The Top 5 Most Intelligent Dog Breeds

    December 25, 2013
    Alex Williams
    Comments are off for this post.

Out of a surveyed 122 veterinary professionals, these five dog breeds were voted as the most intelligent, according to VetStreet.com.

Of course, not all canines are made the same. Often, one can find that based off anecdotal experiences with their lovable fur ball, they find their dogs to be some of the most brilliant beasts bestowed on God’s green earth. With this in mind, the following list is data collected from multiple professionals involved in all things animal, with the five listed below as the brainiest dogs based off training ability, memory, and adaptation. Multiple commenters over at VetStreet.com mentioned that other breeds of dog were just as smart, but, based off observance alone, may not always appear to be so.

“The smartest dogs I have had are the mixed breed. i love all dogs, smart or not!” commenter Myra Morgan  said over at VetStreet.com



No. 1: Border Collie

Science Daily found that “Data from 208 dog obedience judges from the United States and Canada showed the differences in working and obedience intelligence of dog breeds, according to [Stanley] Coren. “Border collies are number one.””

Border collies are legendary, revered to be the brightest of all canines with a strong work ethic and ability to impose a stare down on sheep that makes herding efficient.

In 2011, a border collie named “Chaser” was reported by Discovery to have learned the names of 1022 objects as well as understand the basic concepts behind nouns and verbs.


No. 2: German Shepherd Dog


The ideal military and police dog, the German shepherd is a highly adaptable dog and natural protector. Think of the German shepherd as that one friend who is constantly going on hikes and protecting you from drunkards at the bar; German shepherds are an active and protective lot that develop close ties to human family members.


No. 3: Poodle


The most fabulous and prissiest of the canines is the poodle. Originally a hunting dog that retrieved food from water, the poodle is the only breed that comes in three sizes: full size standard, miniature, and the 10 inch toy. Poodles don’t shed, so unless you want a giant unrecognizable fur ball running around, you’ll have to get them trimmed – grooming will be costly. Poodles need to be bathed every two to three weeks to keep their coat in proper condition,

Poodles are active and social dogs, thriving on learning and attention from their owners. When it comes to agility and obedience competitions, Poodles are great choices.

Poodles are ranked second to border collies in terms of intelligence.


 4: Australian Shepherd



Not actually from Australia, these loyal and hardworking canines originated from Europe, traveling to America via Australia, according to Animal Planet. Merle coated and found commonly with multi colored eyes, the Austrlian Shepherd is born with a naturally bobbed tail that can disappear under their coat as they grow older. Best known for their herding skills, Australian Shepherds are also used as Seeing Eye dogs and search and rescue dogs. Australian shepherds are often seen in plenty of dog competitions ranging from flying disc and herding contests.



No. 5: Golden Retriever



How could we forget America?

And unlike our stereotypes here, the Golden Retriever is a low barker who lacks bad breath. You can thank British aristocrat Lord Tweedmouth (aka Sir Dudley Marjoribanks) for purchasing the only yellow pup among an unregistered litter of black Wavy-Coated Retrievers.  The Wavy-Coated Retrievers were cross bred from the Irish Setter and St. John’s Newfoundland. Tweedmouth’s dog, “Nous”, much like his offspring, was an excellent swimmer and hunter.

Golden Retrievers are some of the most trainable dogs; they were the first American Kettle Club obedience champions. With a name like “retriever” the dogs have been bred as hunters to retrieve fowl from water and land.



Pictures via Youtube (1),(2),(3),(4),(5), Reddit (1),(2),(3),(4),(5),(6),(7), (8), (9), (10), Wiki Commons

  • Lissa

    Trainability does NOT equal smartness

    • Erica Nemec

      It has alot to do with it though :/

  • http://www.pawtailspetsitting.com KateG

    While smarts is a good thing…the train-ability is the most important factor in my book.

    Walking Dogs daily, all types, I find those trained are happier family members and good citizens at Dog Park, Dog Beach.

    Love-ability is the biggest priority to most of my clients.

    • Alex Williams

      I couldn’t agree more. :)

      Love-ability is the most important thing. Dogs do appreciate a good walking, and, inadvertently, have been proven to raise life expectancies in their owners.

  • susan

    I have owned many German Shepherds, two Goldens. a toy poodle, a Sheltie and a border collie/aussie mix among many others. Most of the Germans were exactly as described, one the most extraordinary animal I have ever known. The Goldens, the silliest most lovable dips on four feet. The toy poodle, as conniving a wee beast as ever walked, but do understand the beauty and intelligence of the standards. My border/aussie mix, a rescue that needed loving care to turn him into the wonderful friend he has become who is now 16. My sheltie was as intelligent, trainable, clever and wonderful as any of the many many dogs I have owned. He did come from the finest lineage, as did some of our Germans. I loved them all.

  • Navo

    What about labs and rottweilers?

  • Erica Nemec

    I disagree.This list isn’t in the right order and the Australian Cattle Dog isn’t even on here.An Austrailian Cattle Dog is smarter than any shepherd.Just goes to show you can’t believe everything you read online.

    • mark

      Not sure what you mean by “smart” when it comes to dogs. I think focus and willingness to please are better terms here. The cattle dog has plenty of focus when it comes to doing their jobs, but when it comes to a drive to please their owners, the german shepherd far exceeds the cattle dog.