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The Smartest Dogs: 10 Breeds Proven to Be the Most Intelligent

Does a dog’s intelligence depend on the breed? Someone would say “No” as there are a lot of cases when plain mongrel dogs show incredible smartness. But canine psychology professor Stanley Coren has proven that the answer is “Yes”. He claims that dogs’ cognitive abilities depend by 51% on innate qualities, and by 49% on the surrounding circumstances and the way of upbringing.

So, if you want to get a clever pet who will be easy to train, pay special attention to the breed while choosing a puppy.

Here are 10 breeds that are the most intelligent, according to Stanley Coren’s research. All the dogs from this list have the best abilities to be educated. They can learn new commands faster than for 5 repetitions. Also, they obey 95% of commands they already know.

Border Collie

Border Collie

These are strong and enduring animals with thick long fur and intelligent eyes. Their stamina and wit make them perfect service dogs.

This breed has been created as a herding dog. And the management of large flocks of sheep has developed not only fearlessness in these animals but also the ability to analyze, as well as a tendency to apply the most optimal solutions quickly.

Well-trained dogs of this breed know the time when to drive out and when to drive the cattle in, can solve different problems on their own, and excellently act as guards. It’s even possible to leave a child for a while with this dog safely. The pet will not let a baby go to dangerous places.

So, this is the most intelligent dog in the world. And certain representatives of this breed confirm that. For example, a legendary, phenomenally smart pup named Rico. He memorized more than 200 human words. He not only distinguished them by ear but also understood their meaning. Also, he was capable of learning the meaning of new words and remembering them for 4 weeks and longer.

Scientists from the Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig studied its phenomenon. It turned out that in addition to intelligence and the ability to make independent decisions, Rico had an excellent memory. Scientists’ observations of this dog have shown extremely interesting results.

The scientists put Rico and his owners in one room, and the pet’s favorite toys in another one. The owner called the name of the toy with a request to bring it. The dog correctly distinguished 38 out of 40 toys by their names. According to the statement of scientists, Rico had about the same abilities as small children who rapidly learn the language in the first years of life.

If you have decided to buy a puppy of this breed make sure that you can provide a really interesting and happy life to the pet. Without daily mental and physical activity, its life cannot be full-value and happy.



This is a very intelligent dog breed that not only learns quickly but also enjoys the learning process. Poodles are capable of becoming participants in any dog sports competition: from dancing with dogs to agility. They do an excellent job with any cinematic training courses. And for fun, many poodle owners teach them small circus tricks, making sure once again, how smart this dog breed is.

Larger varieties of poodles can serve as rescuers and observers. They swim well and are able to save a drowning person. There are also hunting poodles that help their owners to hunt birds.

German Shepherd

German Shepherd

A strong and hardy animal, whose ancestor was a small Indian wolf, has not only unsurpassed guarding qualities but also the highest intelligence. It allows German Shepherds to carry out a wide variety of tasks.

The representatives of this breed can be found in almost all services where quick wits, dedication, perseverance in command execution, the ability to quickly navigate in new circumstances, endurance, and even the ability to self-sacrifice are required. These dogs serve in the police, army, at customs, and as rescuers.

Besides, they are great actors. They not only execute commands accurately but also truly get into characters.

Golden Retriever

For its high intelligence and incredibly docile nature, the Golden Retriever can be called a “professor” of the canine world. These large good-natured animals are often used as seeing-eye dogs and pets for canistherapy. Also, they perfectly cope with the role of nannies for children.

Attention, sensitivity, calm nature, the ability to learn new practical skills in the process of training easily and quickly, exceptional efficiency, a constant desire to come to the rescue, the absence of pronounced aggressiveness towards other dogs and strangers, amazing tolerance in dealing with children. All this is about the Golden Retriever!



Originally, this breed was created for hunting water, field, and upland game. But soon, the high intelligence of Labrador was also appreciated by the police, rescuers, and services that help blind and visually impaired people adapt.

Compliant, friendly, human-oriented, these dogs get along great with their owners, act as ideal nannies for children, get along well with other pets. The high intellectual abilities of Labradors make them irreplaceable human helpers, as well as ideal companions. They lend themselves well to training and show high results in different dog sports.

And how smart they are, you can see by reading the story of a Labrador named Gilmore. Once he saw his owner finding an empty plastic bottle on the lawn and throwing it into the trash can. After that, Gilmore immediately realized that those who litter are wrong. For six years, he was finding empty plastic bottles on every walk, crushed them with his teeth, and brought them to the owner. This is how the number of discarded bottles dropped by 26,000. For such behavior, smart Gilmore got into the Guinness Book of Records.



These dogs are loyal, calm, but active and harsh at the right time. Their high intelligence was highly valued by the inhabitants of the Shetland Isles. These relatively small dogs had truly big responsibilities. They helped to graze sheep, guarded farms, fought small predators who wanted to attack the owner’s bird, and accompanied the owners on long pedestrian crossings.

Despite the fact that the Shelties have gradually lost their shepherd duties, they have remained faithful helpers and keep on constantly showing their high intellectual abilities. Nowadays they usually play the role of companion dogs that enjoy living in the countryside but can also live in city apartments. The main thing is that they haven’t lost their great learning abilities and desire to serve humans faithfully.

For a dog of this breed to live fully and be happy, constant “work” is necessary. This can be any sports activity: for example, cynological classes, agility, dancing with dogs, and others. They allow Shelties to show their high intelligence, improve their obedience skills. Also, they just bring joy to these very intelligent dogs.

Australian Shepherd Dog

Australian Shepherd Dog

This breed has been created as a herding one. It was intended to control large flocks of sheep, to repulse predators if necessary, to protect the owner’s territory, etc. These dogs are always happy to be engaged in new activities. They easily master new commands.

And high intellectual abilities are combined with an agreeable and friendly character, ability to get along well with other pets, and love for children.

If the Australian Shepherd is not busy with its usual business — herding, its mind still needs to be trained, or else the dog will be bored and unhappy. So, engage it in any sinological sports, where it can show its excellent natural qualities: agility, frisbee, dancing, etc.


These powerful dogs are extraordinarily smart. But the way they will manage their high intelligence depends on education. But the representatives of this breed have a difficult character.

Bred for driving cattle, these dogs are naturally prone to controlling the behavior of the people and animals around them. They are great guards, not hesitating to be aggressive when needed.

The Rottweiler needs special training, even better — courses for service dogs. They will let the representatives of this breed unleash their potential and show all their natural qualities in their entirety. Well-trained Rottweilers successfully serve in the police, at customs, at the border, work as rescuers and guide dogs.

Continental Toy Spaniel (Papillon)

This is the smallest one among the smartest dog breeds. It was very popular to have such a miniature dog with funny ears with aristocratic families in 15th century France. Papillons not only lived in luxurious palaces, eating all kinds of delicacies but also led an active social life, accompanying their owners to formals and social occasions.

In these greenhouse conditions, the little tailed friends of kings and dukes didn’t degrade, but vice versa have managed to maintain their high intellectual abilities maximally.

Dog handlers claim that the representatives of this breed have a character similar to a humans’ one. They are able to experience deep emotions and make independent decisions. Papillons lend themselves well to training and education. They are fond of mastering new commands and being engaged in new activities.

Besides, dogs of this breed have an excellent memory, which allows them to memorize 50 or more human words and their meanings. These intelligent dogs are also characterized by a cheerful disposition, friendliness towards other small dogs, as well as cats, ability to get along well with children, and elusiveness in games.



These dogs have been created to be service ones. They are not only beautiful but also very smart. Most experts agree that Dobermans are able to analyze perfectly what is happening around them. They are always on the alert, controlling the situation and the actions of people or other animals. They are excellently trainable and have a superior sense of smell. All this helps them to become successful police dogs.

If you are going to own the representative of this breed as a pet, it’s imperative to train him. Otherwise, his outstanding mind will serve for not less outstanding mischiefs.