Top 10 Smartest Dogs

Dogs are known as man’s best friend, though we can’t always say that’s true. If you have ever owned a dog, you probably encountered those days where you have a slight bit of regret for getting the dog. From chewed up shoes to messy carpet to washing a smelly dog that only seems to smell worse after, dogs can be a pain.

Some say that the intelligence of a dog all depends on how well its owner trained it. Others believe it’s all about the genes…well, breed. While it may be a combination of both, here’s a look at the top 10 smartest dog breeds, in case you’re in need of a Dogs for Dummies Handbook:

10 Australian Cattle Dog

No you don’t have to live in Australia to encounter this dog. These dogs generally grow to be 30-50lbs. Australian Cattle Dog’s are known for their intelligence, especially when it comes to being able to train them to herd in cattle (this is where the name comes from if you didn’t catch it.) They have also been trained to be “biting” dogs. Don’t be scared, unless you’re training this dog to bite you. Australian Cattle Dogs are trained to bite cattle (not too hard) to keep them moving. These dogs have been herding cattle since the 19th century and today they still do just that. Australian Cattle Dogs are very active and love having a task at hand.

9 Rottweiler

Better known as the “Rottie,” Rottweilers are known to be very vicious, mean dogs that can take down a human. Speaking of humans, Rottweilers can weigh as much as a petite sized female; about 110lbs in fact. This breed of dog originates out of Germany but was used in the Roman Empire. Rottweilers are sometimes used as police dogs because of the strong jaw and teeth that they have. Rotties can take you down! In the olden days, they were used to carry wood and other large heavy goods to markets and houses. If you’re looking to train a dog to protect you and all of your (precious) belongings, the Rottie is definitely the way to go.

8 Papillon

This breed of dog is probably one of the cutest and smartest you’ll find. Papillons are able to show that cute things can be smart too. This breed also proves that small things (brains) do come in small packages. Papillons can weigh up to 11lbs and can weigh as little as 3lbs. These dogs are very charming and have always been a symbol of elegance. During the Renaissance, these dogs were adored by royal courts and the aristocrats of the time. They always proved to be good watch dogs because of their keen sense of hearing. Make the slightest sound and the Papillon’s ears will be up faster than you can say the name. King Henry II is said to have spend crowns upon crowns on his own Papillons.

7 Labrador Retriever

This is one of the most intelligent as well as one of the most popular breeds of dog in the world. The Labrador Retriever is an amazing breed of dog that offer many different services. The breed originates from Newfoundland and was trained to hunt waterfowl. As time has passed, Labs have been introduced to more and more jobs. Many of these dogs are used in the police force as bomb sniffing or drug sniffing dogs. Any dog that can be trained to do this is most definitely smart. These dogs are also used as rescue dogs. Many are trained to help the disabled, especially the blind. Labs can be trained to lead a human around while ignoring any type of distraction. The Labrador Retriever is a loving, obedient, and patient dog that can be trained to do almost anything.

6 Shetland Sheepdog

Though not one of the most popular dogs around, the Shetland Sheepdog is a very smart dog. Some owners of this breed of dog claim that they are just as smart as a human is. Shelties originated out of Scotland. Sporting a furry two-layered coat and definitely not the toughest looking dog around, Shelties are used to herd sheep. Since the breed can be both big and small in size, some of these dogs are used to keep pests and smaller animals out of gardens. Shetland Sheepdog’s are generally very hyper, but they have a great sense of hearing. If anyone ever shows up at your door or a car pulls into the driveway, you can expect to hear a bark from this dog.

5 Doberman Pinscher

his breed of dog comes in right at the middle of the list. The Doberman Pinscher is another German breed to make the list. In the past, these dogs were trained to be police dogs, watch dogs, and guard dogs. In the 1800s, men were looking for a dog that was loving and loyal as well as tough and ferocious when necessary. This is exactly where the Doberman Pinscher fits in. Even though they can be trained to be ferocious, many of these dogs are very gentle and docile. Some have even been used in hospitals to help patients that are undergoing therapy. Slightly vicious by nature, you can expect that this breed will protect you.

4 Golden Retriever

Often confused with the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retrievers are also very popular dogs that seem to be perfect for a family. In the past up to today, these dogs are man’s companion, especially for those who hunt. This breed can be easily trained to find and bring back waterfowl or game that has been shot. The dog’s soft mouth allows it to bring back unharmed game to its owner. Aside from being a hunting dog, Golden Retrievers can be used as rescue dogs, drug sniffing dogs, and guide dogs. This breed is very patient, which makes it that much easier to train. If you ever find a dog sports competition online or on the television, you are sure to see a Golden Retriever competing.

3 German Shepherd

Rin Tin Tin! This is the one breed of dog that you can say actually looks tough and mean. Looks are most definitely deceiving because the German Shepherd is one of the most lovable breed of dog you will ever come across. Loving or not, these dogs can be trained to do things that humans can’t. Today, these dogs are usually trained to be police dogs, rescue dogs, and some are even able to work with the military. These dogs are so bright that the Army and Marines have allowed them to be used in overseas activity. German Shepherds are very obedient dogs as well as protective. In the past, German Shepherds were used as herd dogs but today they are used in more “higher up positions,” so to speak. The German Shepherd is one of the smartest dogs around.

2. Poodle

urprised? You probably aren’t the only one. No your eyes aren’t going bad. The Poodle is number two on the list. Don’t let the fluffy, curly, white coat fool you. This breed of dog is absolutely brilliant. Though you have probably never seen it, Poodles are used as hunting dogs as well as watch and rescue dogs. The Poodle (sounds like puddle doesn’t it?) is also used as a water dog. Poodles come in all sizes, but even the Toy Poodle can be used to hunt birds. Poodles love to be around people and are very protective. Though this breed only weighs up to 8lbs, a mighty heart can come out of such a pretty looking dog.

1 Border Collie

Topping off the list is the Border Collie. This dog lives to work, literally. Though it may seem only us humans have a lifetime full of hard work, this breed of dog needs something to do to be happy. The Border Collie is used as a herding dog and has since grown to be used as a sporting dog as well. The breed is known for its agility, speed, and obedience. It is also known for it’s ability to learn new tricks quickly. These dogs love being able to work next to your side. Collies are especially great at dog sport competitions. You will generally see them competing in Flyball and disc games.



35 Responses to “Top 10 Smartest Dogs”
  1. Rhea says:

    My Lhasa apso is pretty brainy.

  2. Socrates says:

    Maybe you should learn how to write before you start posting on public forums. This article is pathetic.

  3. christine says:

    great dogs!! lets not overlook the amazing mutts too!!!!

  4. Liz says:

    Jack Russell Terriers are among the smartest — sorry, rappin’ !

  5. Brian says:

    You rated the cattle dog at 10? Besides the intro, which showed the author knows nothing about dogs and probably doesn’t even like them, the order of the list is absurd. The ACD should be ranked number 2 and the poodle number 3. At least you got the Border Collie right.

    Better luck next time

  6. james says:

    what about pitbulls?

  7. Mike Peltier says:

    We have two border collies (brothers from the same litter), and we are constantly being suprised at how smart they are. It’s fun to see their breed top the list. We run with them multiple times every day, and most of the time they are off leash and rarely do they get out of sight of us (they are always hearding us).

  8. Jim says:

    Don’t forget about the Jack Russell Terriers!!!

  9. Janet says:

    The Red Kelpie is also a very intelliegent dog…

  10. Blithe says:

    My standard poodle is by far the smartest, most obedient dog I have ever been around. They are not low maintenance dogs, needing regular hair cuts and ear cleanings, but wow! She seems to learn by watching and listening to us rather than any regimented training we’ve done. Even when she was a puppy, she seemed to know instinctively that she could roughhouse with my 5 year old son, but had to be gentle with my 2 year old daughter. She’s an amazing dog!

  11. K. Green says:

    My god, can you possibly print more inaccuracies or perpetuate negative breed stereotypes?!? To correct just a few: neither Rotties or Dobies are “naturally viscious” ( they are both fairly dominant types and extremely protective/territorial), and Poodles come in three sizes (standard, miniature and toy), with both standard and mini topping 8lbs!

  12. Kate says:

    The list makes sense, but I think you ought to amend the description of the Rottweiler..they, like German Shepherds, can be extremely loveable and loving. Their viscious classification is unwarranted..they can be trained to be ferocious but their basic personality, if left alone, is much the same as any other large dog.

  13. Tara says:

    Shame on the author for claiming certain breeds to be “vicious.” NO breed standard asks for a dog to be vicious, and any reputable ethical breeder would never breed dogs to be vicious.
    And saying the poodle only weighs up to 8 pounds, not true. There are three sizes of poodles. Toys may be that small, but don’t forget the miniature and the standard sizes.

  14. judex says:

    Never met a Rottweiler that was any smart, but perhaps they are that and more. The key word is “perhaps”: There is nothing in this idiotic and shallow article- no evidence nor even a criteria of what counts as intelligence- that would support such a listing. Why should we be convinced? And why publish such uninformative crap about things we care about? Is it merely to catch (and waste) our attention?

  15. RRA says:

    My Dalmatians are pretty smart too!

  16. Moo says:

    Rotties are “known to be very vicious, mean dogs” ?? Geez, give them a break. Way to over-generalize. Some of them are trained to be attack dogs, but many of them are loving family companions. My rottie mix is only vicious to flies (he can catch them in mid-air); with my cats, my famiy, and the neighborhood tots he is friendliness personified.

  17. Pam says:

    you forgot the Australian shepherd. I know they are smarter than a lab. I’m on my second one and are easily the equal of the border collie.

  18. Matt says:

    the border collie ties with the australian shephard for the title of the smartest dog, where did it go? I have seen crosses of these two and they are good looking, medium sized dogs, and SMART!!!

  19. Heidi says:

    I’d put German Shepherds at #1!!
    I’ve always owned GSDs and I think they are amazing dogs.
    They aren’t for everyone ~ if you’re considering a GSD, do your homework. They need a lot of attention and can outsmart their owners. Some people are better off with the happy-go-lucky lab, but I’ll always be a GSD owner. Once you own one, no other breed can ever live up to the smarts or the love of a GSD.

  20. Chuck says:

    I beg your pardon…but Bulldogs and Boston Terriers are more intelligent than all of the above dogs. They can ride skateboards, open refrigerators, flush the toilet, make you laugh. If you don’t believe me go to and veiw the boards.

  21. Jason says:

    You guys got that right. Border Collies should be #1 everyone knows that they are so exceptionaly smart and their minds are always working. I think you guys missed a few spots though. Like right behind #1. The Australian Cattle Dog should’ve been right there at the top with the Border Collie. The breed is so smart, able to do things sometimes that almost seem unimaginable. Ever seen Skid Boot the Blue Heeler and his tricks….Nuff said

  22. Gary says:

    My Scottish Terrier is a smarty too!

  23. Greeko says:

    I am a proud owner of a Rottie and although I agree that this breed is one of the smartest, I have to say, I am bit upset with the lack of proven information of why this breed is in the top ten.

    The Rottweiler is a very fun loving dog, although he is very powerful and can be serious at times. Rottweilers can be very intimidating due to an undeserving reputation as a vicious and/or mean dog BUT they do extremely well in a family environment.
    Rottweilers are very affectionate and somewhat of a clown and do well with children if raised around them.

  24. Angelia says:

    the smartest dogs are the scotties

  25. teresa says:

    Pomerians are smart & cute

  26. Australian Shepherd IS #1 smartest dog! says:

    Where is the talented and agile AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD??!?!?!?! Hello? Increadibly smart dog and loyal companion….who are the judges and what are they smokin’?

  27. cris says:

    my westies and my silky were easily very very intelligent. so were my two yorkies. perception of an animal’s intelligence depends on the ability of the human to perceive intelligence in creatures other than two-legged rats.

    lady lydia puppideaux decided when i cleaned house on the weekends, that she should also pick up all of her toys and put them in one spot. she did that every weekend. and she listened to stories and watched tv as well as doing usual doggie things.

    puppy wooster was leader of the pack and disciplined her crew for infractions such as making too much noise — she intensely disliked gratuitous barking. teddy bear routinely hovered over the dogs when they were new to the family, cuddling them, comforting them at night when it was dark and washing them — a male dog doing mama puppy routines… and the dogs divided up the doggie routines assigning them without my interference to a given dog, so duties were equally distributed…

    dogs think. dogs remember. dogs remember being puppies. they remember their moms, and siblings. and they remember the smells of their whelping box… they deserve respect as well as love.

  28. Diane Ricco says:

    I have an Anatolian Shepherd who is also rather intelligent. He may even be related to the Australian Cattle Dog as they have the same black around their eyes. Not too many people have even seen an Anatolian Shepherd. Google them.

  29. tim huber says:

    cocker spaniels are smarter than any of those breeds

  30. Stella says:

    there is no way to say that one breed is smarter than the other.. i know a border collie who is really dumb.. but a grate dog none the less, I have two Chihuahua’s wich most people think are the dumbest dogs out there.. but mine are so smart that it amazes me! I allways say don’t judge the breed all together! no two dogs are the same.. sure the breed has its characteristics but you can’t say that some breed’s are naturally vicious og naturally smarter than other breed’s!

    thank you,


    p.s. I apoligize if my engish is bad.. Im from Iceland 🙂

  31. Cleve says:

    Take a look at Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

  32. JMH says:

    I have owned German Shepards, Black Labs, Huskies, Mutts, Rotties, and Border Collies, as well as worked as a Vet Tech and dealt with a great many breeds. I have to say the Border Collies are the smartest I have encountered, after that I’d name the Caanan (a lessor known Pariah dog breed). I think it depends a bit on nature and a bit on nurture on how smart your dog is a lot of pure breeds have issues and can be quite mental because there has been so much inbreeding in their lines. My German Shepard for instance had seperation anxiety to the point where he would shake and drool if you touched the handle to the closet where all our coats were kept because he knew it meant we were going somewhere. But what disappoints me about this article is the lack of facts or reasons why you’re naming each breed smart or smarter and the lack of facts in describing some of the breeds. My rottie was extremely loving and gentle, my bf’s 2 year old could sit on her and take food from her mouth and my rottie never objected or growled or got aggressive. The issue with Rotties is they need socialization or they often get fear aggression. Unlike many other breeds Rotties (and several others) often display fear aggressively versus many other breeds which display fear submissively. Nurture is extremely important in these breeds as is understanding their fear and dominance issues but it does not mean they are naturally vicious dogs. You also have to work with a dog when they are young (just as you do with a human child) to stimulate their intelligence. If you just sit your dog in the corner and never interact or play or teach them they tend to grow rather simple minded just like a human would, but if you expose them to lots of stuff and teach and play with them especially as puppies they tend to grow up much more intelligent. Also being able to sniff drugs and the like doesn’t make the Lab smart, it just means they have a good nose and if you reward them for following or alerting you to certain smells by giving praise or food rewards you’re not working with their intelligence so much as their natural instincts (they are hunting dogs after all) and their love of approval. I was glad to see you at least got the Border Collies right but your article lacks thought, facts and any credibility otherwise.


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