Smartest Dog Breeds You Can Own

Picture of a Border Collie

There is no question that dogs are an incredibly intelligent species. But when it comes to pooches who want to learn, there are certainly some breeds who are innately smarter than others.  Often some of the most highly intelligent breeds are breeds that resist training simply because they also are in possession of an independent spirit, making them more interested in learning things of their own choosing than what you have on your agenda. If you’re looking for your next great obedience star, you will want to consider breeds that are not only smart but that also are known to have the desire to please you, making them the ideal training partner. But if you like more of a challenge, there are some highly intelligent breeds who will put your training skills to the test!

Finding the Ultimate Smart Dog for Your Family

Any dog can be trained, but there are some dogs that are easier to train than others. While this can come down to that dog’s unique personality, there are some dog breeds that thrive when training and learning new skills. With so much diversity between the breeds who top the charts when it comes to intelligence levels, you will be spoiled for choice. Whether you prefer a dog with a high drive, a stubborn streak, or a more gentle nature, you will be sure to find the perfect smart pooch to join your family from the breeds who top our list.

Here is our list of the top ten smartest dog breeds for your consideration:

Border Collie

The Border Collie is a dog that was bred to do a specific job. A herding breed, Border Collies possess the stamina and drive to work for long periods helping farmers to round up their sheep and livestock. A breed known for its incredible intelligence, the Border Collie thrives when allowed to exercise his body and his brain. You will find the Border Collie is an easy breed to train, and he loves nothing more than to please his people. This is not a dog breed that excels in a sedentary lifestyle. To keep your Border Collie happy, you will need to provide him with regular mental and physical stimulation. Border Collies are particularly suited to dog performance sports including flyball, agility, obedience, and Rally-O.

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever bears the distinction of being the fourth smartest dog breed in the world (the #1 breed being the Border Collie). The Golden Retriever is a natural athlete who possesses the intelligence and work ethic to shine in a number of activities including land and water retrieval, scent detection, and therapy work. This dog breed is gentle of nature and is exceptionally friendly. Easy to work with and with a love of learning, you will have a ball training your Golden Retriever.


The Poodle is a dog who is much more than just a pretty face! One of the most intelligent dog breeds, the Poodle can easily be trained to do a number of different activities from hunting to retrieving to scent detection work and more. This breed is not known to possess incredibly high drive but benefits from regular physical activity and games to stimulate his brain. You will find your Poodle loves to please you, making him the ideal pooch to train and have fun with.

Shetland Sheepdog

Don’t be fooled by the Shetland Sheepdog’s small size. In the heart of this diminutive breed lies a dog with a fierce drive to work. The Shetland Sheepdog is an extremely hardy breed whose original purpose was to herd his owner’s sheep. Though many Shetland Sheepdogs are still working dogs today, others are simply much-loved family pets and could benefit from some fun activities to do. Shetland Sheepdogs excel at nearly any competitive dog sport.

Doberman Pinscher

Bred to serve as guard dogs, the sensitive Doberman Pinscher is a breed that is known to be highly intelligent. Doberman Pinschers love to learn new things and bond deeply to their people. They are known to be loyal, loving, and friendly by nature. The Doberman excels at agility as well as obedience and thrives when training and competing with his fave person.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a breed that loves to be active. This dog possesses great intelligence and makes a fearsome combination when working with an owner of equal intelligence and training skill. The German Shepherd is an excellent competitor in many different sports from Schutzhund to obedience and much, much more. A dog breed with excellent scent detection capabilities, German Shepherds are also naturals at tracking which makes them an excellent choice for police work or military training.

 Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are a breed that not only possess natural intelligence, they were also born with a strong desire to learn. Like the Border Collie and the Shetland Sheepdog, the Australian Shepherd is a herding breed who thrives when given a job to do. You will want to keep this pooch’s brain well-occupied with brain games and training exercises to keep your dog mentally satisfied.

Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier is the only breed on the list that is not only smart, he can also be incredibly stubborn. A high drive terrier bred to assist his owners on fox hunts, the Jack Russell Terrier benefits from a job to do. In the absence of provided physical and mental activity, this terrier will create fun of his own…and you invariably won’t like what he gets up to. The Jack Russell Terrier excels at nearly every sport, but it takes a savvy owner to train this pooch. The best approach is to allow the Jack Russell to think that the training exercise was his idea in the first place!


Papillons are not only a smart dog breed, they are also incredibly fast, making them naturals at timed events such as agility runs. The Papillon is extremely responsive to training and shines when learning and showing off his obedience commands. You will find this little energetic breed is happy, playful, and eager to do whatever you’ve got in mind.


Considered to be a power breed, the Rottweiler is one dog is not only brawn, he also has brains to back his body up. The Rottweiler is a breed who enjoys training if he is treated with respect and gentleness by his trainer. If you plan to add a Rottweiler to your family, it is important to do your homework and select one from a breeder known for producing solid temperaments to ensure a happy, well-rounded family pet.

Ready to find a pooch with the smarts to have some real fun with?

Consider one of our top 10 smartest dog breeds. With so many to choose from, you’re sure to find your perfect fit!

On the opposite end of the spectrum, here is our list of dumbest dog breeds. according to the measurement of working and obedience intelligence.



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