The 20 Smartest Dog Breeds


2. Poodle


Known for its regular top spot in smartest dog rankings, the poodle symbolizes smartness. Its high intelligence is reflected in how loyal, vigilant, gentle, and smart it has always been, according to the founder of Breeding Business, Lazhar Ichir whose platform teaches dog breeding ethics. Poodles’ human-like nature makes them exceptionally fast learners of challenging training activities like tracking, hunting, obedience, and agility.

3. German shepherd


The alertness and general intelligence of German shepherds are the reason law enforcement employs them as their favorite police dogs. Their exceptional intelligence, self-motivation, and energy help them prevail in search and rescue missions, as well as disability assistance. German Shepherds were originally bred for herding. Their ability to evaluate situations and determine what to do next is amazingly high, according to Jill Cline, Ph.D., site director at Royal Canin, a Lewisburg, Ohio Pet Health &Nutrition Center.

4. Golden retriever


Goldens have a reputation for being calm and easily trainable. The reason they are considered so smart is their eagerness to obey commands. Also, their behavior can be quite predictable in a series of situations, and that’s a trait of smartness as Dr. Cline says. Golden retrievers make great search and rescue, therapy and service dogs.

5. Doberman pinscher


The Doberman pinscher is great at working, displaying intelligence as well as protective and trainable qualities, according to Dr. Hauser. They also work with law enforcement as service dogs due to their sharp mental aptitude and obedience. Caleb Backe, an expert at Maple Holistics, points out that this breed usually gets bored if not intellectually stimulated enough. Owning it is costly but worth it if you need a guard dog.

6. Shetland sheepdog


This small smart dog features on this list owing to its great intelligence in herding, alertness, activeness, and quickness. It can be quite vocal, which is great for a herding dog. Shetlands have the rare ability to follow directions in detail as well as solve problems like the pro it is. Dr. Hauser adds that this breed adores pleasing people and cuddling too.

7. Labrador retriever


Like goldens, Labs have a good sense of judgment and courage, and hence, they are often used as service dogs for special needs people. Their high emotional intelligence and trainability is the reason they qualify as some of the smartest dogs in this list from our experts.

8. Papillon


With big ears, the Papillon’s origin dates back 700 years ago. This makes it one of the dog breeds whose lengthy historical background has helped it to finally breed some of the smartest dogs of this generation, according to Hughes and Steffen. When it comes to training on agility and tricks, Papillons are superb.

9. Rottweiler


Since way back in the Roman Empire era, this strong breed was herding livestock. Their display of acute sharpness, awareness, unwavering loyalty, and intelligence makes them wonderful search and rescue, guard, and police dogs.

10. Australian cattle dog


What a tough herding dog the Australian cattle dog is, with all the qualities of a great herding dog. It shares heritage with other herding breeds. Being excellent problem solvers, they are also eager and fast learners when it comes to reward-related training and enjoying activities like flyball, agility, and Frisbee, based on what Dr. Hughes and Steffen say.

11. Pembroke Welsh corgi


Dr. Hauser reveals that when there is some work to do, this joyous smaller breed feels the happiest. The dog never disappoints in its eagerness and ability to “herd” it owner’s family members, especially younger children.

12. Miniature Schnauzer


These fast learners enjoy challenges and are often champions at sports because of their intelligence, flexibility, competitive obedience, and agility as Steffen and Hughes say. Miniature Schnauzers are great and smart at pleasing as Dr. Hauser points out.

13. English Springer spaniel

The Springer is a blend of beauty and utility. The American Kennel Club also adds that the dog’s admirable stamina, energy, brains, and great “rear-drive” movement are the reasons they are exalted as terrific bird dogs. Its website praises the Spaniel’s priceless beauty, intelligently marked coat and yeaning expression with its long and lush ears.

14. Belgian Tervuren, Malinois and sheepdog


These ethically gifted dogs are all descendants of the Belgian sheepdog and have what it takes to land a spot in the smartest dog breed ranking, owing to their admirable intelligence and attraction for sports like tracking, agility, sledding, and herding, according to expert information from Steffen and Hughes. The Tervuren proves itself a “smart and loyal,” dog with great trick skills. The Belgian Shepherd and the Schipperke share heritage. Dr. Hauser calls them working dogs. Belgian Malinois are highly recognizable in police and military service.

15. Schipperke

A Belgian dog with brains, the Schipperke shares heritage with the Belgian Sheepdog. Confident, curious, and clever, it is a small dog with a big heart when it comes to facing situations as a watchdog, especially for boats. Its name comes from a Flemish word called “schip,” meaning “boat.”

16. Collie

Since Lassie, a movie in 1943, the sharp wit of Collies came to spotlight. They are amazing at herding, water rescue and protection and do guide the blind excellently as Hughes says. Morgan jokes that a collie can tell when someone fell into water.

17. Keeshond

Thick coated and medium-sized, Morgan says the Keeshond used to be called the “Dutch Barge Dog,” These fast learners are awesome seeing-eye dogs, and with a passionate and disciplined trainer, they can become easily independent.

18. German shorthaired pointer

Traditionally used as sporting dogs for bird hunting, Pointers display great loyalty and do well in lively households, points out Dr. Hauser. The initial purpose of this hunting breed was to locate any prey, and that’s a trait only for self-confident and self-controlled dogs.

19. Flat-coated retriever

Coming from the same family as Labrador, the AKC points out that this flat-coated retriever, is every energy-full amidst its sharp intelligence and confidence. Apart from being among the smartest dogs, it also has great therapy skills.

20. Honorable mention: Bloodhound


Bloodhounds have a superpower-like high sense of smell that is considered three million times more effective than humans’. Combined with their natural intelligence, they are super trackers of people, comment Steffen and Hughes. The Bloodhound deserves this honorable mention at least.