Top 30 Smartest Dog Breeds In The World
Published Thursday, May 4, 2023 by Elena R.
If you're a dog lover, you've probably heard the age-old debate: which dog breeds are the smartest? While all dogs have their own unique intelligence and personality, some breeds have proven to be consistently brilliant over time.
In this guide, we'll explore the top 30 smartest dog breeds ranked, from problem-solving whizzes to trainable and intuitive pups. We've done our research to provide you with an updated and informative list. So, if you're searching for a canine companion that can give you a run for your money in the smarts department, you've come to the right place!
Table of Contents
- The Importance of Intelligence in Dogs
- How We Ranked the Smartest Dog Breeds
- The Top 30 Smartest Dog Breeds
- A Closer Look at the Top 30 Smartest Dog Breeds
- 1. Border Collie
- 2. Poodle
- 3. German Shepherd
- 4. Golden Retriever
- 5. Doberman Pinscher
- 6. Shetland Sheepdog
- 7. Labrador Retriever
- 8. Papillon
- 9. Rottweiler
- 10. Australian Cattle Dog
- 11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- 12. Miniature Schnauzer
- 13. English Springer Spaniel
- 14. Belgian Tervuren
- 15. Schipperke
- 16. Belgian Sheepdog
- 17. Australian Shepherd
- 18. Keeshond
- 19. German Shorthaired Pointer
- 20. Flat-Coated Retriever
- 21. English Cocker Spaniel
- 22. Standard Schnauzer
- 23. Brittany
- 24. Cocker Spaniel
- 25. Weimaraner
- 26. Belgian Malinois
- 27. Bernese Mountain Dog
- 28. Pomeranian
- 29. Irish Water Spaniel
- 30. Vizsla
The Importance of Intelligence in Dogs
Before we dive into our ranking, it's essential to understand why intelligence matters in dogs. A dog's intelligence can impact their ability to learn, adapt, and respond to various situations, making them excellent companions and service animals. Furthermore, an intelligent dog can be easier to train, making your life as a pet owner more enjoyable and stress-free.
How We Ranked the Smartest Dog Breeds
Our ranking is based on a combination of factors, including trainability, problem-solving skills, and instincts. We've consulted various reputable sources, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC) and leading canine behavior experts, to ensure our list is as accurate and comprehensive as possible. Additionally, we've scoured the web to identify the top smartest dog breeds so you can trust that our ranking is thorough and up-to-date.
The Top 30 Smartest Dog Breeds
Without further ado, let's dive into our list of the 30 smartest dog breeds ranked. From exceptional working dogs to cuddly companions with a knack for learning, these breeds are sure to impress.
- Border Collie
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
- Doberman Pinscher
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Labrador Retriever
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Miniature Schnauzer
- English Springer Spaniel
- Belgian Tervuren
- Belgian Sheepdog
- Australian Shepherd
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Flat-Coated Retriever
- English Cocker Spaniel
- Standard Schnauzer
- Cocker Spaniel
- Belgian Malinois
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Irish Water Spaniel
A Closer Look at the Top 30 Smartest Dog Breeds
Let’s delve deeper into the unique qualities and intelligence traits of the top 30 most intelligent dog breeds. From their trainability to their problem-solving skills, these breeds stand out as the best of the best when it comes to canine intelligence. They are also often referred to as Einstein dogs, so get ready to be impressed.
1. Border Collie
The Border Collie takes the top spot on our list due to its exceptional intelligence, work ethic, and unmatched herding instincts. These dogs are known for their ability to learn and perform complex tasks quickly, making them ideal for various roles, such as search and rescue, therapy, and agility training. Their high energy levels and intense focus mean that they require plenty of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy.
Often regarded as one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world, Poodles are renowned for their ability to learn and retain new information quickly. They're highly trainable and excel in various dog sports, such as obedience, tracking, and even hunting. Poodles come in three different sizes (Standard, Miniature, and Toy), making them suitable for various living situations. Their hypoallergenic coats also make them a popular choice for allergy sufferers.
3. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is a versatile and intelligent breed, known for its exceptional loyalty, courage, and work ethic. Originally bred as a herding dog, German Shepherds have become a popular choice for roles in law enforcement, military, and search and rescue. They're highly adaptable and quick learners, making them an excellent choice for advanced training and canine sports.
4. Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly and affectionate personalities, making them one of the most popular family pets worldwide. Their intelligence, combined with their eagerness to please, makes them highly trainable and excellent at various tasks, from guiding the visually impaired to performing search and rescue operations. They're also fantastic therapy dogs, providing comfort and support to those in need. Golden Retrievers are also a parent breed to the amazing Mini Goldendoodle, a mix of two of our top smartest breeds – the Poodle and the Golden Retriever.
5. Doberman Pinscher
Doberman Pinschers are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and fearless nature. Initially bred as guard dogs, they have become popular choices for various working roles, such as personal protection, police work, and search and rescue. Their strong problem-solving skills and adaptability make them quick learners, and they excel in canine sports like agility, tracking, and obedience.
6. Shetland Sheepdog
Shetland Sheepdogs, affectionately known as Shelties, are small herding dogs with big personalities. Hailing from the Shetland Islands of Scotland, they are intelligent, agile, and energetic. Their keen problem-solving skills and responsiveness to training make them excellent candidates for obedience, agility, and herding trials. Shelties are also known for their loyalty and devotion to their families, making them loving and protective companions.
7. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world and for good reason. They're known for their friendly, outgoing personalities and their ability to form strong bonds with their families. Labs are highly intelligent and trainable, excelling in various roles such as service dogs, therapy dogs, and search and rescue work. Their strong retrieving instincts also make them fantastic hunting companions. Like the Golden Retriever, Labs are also the parent breed of a mixed breed. The Mini Labradoodle combines the high intelligence of both the Poodle and the Labrador Retriever, making the designer dog equally intelligent.
Don't let their small size fool you - Papillons are quick learners and highly intelligent dogs. These lively and alert toy breeds have a strong desire to please their owners, making them highly trainable and responsive to commands. Papillons excel in dog sports such as agility, obedience, and tracking, showcasing their impressive problem-solving skills and adaptability. Their affectionate and social nature makes them delightful companions for those looking for a small, intelligent pet.
Rottweilers are powerful, confident dogs with a keen intelligence that shines through in their ability to learn and perform complex tasks. Originally bred as herding dogs in Germany, Rottweilers have become popular choices for various working roles, including police and military work, personal protection, and search and rescue. Their loyalty and protective instincts make them excellent guard dogs, while their intelligence allows them to excel in obedience and agility competitions.
10. Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog, also known as the Blue Heeler or Red Heeler, is a highly intelligent and energetic breed developed to work with cattle in the rugged terrain of Australia. These dogs have a strong herding instinct, quick reflexes, and a keen ability to problem-solve, making them excellent working dogs and competitors in canine sports. Australian Cattle Dogs require plenty of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, making them best suited for active families or those with a passion for dog sports.
11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgis were originally bred for herding cattle and sheep. Their low stature allows them to avoid kicks from livestock while working. They are also known for their remarkable agility and responsiveness, which make them successful in dog sports such as obedience, rally, and herding trials. It's no wonder that Corgis were the favorite dogs of the Queen.
12. Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzers were developed in Germany as versatile farm dogs that excelled at catching rats and other vermin. Their keen sense of smell and problem-solving skills make them well-suited for scent-detection work and earth-dog trials. They are also known for their lively and spirited nature, which contributes to their success in various dog sports.
13. English Springer Spaniel
English Springer Spaniels were originally bred as gun dogs to flush out and retrieve game birds. They are known for their exceptional stamina and ability to cover great distances at a steady pace, which make them excellent hunting and field trial companions. Their versatility and intelligence also allow them to excel in scent-detection work and search-and-rescue operations.
14. Belgian Tervuren
Belgian Tervurens are one of the four Belgian herding breeds, known for their intelligence and versatility. They were originally used for herding livestock and guarding properties. Today, they excel in various dog sports, such as obedience, herding trials, and Schutzhund, as well as in police and military work.
Schipperkes, often referred to as "Little Captains," were originally bred in Belgium to guard canal barges and eliminate rodents onboard. These compact dogs possess a powerful, fox-like jaw structure, which was ideal for catching vermin. Their curious nature and agility have made them popular in dog sports like agility, flyball, and obedience, where they showcase their nimble moves and intelligence.
16. Belgian Sheepdog
Belgian Sheepdogs, also known as Groenendaels, were initially bred for herding and guarding livestock. They possess a unique double coat that protects them from harsh weather conditions, making them well-suited for outdoor work. Their keen intelligence and ability to learn complex tasks quickly have also led to their use as service dogs, supporting people with disabilities and offering invaluable assistance.
17. Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd, often affectionately called the "Aussie," is a highly intelligent and versatile breed known for its exceptional herding abilities. Despite its name, the breed's origins can be traced back to the Basque region of Europe, and it was later refined in the United States. The Aussie is renowned for its striking merle coat patterns and expressive eyes, which can be blue, amber, or even two different colors. Their keen problem-solving skills, high energy levels, and eagerness to please make them excellent working dogs, excelling in various dog sports such as agility, obedience, and flyball. Furthermore, their loyal and friendly nature makes them outstanding companions and therapy dogs, providing comfort and support to those in need.
Keeshonds were initially bred in the Netherlands as watchdogs and companions on Dutch barges. They are known for their "spectacles" – distinctive markings around the eyes that give them an expressive, intelligent appearance. Their strong swimming ability, a trait not often found in many breeds, allowed them to save sailors who fell overboard, showcasing their courage and loyalty.
19. German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointers have a unique "birdy" nature, meaning they are instinctively attuned to bird hunting. They were initially bred for their ability to locate, point, and retrieve game in various terrains. Their webbed feet, a distinguishing feature of the breed, enhance their swimming capabilities and contribute to their success in water retrieving tasks.
20. Flat-Coated Retriever
Flat-Coated Retrievers, once known as the "Gamekeeper's Dog," were bred to assist gamekeepers in retrieving downed birds in Victorian England. They have a unique, strong, and gentle mouth grip, allowing them to carry game without damaging it. Their exceptional trainability and amiable nature have made them popular as search-and-rescue dogs, often assisting in disaster relief efforts and locating missing individuals.
21. English Cocker Spaniel
English Cocker Spaniels are known for their proficiency in field trials, where they showcase their remarkable agility, speed, and ability to locate game birds. Originally bred as gun dogs, these affectionate and energetic canines excel in search-and-rescue operations and as therapy dogs, thanks to their empathetic nature.
22. Standard Schnauzer
Standard Schnauzers are the original Schnauzer breed, dating back to the 15th century. They were primarily used as versatile farm dogs, performing tasks such as guarding property, herding livestock, and hunting vermin. Today, their intelligence and versatility make them successful in various dog sports and as police and military working dogs.
Brittanys are renowned for their exceptional hunting skills, particularly in pointing and retrieving game birds. They have a keen sense of smell and excel in scent-detection work. Brittanys are also known for their agility and stamina, which make them successful competitors in dog sports such as flyball and dock diving.
24. Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniels, the smallest of the sporting breeds, were originally bred to flush out and retrieve game birds. They have an excellent sense of smell and are often used for tracking and scent-detection tasks. Cocker Spaniels are also popular as therapy and assistance dogs due to their friendly and gentle nature.
Weimaraners, known as the "Gray Ghost" due to their striking silver-gray coat, were originally bred in Germany for hunting large game such as boar, deer, and bear. They are versatile hunting dogs, skilled in tracking, pointing, and retrieving both on land and in water. Weimaraners are also employed in search-and-rescue operations due to their exceptional tracking abilities.
26. Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois, one of four Belgian herding breeds, is a highly intelligent and versatile working dog. They are widely used in police and military work, including bomb and narcotics detection, personal protection, and search-and-rescue missions. Their agility and endurance also make them excellent competitors in dog sports like Schutzhund and agility trials.
27. Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs are native to Switzerland, where they were historically used as draft animals, pulling carts and wagons, as well as herding livestock and guarding properties. They are known for their incredible strength and endurance, which are still demonstrated today in carting and weight-pulling competitions. Bernese Mountain dogs are also a parent breed to the remarkable Mini Bernedoodle, a breed that combines two of our favorite Einstein Dogs – the Poodle and the Bernese Mountain Dog. Talk about good genes!
Pomeranians, despite their small size, are highly intelligent and trainable dogs. They have a rich history as companion animals, including being favored by Queen Victoria, who is credited with popularizing the breed. Pomeranians excel in various dog sports, such as obedience, agility, and rally, showcasing their intelligence and eagerness to learn.
29. Irish Water Spaniel
Irish Water Spaniels, the tallest of the spaniels, were bred as water retrievers, specializing in the retrieval of waterfowl. They have webbed feet and a water-resistant coat, which help them navigate aquatic environments with ease. These intelligent dogs also excel in scent detection, search-and-rescue work, and various dog sports.
Vizslas, a Hungarian breed, were originally used for hunting, tracking, and retrieving game. They are known for their exceptional scent detection skills and have been employed in bomb detection and search-and-rescue operations. Vizslas are also successful competitors in various dog sports, such as agility, obedience, and field trials. Their affectionate and loyal nature makes them excellent companions and therapy dogs.
There you have it: the 30 smartest dog breeds ranked. While intelligence is undoubtedly an important factor when choosing a canine companion, it's essential to remember that every dog is unique. It's always wise to consider a breed's temperament, energy level, and specific needs before making a decision. By doing so, you'll ensure that you find the perfect furry friend to share your life with. Happy dog hunting!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Which dog has the highest IQ? The Border Collie is often considered the dog breed with the highest IQ. Known for their incredible intelligence, agility, and responsiveness, Border Collies excel in various tasks, from herding livestock to competing in dog sports.
What are the top 5 smartest dogs? The top 5 smartest dog breeds, known for their exceptional intelligence and versatility, include the Border Collie, Poodle, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Doberman Pinscher.
What is the IQ of a dog? The IQ of a dog can't be measured in the same way as human IQ. However, canine intelligence is often assessed based on factors such as problem-solving abilities, trainability, and the capacity to understand and remember commands. A dog's intelligence can vary greatly depending on breed and individual temperament.
Do dogs have a higher IQ? Dogs are considered one of the more intelligent species in the animal kingdom. They possess exceptional problem-solving skills, social intelligence, and the ability to learn and adapt to new situations. However, intelligence varies among different dog breeds and individual dogs.