The 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

The 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

Author WDF Staff


Every dog owner thinks their dog is the smartest, best dog ever. They may be right about the best dog ever part. But the smartest dog depends on the breed. Several different factors go into measuring the intelligence of each dog breed.

Dogs obviously can’t undergo intelligence tests as people can. Their intelligence level is based partly on their ability to learn and remember commands. It also includes their agility level and problem-solving skills.

With that in mind, here are 10 of the smartest dog breeds around.

10. Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dogs are another breed originally used for herding. The intelligent dog is also known as the Blue Heeler. Their ancestry includes wild Dingoes (feral dogs in Australia) and Dalmation lineage.

9. Rottweiler

Rottweilers are one of the most intimidating breeds. They also descend from one of the oldest breeds. Originally bred to herd cattle, the dogs are a popular choice for guard dogs due to their muscular appearance.

rottweiler running

8. Papillon

Topping out at 10 pounds, the Papillon is the smallest dog of the top 10 smartest. But don’t let their size fool you. Papillons are extremely athletic and agile. The small dog was a popular accessory for the ladies of the royal courts. Many still consider themselves lap dogs.

7. Labrador Retriever

Sorry, Goldens. The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog for almost 30 years straight. The breed was originally used for water-retrieval due to its short, water-resistant coat. While the breed is still used for that, many Labs are tasked with simply being house pets.

labrador wink

6. Shetland Sheepdog

Like the Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdogs were bred to herd sheep and other livestock. The breed is the smaller cousin of the Rough Collie. Due to their small size, the breed is at risk for obesity if overfed. Of course, their boundless energy will help keep the weight off.

5. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinschers got their start as guard dogs for a German tax collector. Known for their fierceness and sleek coat, Dobermans are still used as guard dogs today. In fact, they make great working dogs for the police and military.

4. Golden Retriever

Not only are Golden Retrievers intelligent, they are also extremely friendly. For a smart dog, the breed is well-known for its goofy behavior. Golden Retrievers are regularly in the top 10 most popular dog breed lists every year. Perhaps even the top best family dog breed, too.

3. German Shepherd

German Shepherds are notorious for their courage and intelligence. The smart breeds are often tapped for working jobs that require the ability to easily learn commands. A dog’s diet can affect their behavior. Check out these brands if you want the best diet for your German Shepherd.

german shepherds

2. Poodle

When you think of a poodle, you think of a regal dog fit for royalty. Yes, but they were originally used by hunters to retrieve downed birds from the water. Along with the intelligence comes a stubborn streak that is not for the faint-hearted dog owner. Poodles need patient owners willing to put in the work to train the breed.

1. Border Collie

Not only are Border Collies extremely intelligent, but they also have more energy than the Energizer bunny. The medium-sized dog was bred in the Scottish highlands for herding livestock. Many shepherds still use the Collies for that purpose, but they are also a popular breed for house pets.

border collie running

If you don’t see your dog in the top 10, check out this infographic for more of the top 100 smartest dog breeds. Is your dog on it?

If you want to explore more smartest dog breeds, you can check the full breed list here - smartest dog breeds.

World Dog Finder team