Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington

When it comes to selecting a dog there are hundreds of breeds to choose from – how do you make your choice? It’s a nearly impossible challenge that has vexed potential dog owners for generations. The only way to choose is to narrow in what kind of characteristics or qualities are most desirable to you in a dog. Some people might be looking for the cuddliest dog, others may want seek smallest dog that they can find, while many will prioritize breeds with hypoallergenic coats for obvious reasons. Today, we don’t be helping anyone looking for those dogs. Nope, today we will be focusing on the brainiacs of the dog world. Sure, most dog owners like to think that their pup is the smartest, but which ones actually are?

For many dog owners, the intelligence of their dog is the top priority. There are a variety of reasons to value a dog’s brains over all else. However, the most appealing option tends to come down to training. After all, the smarter the dog is, the more trainable it will be. This is especially important for dog owners who want to train their dogs for agility or to perform tasks like search-and-rescue or therapy. So, if that’s something that you value as a dog owner, you’re going to want to track down a dog with a big brain.

So, how do you determine which dog breeds are the smartest in the pack? Well, the good news is that you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of the top 10 smartest dog breeds. Every furry friend that you’ll find below is known for their significant brain power. These are the pups to look out for on your hunt for the a canine with a major cranium. (Photo credit: uhercikova/Shutterstock)

10. Border Collie

The Border Collie is an excellent working breed due to its intelligence and tireless attitude. These little dogs can work for hours performing just about any job or task that is assigned to them. Border Collies excel particularly well in agility, though their strong instincts make them great for herding as well. These smart pups are easy to train and even easier to love. They will make any home a happier place. (Photo credit: Anna Tyurina/Shutterstock)

9. German Shepherd Dog

The German Shepherd Dog is especially prized as a police dog due to its intelligence and discipline. These dogs are highly trainable in addition to being loyal and dependable – they make excellent family pets but tend to do best when trained to perform a task. So, this genius of the dog world is especially worth tracking down for anyone looking to train a working dog. The German Shepherd pup might not be as content in a more lazy home, no matter how loving the home may be. (Photo credit: Rita Kochmarjova/Shutterstock)

8. Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is notorious for being a spirited and energetic breed, but they are also highly intelligent and trainable. With the proper discipline, these dogs make excellent guide dogs and they can also be trained for agility and obedience. According to AKC registration statistics, the Lab is consistently one of the most popular breeds in the US. Understandably so. These bright and beautiful pooches fit in perfectly to almost any more. (Photo credit: Capture Light/Shutterstock)

7. Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is known for its mottled coat and lively personality. These dogs are also highly intelligent and very trainable – particularly when given a specific job to perform. Aussies tend to excel in herding activities and in agility, though they can be very good house pets as well if they are given adequate daily exercise. Brainy, beautiful, and athletic? If the Australian Shepherd doesn’t get your heart beating a little fast, you might not be living. (Photo credit: Ksenia Raykova/Shutterstock)

6. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is known for its soft golden coat and for its friendly temperament. When you interact with one of these dogs you will be won over by their love for people, but do not overlook their intelligence and workability. These dogs are eager to please and very intelligent, so they can be trained to perform a variety of tasks – they make particularly good therapy and assistance dogs. There’s a reason why the Golden Retriever remains one of the most popular and beloved dog breeds around, they truly do it all! (Photo credit: dezi/Shutterstock)

5. Poodle

The Poodle is known for being one of the most intelligent breeds of dog out there. These dogs are highly trainable and tend to excel in sports and agility – they are particularly adept at retrieving game from water. And here you thought that poodles were only pretty faces! Shame on you! (Photo credit: Esp2k/Shutterstock)

4. Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog looks almost like a miniature collie and they are a very intelligent working breed. These little dogs excel in herding but they can also be trained for agility and other tasks. Lassie wasn’t just a fantasy. These are truly brilliant canines who would be more than happy to help save a young boy from a well any day of the week. To know a Shetland Sheepdog is to fall madly enough with an iconic piece of Americana. They truly live up to the hype. (Photo credit: Lenkadan/Shutterstock)

3. Australian Cattle Dog

This breed is similar in appearance to the Australian Shepherd, though they have shorter, coarser coats as opposed to the soft flowing coat of the Australian Shepherd. Australian Cattle Dogs are very smart and have strong herding instincts, though they can also excel at obedience and agility. These dogs require a great deal of daily exercise and plenty of outdoor space. However, if you can keep up with their significant exercise requirements, these pups will prove to be intelligent and loving companions for the rest of their days. (Photo credit: WOLF AVNI/Shutterstock)

2. Rottweiler

When you think of a Rottweiler, you probably picture him guarding a home or yard. These dogs seems like big brutes of the dog world. All brawn, little brain. However, you would be mistaken. Don’t be embarrassed though. This is a common misconception. The truth of the matter is that these dogs are highly intelligent and can be trained to perform tasks that go way beyond being a guard dog. This breed excels as a therapy dog, service dog, and even a herder. The Rottweiler is a clever dog that can do it all. They deserve more respect, which is why we deliberately ranked them so high on this list. (Photo credit: Degtyaryov Andrey/Shutterstock)

1. Doberman Pinscher

You probably associated Doberman Pinschers with difficult tasks like being a police dog or guard dog. These stereotypes are true because the Doberman Pinscher excels in tasks that require speed, stamina and intelligence. They are as brilliant as they are beautiful physical specimens and deserve to be respected for more than just their undeniable good looks. Like the Rottweiler, we chose to rank the Doberman Pinscher high on this list to help break some misconceptions about these stunning animals. (Photo credit: gillmar/Shutterstock)

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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