Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds List and Information

My Dog is Smarter Than Your Dog

We know that our dog is definitely the smartest dog in world, it’s just that not everyone else realizes it. While all dogs are smart, some dog breeds are inherently better able to learn and learn quicker than others. Generally speaking, the average dog intelligence is about that of a 2-year-old human and the smarter dogs, those on my list, are said to be equivalent to a 2 ½ year old child. From my research, using reports from veterinary professionals and studies on the intelligence of dog breeds, these 10 dogs are the “Top Dogs” in the class.

The Border Collie

Black and white border collie.
Black and white border collie. | Source

The Border Collie

1. Border Collie – Time and time again, the Border Collie has ranked as number one. They are hardworking dogs with an excellent work ethic. They were specifically bred for the intelligence and obedience in the English-Scottish border regions and are excellent herders. Reportedly, the smartest dog in the world, is a border collie by the name of “Chaser” who can understand more than 1,000 English words. She not only understands nouns and verbs, but also some prepositional phrases.

German Shephard

The German Shepherd

2. German Shepherd – Originally bred in Karlsruhe, Germany, they were used as sheep herding dogs due to their intelligence and trainability. Because of the ease of trainability, they are excellent for use as police dogs, guard dogs and military dogs. They have a keen sense of smell are have found underground mines and has leaks as far underground as 15 feet. Because many German shepherds are trained as guard dogs, they can also be found on the list of most aggressive dog breeds.



3. Poodle – The poodle breed was standardized in France but actually originated in Germany, where it was known as the Pudelhund, which means “water dog”. They were bred as water retrieving dogs. Their water repellant, curly dense hair was important in keeping them warm when in the cold waters of Germany. They are considered “sissy” dogs by many, but poodles have won many awards in dog shows and show a high level of intelligence.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

4. Golden Retriever – Originally bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century, they were bred from crossing water spaniels with already existing retrievers. This created a breed that were excellent in retrieving birds from both land and water. They learn commands quickly and are very obedient. They have what is called a “soft mouth”. This basically means that they retrieve fowl without doing damage to the bird.

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher

5. Doberman Pinscher – It is believed that the Doberman pinscher originated in Germany around the early 1900s. It is said that a tax collector, but the name of Louis Dobermann, needed a guard dog to accompany him as he collected taxes from unwilling tax payers. The Doberman is easily trained and quickly remembers what he has learned. They have excellent endurance and speed and have excelled in training as police and guard dogs.

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog

6. Shetland Sheepdog – Affectionately known as the “Sheltie”, they were bred as herding dogs. The actual origin of the Sheltie is a bit indecisive, but it is believed they are a descendant of the Scottish collie and the King Charles spaniel. They were used to herd the diminutive sheep on the Shetland Island, thus their name. They are highly intelligent and hardworking, loyal dogs.


Labrador Retriever

7. Labrador Retriever – This highly intelligent dog breed has been voted as the most popular dog in the US, Australia, Canada, the UK, New Zealand as well as the US for several consecutive years. Brought to England in the early 1800s they were bred primarily as game retrievers for land as well as water. They are quick to learn commands and retain the information quickly. They are very loyal dogs and love to please their owners.



8. Papillon – Papillon is the French word for butterfly. The fringe on the ears are said to resemble the wings of a butterfly, thus its name. Papillon have an easy time learning tricks and commands. They have a high energy level and are very playful. They are very good with children and enjoy learning and showing off their new tricks. A Papillon by the name of “Kirby” brought fame and attention to this breed by winning the prestigious “Best in Show” at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show and by taking the World Dog Show in Helsinki, Finland along with the Royal Invitational in Canada in 1998. They excel in obedience and agility.



9. Rottweiler – The Rottweiler is one of the descendants of the Roman drover dogs. They get their name from a small town in Germany, Rotweil, where they were known as Rottweiler Metzgerhund, which means Rotweil Butcher’s dog. These dogs were used as herders until the railway became the best way of moving cattle. The dogs were also used to pull carts filled with butchered meat to the market. The butchers would also tie their bags of money around the dog’s neck to protect it from thieves. Due to their higher than average intelligence, they are used as search and rescue dogs, guide dogs and police dogs.

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

10. Australian Cattle Dog – This dog is a breed of herding dogs that originated in Australia to herd cattle through rugged terrain. They herd by nipping at the heels of the cattle, thus were nicknamed, “Heelers”. They are very energetic and intelligent and respond well to challenging training. They are very agile dogs and do well in obstacle courses, they also excel in obedience competitions.


Of course a dog’s training and treatment is an important factor, but these 10 dog breeds are one of the most easily trained. If you are looking to get a dog with a high level of intelligence, here are your top 10. If you already have one of these dogs, you can safely brag that your dog is one of the smartest dogs in the world!

Take our poll and see which dog seems to be the most popular.

If you were looking for a highly intelligent dog, which one of these dogs would be your choice?

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More by this Author


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 8 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

We don't have to tell him he was right! LOL I don't know where the Great Dane fits in, but I have heard that they are very intelligent dogs.

I've almost always had dogs and cats, but my last dog didn't like cats so when my last kitty died, I didn't get another one.

Yes I do think the Australia Cattle dog looks a lot like a fox. I think it is that narrow muzzle.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope all is well with you and yours! :)

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 8 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, Patricica! I have heard some of those "fish stories" about someone's pup and yes, you do have to wonder! Heinz 57 pups are really some of the best dogs ever. I know our lab has us trained and she is soooo spoiled! Thank you so much for stopping by once again and I always appreciate your "angels"! I hope you and yours have a wonderful summer! :)

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 8 months ago from Central Florida

Interesting article, Sheila. My ex-husband says Border Collies are the greatest and smartest dogs in the world. Although I got sick of hearing him go on about them, I guess he was right.

I wonder where Great Danes rank on this list? I had one in high school and loved him to death. Best dog I've ever known. (As a grown up I've always had cats and still do.)

The Australian Cattle dog looks very much like a fox, don't you think?

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 8 months ago from sunny Florida

I love the heading you have 'my dog is smarter than your dog.' How clever. Some do get into those bragging matches ...and then proceed to tell some of those stories usual relegated to the 'fish story' category.

You certainly shared some interesting facts about these lovely creatures. I have a Heinz 57 variety pup and adore her. And she is very S-M-A-R-T!!!

She has ME trained.

Take care of you


Angels are on the way another time this day to you ps

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 8 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, Deb! I appreciate you stopping by! I hope you are having a good spring! :)

aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 8 months ago from Stillwater, OK

Great info that was quite to the point. I have been acquainted with several dogs in these breeds and was impressed with their insight.

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 9 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Hello, Audrey. I'm sure she is very smart, but I know she has an excellent nose. Both these dog breeds are known for having an extremely keen sense of smell. :)

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 9 months ago from California

So interesting! I have a mixed breed--shepherd and hound--I think she managed to get the best of both breeds--she is as smart as a whip--but then I am biased

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 9 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, norlawrence. Dogs area one of my favorite topics, they are truly "mans best friend". I appreciate your kind comment. HubPages is a bit different than most writing venues but I believe it is the best.

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 9 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Hello, Linda. Thank you so much for your very kind comment. It is nice to meet you as well! :)

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 9 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

I'm glad to see that your favorite breed is on the list! German shepherds are such good dogs! Thank you for stopping by and commenting! Have a great day! :)

DDE profile image

DDE 9 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I like to have a German Shepherd they are smart and know how to safeguard a home. My neighbor has one.

norlawrence profile image

norlawrence 9 months ago from California

Great article. I love articles about dogs. I have submitted a few to Hub Pages but they are not as great as your. I am still trying to find my way around this site. It is a lot different than most. Keep up the good work.

Linda Robinson60 profile image

Linda Robinson60 9 months ago from Cicero, New York

Hello Sheila loved your hub on dogs. It was packed with an abundance of helpful information for any one interested and fascinated with the top most intelligent breeds. You thoroughly covered the topic. So nice meeting you. Linda

Sam Shepards profile image

Sam Shepards 9 months ago from Europe

Nice to see my favorite breed the german shepherd in the list! And yes indeed border collies are insanely smart. I've also seen my shepherd do some amazing feeds during the years. Tracking, finding home again via a route they've never been before etc.

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 9 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

I have always had both cats and dogs. My last two dogs would not let a cat come around. I have really missed having a cat. We recently lost our Siberian husky, Meisha, to canine diabetes and old age. Our yellow lab is getting older too. I think I am going "pet free" for a while. I can't take the heart break! Thank you for stopping by! :)

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 9 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

LOL, Bill! I would know that even if you hadn't told me. I enjoy your sense of humor. Thank you for stopping by! :)

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 9 months ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you, Faith Reaper! I am also partial to labs. We have had our yellow lab, Sadie, for about 12 years now and have always thought she was a very smart dog.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 9 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Shelia.....Great Hub!! As I clicked on to read, my thought was, "If shelia has listed the Border Collie as No. 1, I know she's an expert who knows what she's talking about !!"

My first experience with BC's was several years ago when I brought a pedigree BC home as my baby. I had educated myself on the breed and believed I was all set. Huge mistake! Border Collies are absolutely wonderful OVERLY intelligent, loving and quite active dogs.

I fell in love with my "Taz," and he blew my mind day after day. I am not exaggerating when I say that "he" was like living with another human (only smarter!) No matter what people can read or be told about border collies, they really can't grasp the big picture all about this breed until they own one....(well excuse me, that's wrong....."until one owns you!) LOL.

I was his Mommy for 7 years when quite sadly & unexpectedly I was forced to find my baby a new family. It was a situation at the time beyond my control. I found him a "perfect" family and ideal home. I know he is happy & healthy and being a good boy. The couple who have him knew that I was devastated & have been so thoughtful, sending me notes & photos of my baby a very handsome grown up. I even received a picture of him visiting Santa!! I miss him terribly and know for sure that a visit would be a very foolish thing to I just have to deal with it.

I love your entire hub, but of course I had to go on and on about my Border Collie. (I did write a hub about BC's)

I hope that people will learn about this breed fully! BC's are a very unique dog and not for everyone to bring home. I'm tweeting this!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 9 months ago from USA

I've always loved German Shepards and Malamutes because of several good ones I've known (neighbors' pets). One of these days I hope to get a shelter dog. I've always had cats.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

I will conclude from reading this list that our two dogs are stupid. LOL It just confirms my suspicions, so thank you!

And I'm kidding of course!

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 9 months ago from southern USA

What an interesting hub! I am partial to Labs because they are the dog breed I've had throughout my life, and I do know they are highly intelligent.

Thank you for sharing this list. Dogs are amazing creatures ...we can learn a lot from them no doubt.

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