Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

Have you ever wondered how smart dogs can be? In his book “The Intelligence of Dogs,” renowned psychologist Dr. Stanley Coren outlines certain dog breeds that exhibit exceptional working intelligence, obedience, and task performance.

Check out the top 10 smartest dog breeds with amazing and impressive intelligence.

10Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog, also called Blue Heelers, is a breed of herding dog with an intuitive intelligence of herding by nipping at the heels of cattle. They form strong bonding with their owners and become protective of them. Cattle Dogs have excellent problem-solving skills making them perfect for disabled people.

These dogs also possess an active mind and a certain level of independence. They are cautious in new situations and exhibit a sharp attitude toward strangers. However, with proper training, they make excellent guard dogs and become protective of family members, especially older people, and young children. They quickly respond to their owners’ emotions without a command or order.



Image credit: Snapmann on Flickr

Rottweilers are smart dog breeds known for their devotion, obedience, and eagerness to work. They have a rugged appearance and fearless behavior. These dogs are self-confident and tend to respond quietly and with caution. Originating from the German town of Rottweil, they possess an instinctive intelligence that makes them excellent guard dogs and loyal companions.

Due to their vigilance instincts and desire to protect their homes and family, they may exhibit aggression toward strangers. However, their strong work ethic makes them highly adaptable in tough conditions. They excel in certain dog sports, such as Agility and Schutzhund.

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The Papillon breed is a small and lively spaniel-type dog with butterfly-like features, specifically the long and fringed hair on its ears. They possess high intelligence and confidence, making them quick learners of new tricks. Although playful and affectionate, they tend to be reserved around unfamiliar people.

With proper training, they can socialize well with other pets and are excellent watchdogs, alerting their owners to changes in their surroundings. Papillons showcase impressive obedience and agility skills, making them ideal companion dogs with a cheerful and adventurous nature. However, their high intelligence requires regular mental stimulation and rigorous training to avoid behavioral issues and keep them energetic.

7Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever The Labrador Retriever, also known as the Labrador, is a gun dog originally from the United Kingdom. A well-trained Labrador assists hunters in retrieving games and also for rescue and therapy works. Apart from being playful and friendly, their guiding skills make them excellent partners for upland game hunting.

They have a remarkable ability to recognize over 85 words, and with proper training, they can even help their owners withdraw money and credit cards from ATMs. Some Lab breeds are highly protective, like Endal, who helped his owner after a car accident by getting him into the recovery position, covering him with a blanket, and even making an emergency phone call.

6Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog The Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie, is a small herding dog breed with an origin in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. They are known for their diligent, clever, and excitable personalities. Shelties make excellent and trustworthy companions, often called “shadows” due to their commitment to family.

They are also excellent therapy dogs during hard times, such as natural disasters or severe illnesses. They are brilliant and can learn 165 more words and signs than an average dog. Shelties excel in herding, agility, and obedience tests and even have a naughty side, deliberately teasing or tricking other dogs and people.

5Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher The Doberman Pinscher is a domestic dog breed that is medium to large. It has a long muzzle, cropped ears, and a docked tail and displays a graceful gait. The breed has distinctive markings on its chest, muzzle, paws, and underneath its tail. Known for its intelligence and alertness, the Doberman is adept at various mental tasks, including problem-solving, communication, and learning.

While possessing a protective nature, the breed is obedient and restrained enough to defend its owner only when commanded to do so. Modern Dobermans possess good-natured temperament, extreme loyalty, and great trainability. They make excellent companions, displaying energy, watchfulness, fearlessness, obedience, and tenacious loyalty.

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4Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever The Golden Retriever is a dog breed from Scotland known for their friendly and affectionate nature and beautiful golden coat. Their strong sense of smell and instinctive intelligence make them great at fetching and retrieving items. In contrast, their adaptive intelligence allows them to learn from mistakes and adjust their behavior accordingly.

Often seen in dog shows and obedience trials, they excel as gundogs and guide dogs with proper training. These service dogs are also good at reading human emotions; for example, Yogi, a famous breed, won the national dog of Valor award for saving his owner’s life by following special commands to alert the neighbors. Carrie, another breed, was skilled in dance choreography with her owner.

3German Shepherd

German Shepherd The German Shepherd is a medium or large-sized working dog, originally bred for herding sheep. Over time, other breeds were developed for various types of work, including disability assistance, search-and-rescue, police work, and warfare. These highly intelligent dogs serve as watchdogs due to their exceptional strength. They make excellent guard, police, and search and rescue dogs because of their adaptive and working intelligence.

German Shepherds are obedient and overprotective of their family and owners but are over-aggressive towards strangers. Their fast and retentive memory helps them understand and remember important words and signs during training. They have excellent problem-solving skills and even exhibit great acting skills, like Rin Tin Tin.


Poodle Poodles are active and highly intelligent dog breeds with exceptional learning abilities. Their instinctive intelligence to retrieve water is unique, making them truly smart. They are excellent in dock diving and dog surfing competitions. Poodles are fast learners due to their exceptional memory and ability to learn and remember more than 300 words and signs than any other breed.

They also exhibit high adaptive intelligence, making them great at problem-solving. Poodles have incredible emotional intelligence, being extremely sensitive to their owner’s voice, gestures, and body language. They show grief if they lose their owners. Their intelligence makes them 70 percent more obedient than other breeds.

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1Border Collie

Border Collie The Border Collie is a medium-sized breed commonly used for herding livestock, mainly sheep. Their high intelligence and athleticism make them great competitors in dog sports like dog obedience, herding, disc dog, and agility. They excel in dog sports like Canicross and Flyball. These energetic dogs may run for miles daily due to their intelligence and ability to control challenging livestock.

As quick learners, they understand new commands in fewer than five repetitions, exhibiting an obedience level of 95 percent. Their quick decision-making powers help them work in teams with other dogs and herders. One exceptional Border Collie named Chaser even can identify and select from a collection of 1022 toys due to their high adaptive intelligence.