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The smartest dogs – Top 10

The smartest dog breeds – Top 10

Although many people believe that they have the smartest dog in the world, this is not true. There are many breeds of dogs, and each of them has different character traits. Intelligence and obedience are qualities which nature has unevenly endowed dog breeds.

Dr. Stanley Coren in his book The Intelligence of Dogs, considered the gold standard for determining a dog’s intelligence.

Coren defines three aspects of dog intelligence:

  • instinctive
  • intelligence
  • adaptive intelligence
  • working and obedience intelligence.
The Smartest dogs Top 10

Instinctive intelligence refers to a dog’s ability to perform the tasks it was bred for, such as herding, pointing, fetching, guarding, or supplying companionship. Adaptive intelligence refers to a dog’s ability to solve problems on its own. Working and obedience intelligence refers to a dog’s ability to learn from humans.

Below is a Top 10 list containing the brightest dogs, which understanding new commands in fewer than 5 repetitions and obey the first command 95% of the time or better.

Check if your dog is one of the smartest breeds in the world.

The smartest dogs – Top 10

10. Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

A real soldier among dogs, that with its stubbornness, charisma, and endurance can tame even the most disobedient livestock. It can be equally stubborn in relation to human, but with the good approach of an owner, it turns out to be a devoted, loving companion and protector of the human herd…more


9. Rottweiler

Rottweiler, Rott, Rottie

Its strong personality can only be tamed by an equally strong personality of an owner and a trainer. A two-faced dog: it can love children, but it can also attack a stranger. Despite appearances, the Rottweiler is very demanding – however, patience will be rewarded with a devoted and loving giant… more


8. Papillon


One of the oldest European breeds, loved by the aristocracy. These dogs have ears that resemble the wings of a butterfly. Over decades, these dogs have been the favorites of women of nobility – it has been proven in many paintings. It is said that Marie Antoinette herself – the queen of France – went to her execution with a Papillion in her hands. What is so charming about Papillions today?… more


7. Labrador Retriever

Labrador retriever

Neither a dog, nor an otter, one might want to say. But there is a little truth in this saying, when it comes to Labradors – the personality of these dogs is compatible with their love for the water, a tail of an otter, and fin-like paws. As you can see, a Labrador is an animal born not only to be hugged and loved, but also to experience adventures… more


6. Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog

Although it has its roots in the North European Shetland, it is a rarity there nowadays. Despite a huge resemblance to the Rough Collie, it is not closely related to it originally. So it turns out, that the Shetland Sheepdog is a mysterious breed, full of contraries, but also fascinating and incredibly cute…more


5. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher

An animal with a noble appearance and distinguished behavior, that is at the same time an effective “bodyguard” of his owner’s property. In many films it is portrayed as a fierce protector with an aggressive attitude, that won’t hesitate to attack an aggressor. How much truth is in these depictions?… more


4. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

For many people, the golden retriever is the most beautiful and friendliest dog in the world. It loves its owner with all its heart, and it is itself quicksilver (although it’s “golden”). Despite resembling the Labrador, it has more delicate stature and longer hair. Swimming skills and high intelligence make golden retrievers appreciated in many areas of human life, from lifesaving, to field trials, to dock jumping and flyball… more


3. German Shepherd

German Shepherd

Famous K-9 or Inspector Rex is not, in fact, a fantasy of their creators – the German Shepherd shows a number of behaviors thanks to which it is great as a disciplinarian, but also as a friend… more


2. Poodle


Many people cultivate the stereotype that poodles are delicate, even jaded, dogs. However, the fact is that they belong to the most intelligent and friendliest dogs, which may be not indicated by their graceful walking and quite noble hair… more


1. Border Collie – the most intelligent dog

Border Collie – the most intelligent dog

All it takes to fall in love with these dogs, at first sight, is to watch at least one video on the Internet presenting the skills of this breed. Infinite energy, great charm, and huge intelligence make the Border Collie a unique dog, but at the same time – despite appearances – a very demanding one… more


The smartest dogs – Top 100

We hope that over 130 dog breeds classified on our list will help many future owners evaluate which breed will be the best for them, if they want to have a dog that is not only nice, but also incredibly clever and learns fast.

11Border Collie
33German Shepherd
44Golden Retriever
55Doberman Pinscher
66Shetland Sheepdog
77Labrador Retriever
1010Australian Cattle Dog (ACD)
1111Pembroke Welsh Corgi
1212Miniature Schnauzer
1313English Springer Spaniel
1414Belgian Shepherd Tervuren
1615Belgian Sheepdog
1917German Shorthaired Pointer
2018Flat-Coated Retriever
2118English Cocker Spaniel
2218Standard Schnauzer
2420Cocker Spaniel
2622Belgian Malinois
2722Bernese Mountain Dog
2924Irish Water Spaniel
3025Hungarian Vizsla
3126Cardigan Welsh Corgi
3227Chesapeake Bay Retriever
3427Yorkshire Terrier
3528Giant Schnauzer
3629Airedale Terrier
3729Bouvier des Flandres
3830Border Terrier
4031Welsh Springer Spaniel
4132Manchester Terrier
4334Field Spaniel
4534Australian Terrier
4634American Staffordshire Terrier
4734Gordon Setter
4834Bearded Collie
4935Cairn Terrier
5035Kerry Blue Terrier
5135Irish Setter
5236Norwegian Elkhound
5437Australian Silky Terrier
5537Miniature Pinscher
5637English Setter
5737Pharaoh Hound
5837Clumber Spaniel
5938Norwich Terrier
6140Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier
6240Bedlington Terrier
6340Smooth Fox Terrier
6441Curly Coated Retriever
6541Irish Wolfhound
6742Australian Shepherd
6943Finnish Spitz
7144Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
7244German Wirehaired Pointer
7344Black and Tan Coonhound
7444American Water Spaniel
7545Siberian Husky
7645Bichon Frise
7745King Charles Spaniel
7846Tibetan Spaniel
7946English Foxhound
8146American Foxhound
8346Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
8447West Highland Terrier
8547Scottish Deerhound
8748Great Dane
8949Staffordshire Bull Terrier
9050Alaskan Malamute
9251Chinese Shar-Pei
9351Wire Haired Fox Terrier
9452Rhodesian Ridgeback
9553Ibizan Hound
9653Welsh Terrier
9753Irish Terrier
9854Boston Terrier
10055Skye Terrier
10156Norfolk Terrier
10256Sealyham Terrier
10458French Bulldog
10559Griffon Bruxellois
10760Italian Greyhound
10861Chinese Crested
10962Dandie Dinmont Terrier
11062Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
11162Tibetan Terrier Japanese Chin
11262Lakeland Terrier
11363Old English Sheepdog
11464Great Pyrenees
11565Scottish Terrier
11665St. Bernard
11766Bull Terrier
11968Lhasa Apso
12170Shih Tzu
12271Basset Hound
12978English Bulldog
13180Afghan Hound


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  1. Why has the Jack Russell Terrier been omitted from the list of smartest dogs. As noted by one of your articles, it is considered one of the smartest/intelligent dogs available.

    1. The Jack Russell Terrier dogs did not participate in these tests and therefore they are not included in this list.

  2. See, a ‘smartest dog’ list is not complete without a Xoloitzcuintli in the #1 spot. No one ever takes this breed into consideration and it’s such a shame. I’ve known many people who’ve had Border Collies and Xolos and every one of them has said the Xolos are miles ahead of the Border Collies in the brains department. I do imagine it’s hard to get enough Xolos for any kind of study or test.

    1. Stanley Coren did not test with Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless Dog). However, any records related to the understanding of e.g. words refer to the Border Collie breed.

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