Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)

Whilst, we can all agree, that any dog is a great contender to be a best friend even though some are slightly more goofy than others our love for them is never ending. However, certain dog breeds stand out from the pack when it comes to working intelligence.

Intelligence in dog breeds can come down to a factor of things, such as how easily their breeds can train, their ability to follow instructions and how quick they are to learn new tasks.

Our answers are based on “The Intelligence of Dogs” by neuropsychologist Stanley Coren, PhD which focuses on trainability as a marker of intelligence.

The University of British Columbia psychology professor relied on the assessments of 110 breeds by more than 200 professional dog obedience judges who scored breeds based on working/obedience tests.

Please note that like any breed round up, all the following choices are subjective and are far from being exhaustive. We know there are many other wonderful dog breeds that could have made the list and the list is in no particular order!

If you have a dog whose breed appears in our “Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)” list or if you think your dog breed should have been on here, please let us know in the comments section below!

The Pet Embassy’s “Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)”

Border Collie

Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)
A Border Collie running wild through water. Photo by 825545 from Pixabay

Size: Medium

Temperament:  Energetic, Intelligent and Tenacious

Border Collies are an extremely intelligent breed. They have ranked as the smartest dog in many different studies and indeed, in Coren’s study Border Collies ranked number 1 in speed to learn a new command. Originally bred to gather and control sheep in the hilly border between England and Scotland many considered the Border Collie to be the best herding dogs, they are still used today to herd sheep on farms.

Border Collies are a real family dog and is one of the most loyal dog breeds. They are a friendly breed who love to play, which makes them one of our favourite medium dog breeds.

As the Border Collie is one of the most active dog breeds in the world they need lots of space to run, a big back yard or a farm is the best place for them after all they were originally bred for herding livestock!

The Border Collie could become very bored in a small apartment or somewhere where they could not let their mind and legs run free. They also thoroughly enjoy playing games with children, which makes the Border Collie one of the best dog breeds for kids and families.

Also, the Border Collie is one of the best herding dog breeds.

Poodle

Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)
A brown poodle standing on the grass. Photo by Artie Siegel from Pexels

Size: Medium

Temperament: Active, Instinctual and Intelligent 

The Poodle is a well-known and versatile breed that can come in miniature, toy or standard size. Poodles are one of the most active dog breeds as well as a family dog that responds well to training and are able to thrive in a number of households, they are one of the best dog breeds for kids and families.

Their easy going nature and ability to learn makes them one of the best dog breeds for beginners as well as one of the best dog breeds for seniors.

The poodle ranked second in Coren’s survey. The Poodle has a perfect combination of playful nature and intelligence which means that obedience training is essential in keeping your Poodle mentally and physically stimulated.

The Poodle is one of the smartest dog breeds in the world. Their intelligence, playful nature and the fact that they are one of the most energetic dog breeds means that obedience training is essential in keeping your Poodle mentally and physically stimulated. In addition, they also should be taken for exercise daily and they enjoy and excel at dog games due to their intelligent nature. The Poodle is one of our favorite medium dog breeds.

The Poodle is one of the longest living dog breeds and they can live for about 12 to 15 years, but note that toy and miniature varieties usually outlast standard poodles. All variations of the Poodle are amongst the longest living dog breeds.

Poodles are hypoallergenic and the Toy Poodle features on our favorite small hypoallergenic dog breeds.

German Shepherd

Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)
An adult German Shepherd having some fun on a walk. Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

Size: Large

Temperament: Intelligent, Obedient and Protective.

Ranking number three in Coren’s survey is the German Shepherd making the German Shepherd one of the most intelligent dog breeds.

German Shepherds were originally bred as working dogs and their main mission was to serve and obey their master. They are one of the best dogs at following orders and their obedience is second to none. The combination of their intelligence and their instinctual willingness to learn and obey makes them one of the most loyal dog breeds in the world as well as one of our favourite working dog breeds. When trained and socialised properly, their stable obedient temperament allows them to bond with all family members as they consider them to be part of their pack.

This dog breed is one of the best guarding breeds and they will do anything, even put their lives at risk, to protect their pack. This makes the German Shepherd one of the best dog breeds for protection.

Due to their origins, they need to be kept occupied both mentally and physically therefore they require at least 1-2 hours of exercise per day to ensure they aren’t bored. German Shepherds have a lot of energy and require large amounts of movement everyday to burn their energy!

German shepherds are double-coated dogs therefore they require regular grooming to keep their coats nice and healthy. Their coat should be brushed regularly as this can alert you to health and skin problems such as hot spots, hair loss or dry skin.

Golden Retriever

Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)
A stunning Golden Retriever against a beautiful backdrop. Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

Size: Large

Temperament: Confident, Gentle and Intelligent

Next up in Coren’s survey is the Golden Retriever. The Golden Retriever excels as a therapy dog or in canine assistance.

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dogs breeds in the world right now. They offer affection, companionship and energy whilst also being easy to train and incredibly gentle. They are a great family dog and the Golden Retriever is one of the most loyal dog breeds because they develop a bond with each family member, not just one person. They are also one of the best dog breeds for beginners.

Due to their active nature, Golden Retrievers need a good amount of exercise to keep them healthy, dog games are recommended to keep this particular breed physically and mentally stimulated.

They are known for being great around kids and other dogs due to their gentle and kind nature.They have an instinct for protecting their pack from anything dangerous so they are great to take to the park with your children as they are another pair of watchful eyes!

The Golden Retriever is known for being a great dog breed for kids and families and other dogs due to their gentle and kind nature. They have an instinct for protecting their pack from anything dangerous so they are great to take to the park with your children as they are another pair of watchful eyes!

Just like the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever is one of our favorite large dog breeds and one of the best working dog breeds.

Doberman Pinscher

Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)
A fantastic side profile of a Doberman Pinscher. Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Size: Large

Temperament: Alert, Confident and Obedient

The Doberman Pinschers reputation precedes them. They are generally stereotyped as highly aggressive and vicious. Whilst, it is true that they one of the best dog breeds for protection, they are usually very gentle and loving. They are fearless when protecting their family and their home if they perceive danger. The Doberman Pinscher is one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world.

Due to their high intelligence, they need plenty of mental challenges to keep them from becoming bored. Their size combined with their intellect means they need a strong pack leader who can properly socialise them and train them, as well as keep them busy every day.

Additionally, the Doberman Pinscher is one of our favourite large dog breeds.

Shetland Sheepdog

Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)
A beautiful Shetland Sheepdog lying on the grass. Photo by JACLOU-DL from Pixabay

Size: Medium

Temperament: Affectionate, Alert and Responsive

Originating in the Shetland Islands off the coats of Scotland, the Shetland Sheep dog use to stand guard for farmers, keep out hungry birds and heard sheep out of the farmer’s lands.

Shetland Sheepdogs are loving companions for all members of the family, including the kids, however, they can be reserved around strangers. Their protective nature means they are quick to bark if something is not quite right in their territory.

Shetland Sheepdogs are a highly intelligent dog breed and have a strong willingness to please. These traits combined with their outstanding althletic ability mean that the Shetland Sheepdog excels at performance events.

Due to their intelligence, they can quickly become bored if they do not have a job that needs to be done. They thrive on mental stimulation.

The Shetland Sheepdog is one of our favorite herding dog breeds.

Labrador Retriever

Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)
Black Labrador Retriever having some fun in a field of tall grass. Photo by Adrianna Calvo from Pexels

Size: Large

Temperament: Energetic, Intelligent and Tenacious

Just like the Golden Retriver, the Labrador Retriever is another intelligent dog breed that excels in canine assistance and as a therapy dog.

Labrador Retrievers make great pets for first-time dog owners due to their affectionate and loyal natures. They are known for being calm and gentle, meaning they are a great family dog as well as a great companion to share the home with as well as being one of the best dog breed for kids and families.

In addition, Labrador Retrievers are one of the best dog breeds for seniors. Labrador Retrievers are one of the most loyal dog breeds to their family, and develop bonds with each member, not just with one person. They are friendly to everyone they meet and get along with other animals in the household. 

Labrador Retrievers are one of the most active dog breeds and need around an hour exercise every day. This could be running, swimming, or fetch. They are an intelligent dog breed who get great satisfaction out of releasing their energy in fun ways.

Labrador Retrievers are a double-coated dog breed therefore they require regular grooming to keep their coats nice and healthy. Their coat should be brushed regularly as this can alert you to health and skin problems such as hot spots, hair loss or dry skin.

In addition, Labrador Retrievers are one of our favorite large dog breeds as well as one of our top working dog breeds.

Papillon

Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)
A photogenic Papillon against a black back drop. Photo by Alan Quirván from Pexels

Size: Small

Temperament: Alert, Energetic and Friendly

The Papillon is a happy and friendly dog breed that will thrive in a variety of households. The Papillion is one of the most intelligent dog breeds as well as being an outgoing and energetic dog breed that loves to be with people and give kisses to anyone who comes close enough, therefore, they are great dog breed for kids and families.

Their energy level and their desire to please makes them an easy dog to train and a great companion to your children and your family. However, Papillons can become a bit stubborn if they are allowed to show that behaviour early in their development, therefore, early training is recommended.

While their high energy level and inquisitive nature means they need a lot of exercise, they can amuse themselves with balls and other toys easily. Despite their fluffy coat, they have minimal shedding.

The Papillon is one of the longest living dog breeds. Papillons live up to 15 years old, although some are known to have lived for 18 years. Unfortunately, and despite their relatively long lifespans, Papillons are vulnerable to a number of different health problems, so be sure to work closely with your vet as your Papillon ages.

Rottweiler

Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)
A stunning Rottweiler enjoying a pet game. Photo by Tom Verdoot from Pexels

Size: Large

Temperament: Calm, Confident and Intelligent

A Rottweiler is a calm and confident dog breed and is very self-assured. Originally bred to drive cattle and pull carts for farmers and butchers. Their heritage shows through their broad chest and heavily muscled body.

The Rottweiler is a fantastic guard dog albeit with a mellow temperament, making the Rottweiler on of our best dog breeds for protection. Rottweilers have a natural instinct to protect their pack and will be very demanding in their defence. Please ensure early socialisation to allow them to channel their power and protectiveness, otherwise, they may become a dangerous bully rather than the protector that you want in your household.

The Rottweiler is a fantastic guard dog albeit with a mellow temperament, making the Rottweiler on of our best dog breeds for protection. Rottweilers have a natural instinct to protect their pack and will be very demanding in their defence. Otherwise, there is a chance that your Rottweiler will assume the role of top dog for themselves, which can be very bad considering the intelligence and power of the Rottweiler.

Rottweilers are one of the most intelligent dog breeds and are very trainable if you’re firm and consistent in your actions. They may look to test you to see if what you say is actually what you mean, always be specific in what you ask and don’t leave any loopholes for this intelligent dog breed!

In addition, the Rottweiler is one of our favorite large dog breeds as well as one of our favorite working dog breeds.

Australian Cattle Dog

Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)
An Australian Cattle Dog enjoying some time by the pool. Photo by Ezio Ricardo Martins from Pexels

Size: Medium

Temperament: Brave, Obedient and Protective.

Last on our list is the Australian Cattle dog.

Australian Cattle Dogs are a hard working dog breed and they are one of the most intelligent dog breed. They were originally bred by Australian settlers to handle herds of cattle on vast ranches and they are still used to this day. The Australian Cattle dog is known as a “shadow dog” as they show deep loyalty to their owners. The Australian Cattle dog is an extremely protective breed and will go above and beyond for their family.  The Australian Cattle dog will run around for hours without tiring, making them one of the most energetic dog breeds in the world.

The Australian Cattle dog are one of the most energetic dog breeds so they can get easily bored if they are not given ample exercise combined with mental stimulation. The Australian Cattle dog needs a regular job or activity to keep them busy and out of trouble! They excel at most dog sports and have a tendency to enjoy learning different tricks and solving puzzles!

The Australian Cattle Dog is one of the longest living dog breeds. They have bags of energy to burn and they will be running around in your lives for up to to 16 years!

Also, the Australian Cattle dog is one of our favorite herding dog breeds in the world!

Is your dog breed featured in the our “Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)” list? Let us know in the comment section below.

Many of these dogs also feature in our other posts so why not read them below!

Top 10 Most Loyal Dog Breeds for Your Home

Top 10 Best Dogs for Beginners and First Time Dog Owners

Top 10 Most Energetic Dog Breeds for Active People

Top 10 Dog Breeds for Kids and Families

Is My Dog Depressed? – What To Do If Your Dog Seems Sad and Tired

Top 10 Favorite Small Dog Breeds to Keep You Company

Top 10 Least Active Dog Breeds for Lazy People

Top 10 Best Dog Breeds for Seniors and Older People

Top 10 Best Dog Breeds for Apartments and Smaller Living Spaces

Top 10 Longest Living Dog Breeds to Fill Your Home With Love

Top 10 Best Dog Breeds for Protection and To Keep You Safe

Top 10 Favorite Medium Dog Breeds That Encompass The Best of Both Worlds

Top 10 Favorite Large Dog Breeds for Any Adventure

Top 10 Small Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds for People Who Suffer From Allergies

Top 10 Working Dog Breeds to Help With Those Tasks

Top 10 Herding Dog Breeds for Active Families

Why Does My Dog Do That? An Answer to The Most Googled Questions of 2020

Helpful Tips to Follow When Introducing Dogs

New Puppy Checklist to Help You Ease Your New Companion Into Your Home

How To Build a Dog’s Confidence In A Shy or Fearful Dog

Ways to Recognize Stress in Dogs To Help Them Through a Tough Time

Top 10 Big Fluffy Dog Breeds That Are The Same As A Real Life Teddy Bear

Top 10 Terrier Dog Breeds to Keep You Entertained

Why Does My Dog Run Away and How to Stop Them

Dog Body Language Guide: How to Read Your Dog Like a Pro

How to Train Your Dog to Play So You Can Have Hours Of Fun

Top 10 Dog Breeds for Cold Weather Adventures and Activities

Top 10 Gassiest Dog Breeds

Top 10 Worst Dogs for Kids and Families

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