The 25 Smartest Dog BreedsReading Time: 5 minutes
Is your dog smart? Sure, they may know basic commands like sit, stay, and fetch, but how intelligent are they really? Can they intuitively read your mood, know your voice intonations, and do tricks that go above and beyond the norm?
Check out these 25 smartest dog breeds in the world
We’re talking about dogs that can access doors and wedge them open with their puppy paws. Yeah, that kind of smart.
If you’re the brainy type who wants an equally cunning companion, you must check out this list of the 25 smartest dog breeds. These dogs may be adorable, but they have brains to match.
Are you curious to know if your pooch is considered the most intelligent dog breed?
25. Standard Schnauzers
Here’s a breed that you might not guess has great intelligence (but totally does), the Standard Schnauzer. This scruffy-looking dog has a protective, possessive streak, so once you become one of their favorite people, you’re in for life. These pups are also very ambitious and are always ready to act at a moment’s notice, making them incredibly reliable pets for all sorts of families. Try teaching your Standard Schnauzer some fun new tricks to see how far you can stretch their brains. That’ll be the favorite part of their day!
24. Border Collies
Collies, in general, are quite intelligent animals, but let’s shine the spotlight on one breed in particular, Border Collies. Like many herding dogs before them, Border Collies are among the most intelligent dog breeds. Not only that, but they’re hard workers, and will do anything it takes to make their humans happy. Pair that with their great instincts, and Border Collies are easily very smart dogs. There are so many color variations of Border Collie out there, so you certainly have your pick.
If you haven’t heard of the Vizsla before, you might want to have this dog on your radar. This is another contender for the most intelligent dog breed. Hailing all the way from Hungary, these dogs may look rather plain, what with their single-color coat, long ears and snout, and tall, short-haired body, but their brains are quite extraordinary. These exotic pooches were bred as watchdogs, so they’ll keep the whole family safe. With their protective instincts, they must be quite wise as well.
Bloodhounds have their circle of people and that’s it. It’s difficult but not impossible to introduce strangers to that circle, so be patient at first. These dogs, although sweet and loving, have an air of independence that often makes them yearn for adventure. They have to sate their curiosity about the world around them, so make sure to let your dog explore when you’re taking them out on walks. Bloodhounds may have a strange look to them, but you’ll love their smarts.
A lot of the dogs on this list so far have been sizeable dogs, often mid-sized to large canines. What if you want a smaller dog that can cuddle up in your lap? The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, which is totally adorable, always has its little brain running on overdrive. These dogs are noted for their listening skills. They also tend to learn new things pretty quickly. Not only that, but you can practically put them in your pocket and take them anywhere.
20. Bernese Mountain Dogs
The polar opposite of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi (or any breed of Corgi, for that matter) is the Bernese Mountain Dog. These huge pups call the Swiss Alps their home away from home, the mountainous region they’re named after. Although they may look imposing, these dogs are giant softies, and love to love and make their humans happy. Underneath all that fur and goofiness is a pooch that can think fast and jump to action if needed. Having one of these pups around is always a great idea.
19. German Shorthaired Pointers
German Shorthaired Pointers are another breed that live up to their name. With their long head, flat ears, short fur, and stumpy tail, these dogs certainly look smart. Yet what’s going on in their head? As it turns out, a whole lot. Although these pups are considered excitable canines, they can concentrate when they need to and will gladly learn all the commands you teach them. They’re also great snugglers, even though they might not look like it.
Like a mix between a Corgi and a Papillion, Keeshonds are small, fluffy, and utterly precious. Don’t let their cute looks fool you, though; these dogs have brains as much as beauty. They catch on quick, so don’t try to pull any fast ones on this pup. You’ll have no issues training them, and Keeshond’s will retain the lessons they’ve learned for years to come. These dogs are also wonderful listeners, making them easy for beginners and seasoned dog owners alike.
Although a little less obedient than the other dogs we’ve covered on this list so far, the cool-looking Puli is another smart dog worth adopting. Coming all the way from Hungary, Pulis have fur that’s knotted and rope-like. These pups can be white, black, or gray, giving you plenty of variety. No matter which color you choose, expect a sharp dog with great herding instincts that can do plenty of tasks when taught.
16. Cocker Spaniels
In between those long, fluffy, floppy ears of a Cocker Spaniel is a lot of smarts. The English Cocker Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel are often both just referred to as a Cocker Spaniel, with few differences in appearance or temperament. These sweet-looking dogs are always eager to learn and expand their intelligence. If you adopt one of these lovely canines, make sure you teach them more than the standard fare of sit, lie down, and stay. They’ll welcome the mental challenge!
15. Airedale Terriers
Terriers of all sorts are renowned for their canine canniness. You’d probably recognize the Airedale Terrier if you saw one. Sometimes going by the names Waterside Terrier or Bingley Terrier, Airedales are long, tall dogs with a short tail and pronounced snout. They possess great confidence and friendliness, making them a wonderful companion. Airedales stay alert to their surroundings at all times and will be the first to pipe up if they sense trouble is afoot. These dogs are also quite spunky and are full of personality.
The Samoyed is such a beautiful dog, one that’s loved for its bountiful fluffy fur. These white pooches have oversized bodies, short faces, and rounded tails like a Shiba Inu’s. While they may be a little tougher to train than some of the dogs on this list (they can be stubborn at first, and they tend to have a playful streak a mile wide), Samoyeds are incredibly social. They want to be around people and do what it takes to make their humans happy. Their alert, peppy nature makes them great watchdogs.
A distinct-looking dog, a Dalmatian is white with a smattering of black spots. This mid-sized canine is more than just adorable, but also a fantastic pet for almost any household. Although these dogs aren’t hypoallergenic, they love to run around in the backyard, and they get along very well with many people. Besides their fun-loving nature, Dalmatians are also all-knowing dogs, which probably dates back to their long history in Dalmatia, Croatia when they served as carriage dogs.
12. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
A unique pick for sure, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever may be cute, but he’s got a quick-witted personality to boot. As you can imagine from this Retriever’s name, hunting is what this dog does best. Yes, they also come from Nova Scotia. Although on the smaller side, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Terriers, sometimes called Tollers, have all the great traits of a hunter: patience, dedication, alertness, and basic smarts. They won’t necessarily drop dead animals at your feet, but you may want to supervise them when they roam outside just to be sure.
11. Labrador Retriever
Here’s another Retriever with smarts that you’re surely much more familiar with than the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Terrier. Labrador Retrievers are man’s best friend for a reason. This is a great family dog that, despite its large size, is a gentle giant. These dogs live for meeting the commands of their master and earning a nice head pat or belly rub. If you already have a Golden Retriever, take him or her outside and try teaching it a new trick. You’ll be amazed at how much this breed loves to please and will pick up on new commands.
Much like the toy breeds covered before it, the Pomeranian may be small, but it’s quite smart, too! These dogs sadly have a reputation for being yappy, but if you can get past that, there’s a whole lot you’ll surely enjoy. For instance, these pooches love being loved, and they’re sweet, energetic, and playful. They have quite animated facial expressions that hint at their mood, which adds to their braininess.
9. Shetland Sheepdogs
Do you love Collies? If so, give the Shetland Sheepdog a try. These dogs are similar in looks and temperament to Collies, and they boast astuteness, too. They have a herding background, which means they’re dedicated to the tasks at hand and will always try their best to excel. These dogs have longer fur and a coat that’s not as soft to the touch as you would think by looking at it. Still, they’re a great choice for a four-legged friend.
Looking for the most intelligent dog? A Schipperke is high on the list. Hailing from Belgium, this breed is born with a natural intuitiveness for life. They often enjoy roaming to learn more about their humans, themselves, and everything else. This all adds up to their monumental smarts. Did we mention they’re also good protectors? Their fur is almost always black, which means your Schipperke will stand out.
7. Doberman Pinschers
The unique-looking Doberman Pinscher may not be your first guess for smartest dog, but you’d be surprised. These pups have, in the past, worked as war dogs and police dogs, so they know a thing or two about combat on the frontlines. Not only that, but they take commands very well, especially in life-threatening situations. They’d watch over your family and protect everyone in their day-to-day. You can’t ask for a better companion than that!
6. Australian Cattle Dog
It’s the herding background of the Australian Cattle Dog that makes it one of the smartest dog breeds in the world. These canines were bred for listening and behaving according to their owners, which are traits they still possess today. They’re docile and reliable to the end. Besides their great smarts, Australian Cattle Dogs are also known for their energy and agility. These bigger dogs would make a great companion.
The humble Weimaraner also has a hunting background. You may find your Weimaraner puppy seems a bit stubborn at first, but once this dog warms up to you, you can trust them for life. They possess great intelligence, breaking free of enclosures and even finding their way past closed doors. You won’t have to worry about your Weimaraner running far though, as their loyalty and sociability means they’ll always want to spend time with their favorite person, you.
Rottweilers have a reputation of being ferocious, vicious dogs. If you give this breed a chance, though, you’ll probably be surprised at just how intelligent they really are. They will love you fiercely and have an unbreakable loyalty to their families. Besides that, Rotties are great listeners and love being given tasks, even if it’s a simple job like fetching a stick. These pups are often favored as therapy dogs, service dogs, and even police dogs.
3. German Shepherds
The faithful German Shepherd is as smart as he is loveable and loyal (and that’s a lot, in case you didn’t know). Much like Rottweilers, German Shepherds are renowned for their smarts, enough that they often work as disability dogs and search and rescue dogs. They use their super sniffers and brains to figure their way into and out of many a situation. If you own one of these dogs, make sure to keep them mentally stimulated with puzzle toys.
Small and cute, you wouldn’t necessarily think the Papillion possesses a high IQ, but it does. Only growing to about nine or 10 inches, these adorable handheld pups have existed since at least the 16th century. It was then they were called Dwarf Spaniels, a name the Papillion has thankfully outgrew today. These sociable dogs have always worked alongside people, and their friendliness makes them a great choice for pet owners looking to adopt a new four-legged friend.
Another contender for the smartest dog breed is the Poodle. Again, don’t be fooled by their regal looks; Poodles are quite intelligent. They tend to pick up on new tricks pretty fast, so you can train them to learn a whole myriad of commands. It’s no wonder they’re known for their trainability. These dogs are popular in dog shows, not only because of their smarts but because they have plenty of energy for playing and running. Poodles are certainly more than what meets the eye!
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