has ever owned one says this. And i have had many different breeds to compare them to. They are also the easiest dogs to train.

  3. Hi. Maybe it’s not the same in the US as in France, but, as much as I’ve read, I don’t agree with this list. Okay, many of these dogs are about the smartest breeds. But WHERE is the belgian shepherd ?? Smarter, easier to train, with much more “using of its brain” (sorry, I don’t know how to say that either way), it should be in the place of the german shepherd… Or of the Poodle… I agree with the rest of the list, except for the poodle and the Papillon… I mean, come on, these dogs aren’t smart ! They’re just good to sit and lick your face, or stay still while you swagger… To me, smart dogs are useful, working dogs… So I’m okay with the rest of the list, although I don’t agree with one thing, which is that I think, like other people, that the Husky should be there too… And, once again, the belgian shepherd “Malinois” (I’m sorry, that’s the name in french, I don’t know the english name…), which should be first or 2nd in the list… Than you for reading me.

    • Huskies are one of the lowest on intelligence and loyalty, they are not good for anything, sorry but that’s how it is, it should be banned to breed them so they die out humanely.

  4. Sorry, my computer “bugged” (hum, that’s what we say in french…) And “Rotties are the best”, by the way, I sooooo agree with you… Rotties are great, clever dogs. They don’t bite as much a Labs or other dogs. In France, the dogs which bite the most are Labs, german shepherds, chihuahuas, and many other small dog breeds you usually trust “because they have a small mouth…”

  5. YOU ARE ALL STUPID on

    you are all horribly stupid , the fact that you are referring to how clever your personal dogs are to the other dogs on the list makes you stupid .This list is about how clever the dogs are overall in training ,there brain development ,how much they use there brain and what they can do , not as 1 dog but if all of a certain dog breed can do so or get high marks then yes it is smarter than a dog that u can tell to chase its tail or close a door . ppl please thing logical you sound like children !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. The text with the article about poodles says at the bottom that they weigh “up to 8 lbs”. I’m guessing that’s a typo, because we have two of the large Standard size poodles, and they weigh about 60 lbs each. And yes, they are both amazingly brilliant. I’ve seen them figure out how to do things that some kids wouldn’t be able to figure out. One of them ran over to a rope swing hanging from a tree in the back yard and started to pull on it really hard last week. I realized she was trying to knock a squirrel out of the tree. The other dog did something hilarious and smart last year. Dog #1 had both dog’s bones and was hoarding both of them. Dog #2 was sick of watching other dog chew on both bones, so he went to the back door and rang the bells on the door knob that signal me to let him out to go potty. Both dogs ran to the door, as usual. Dog #1 stood back and let Dog #2 run outside, and then Dog #1 ran back into the den and picked up both bones, and he was obviously so excited about the trick he’d just played on the other dog. We keep them clipped short and just let some hair grow on their ears, so they basically look sporty, not foufou. My husband didn’t want poodles. I talked him into it, and he grumbled about it for weeks until I brought the first puppy home. That puppy never once had a potty accident in the house, was housebroken so fast, and it now knows so many commands and tricks that we could probably sell tickets. You can teach a poodle a command or a trick soo fast. My husband is crazy about both of our poodles. They’re also REALLY athletic and fast. They can run and catch frisbees and balls and will bring them back to you better than most people 🙂

  7. If Huskies hard to train, it’s because of lack of brain capabilities, don’t you think?..I have a German Rottie and that my friend is a smart dog. I got her at 8 weeks and she learned how to sit and stay in one day. On day 2 she knew exactly where I kept her food bowls. On day 3 she knew to go potty, knew her name on day 4 and she knew what I meant when I said chow time. I believe that a dogs pedigree is directly related to their abilities.

  8. @ Lisa..if shepherds are the only dogs that can think, how can my 9 week old Rottie rationalize?

  9. We have a golden retriever – can’t ask for a nicer dog – but not very bright. It can be -30 outside, and instead of sleeping on his heated pad in the dog house, he’ll lay in a clump of bushes and get covered with snow – then stand there shivering and soaking wet ! Doesn’t make much sense to me……..

  10. The people commenting on this list need a reality check. Your dog may be smart to you but this list is talking about how intelligent breeds are on average based on statistics and studies. The AKC concurs with this list, so if your particular dog breed isn’t on this list it isn’t because the author is biased toward your breed. This is based on working intelligence, meaning how well a breed of dog responds to commands and how fast they learn new commands. These dog breeds surpass other dog breeds in terms of learning commands quicker and the complexity of the commands they learn. Of course, a dog in another breed can be as smart as an average dog in these breeds if you’re a good trainer and work with them. This list is on baseline intelligence. If you don’t work with your dog even a Border Collie, the smartest breed in the world, will have problems. The people who are saying a Pitbull should be on the list. Sorry, but Pitbulls in general only score about average in intelligence. That doesn’t mean they aren’t a sweet, good dog. It just means they aren’t on the same level as some of the breeds of superior intelligence when it comes to working ability and training.

    • Sorry, but that is incorrect of the top 10 Superdog challenges, the pit bull has won more than any breed. As an owner of a pitbull rescue and a previous dog breeder of other breeds, I have been incredibly surprised at the intelligence and sweetness of this incredibly misunderstood dog. It often only takes several repetitions to teach our dog skills and she does them all for the reward of a treat. Do not sell short the wonderful attributes of this breed. The real reason why they are not often on these lists is because the politically correct AKC refuses to acknowledge them. Their loss.