The 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

Dogs are one of the most intelligent animals in the kingdom, no doubt about it, but did you know some canines are actually smarter than others? It’s true. According to the American Kennel Club, many breeds of “herd or hunting” dogs, who were bred in order to help hunt for food or protect other animals and livestock, have a biological inclination to be some of the smartest dog breeds.

Before you start arguing that your pooch reigns supreme, it’s important to consider what other attributes are measured to determine a dog’s intelligence, since it isn’t always just biological. Intelligence can come down to how easily breeds can train, their ability to understand humans, how quick of a study they are, how well they perform certain tasks, and much more.

So if you’re looking for a top dog to join your family, see if these canines pass the test.

10-Border Collie

While there are many smart dog breeds to choose from, not many of them compare to the Border Collie. You are likely to find a Collie trying to figure out a problem even when nobody is around to train or reward the behavior.

Traditionally used in livestock herding, this dog is capable of performing complicated tasks and loves to be put to the test!


Coming in a close second is the Poodle (fun fact: this is the national dog of France!). Known for their intelligence and trainability, Poodles were often trained to perform circus acts in front of huge audiences, and there are even stories of these pooches wearing human clothes and acting out skits!

Poodles are frequently crowned “Best in Show” in prestigious competitions such as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

8-German Shepherd

This breed is the gold standard when it comes to learning new tricks and tasks. After all, law enforcement and the military has relied on German Shepherds to chase down bad guys, sniff out explosives, and many other important objectives.

These dogs are very quick learners and love a good test of their abilities! They also make great pets, so think of them next time you want to get a dog. 

7-Golden Retriever

These pooches are some of the most popular breeds around, because they are adorable and great for families.

This is another dog you may find assisting police forces and other emergency responders. As the name suggests, these dogs were bred to be outstanding at fetching things for their owners – whether that’s a tennis ball or something far more important!

6-Doberman Pinscher

Smart and loyal, Dobermans were originally bred to be guard dogs deploying an elite sense of smell (along with a threatening appearance!).

But these dogs are great at adapting to any activity or lifestyle, especially if they are trained from a young age to be around people and other dogs.

5-Shetland Sheepdog

These dogs love a good mental challenge and excel with new activities. Bred as a herding dog, Shetlands never get tired of learning and training!

This is a high energy breed that needs lots of exercise. This breed is even nicknamed “shadows” as a testament to their loyalty and attachment to their owners.

4-Labrador Retriever

This is another highly popular breed with families due to their easy-going nature. Labs love to swim and are experts around water – you may find this dog at the side of a hunter or fisherman.

These dogs are incredibly sweet, making them popularly used for therapy, emotional support, and in the service of the blind or disabled.


Also referred to as a “Toy Spaniel,” and easily recognized by their butterfly-shaped ears and fine hair.

The cream of the crop when it comes to obedience, these dogs are popular in contest circles. If you are looking for a dog who easily behaves the way you want, look no further!  


Interestingly, this breed is believed to be descended from herding dogs used as far back as the Roman Empire!

A popular breed with the armed forces, the Rottweiler possesses a level of smarts that make them easy to train and very protective. Don’t let their intimidating look scare you though, these dogs are great with families!

1-Australian Cattle Dog

Also nicknamed a “Blue Heeler,” this is yet another herding dog which has made the list. While Cattle Dogs are very smart, they are also very high energy! Owners of Australian Cattle Dogs should train them frequently and consistently in order to keep them well behaved.

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