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5 Smartest Dog Breeds in the World

Updated on November 27, 2015

Almost all dog owners will swear by the smartness of his or her dog. Aficionados of a specific breed will only be too quick to point out some of the reasons why they believe their breed is one of the smartest. Sometimes being smart may not lie on what breed the animal is but in how willing it is to learn. Some experts even argue that smartness may depend on the attitude of the breed. In spite of this observation from various vets and canine experts, there are some breeds of dogs that are smart, eager to learn and able to put what they learned to good use. It is this combination that experts have used to come up with the top 5 of the world's smartest dog breeds. The list starts from number 5 to number 1.

5. The Doberman

The Doberman is indeed a highly intelligent working dog that was bred specifically to guard. Through the years, tweaks and adjustments to the nature of the breed has resulted to a less aggressive but still highly intelligent animal. Many breeders and aficionados were concerned with the publicity that the breed has garnered initially as a fierce dog that was used to strike fear into the hearts of those it encountered. Despite the intelligence of the breed and its ability to learn commands, most of the dogs need to have a strong and committed trainer who will persist in training it.

Some owners agree that although highly trainable and very alert, Dobermans may be stubborn at times and aggressive towards other animals. They can be great family dogs with consistent training and care.

4. The Golden Retriever

Consistently at the top of the favorite dogs in the United States and other countries, the Golden Retriever is very intelligent and very eager to please. Bred initially as a hunting dog, specifically as retrievers of game that has been shot down, they are now prized as family dogs and service dogs. As service dogs, they are large enough to guide their charges and at the same time be intelligent enough to guard them from any dangers. These dogs are very willing to learn anything and eager to please. They are also very patient and can be content just sitting with the family.

Although they can protect their charges from danger through their intellect, they are not guard dogs and may lack the aggression needed in certain situations.

3. The German Shepherd

This breed is one of the most enduring images of a working and service dog. Easily recognizable for its trademark coat, the German Shepherd is noted for its trainability, strength, obedience and intelligence. Experts have agreed that it is a very well rounded animal that can shift from a working dog to a service animal and to a family dog. Although this is a fairly recent breed (developed around the late 1800's) initially allotted to be sheep dogs in Germany, their intelligence is remarkable enough to elevate their status from sheep herders to other more prominent work.

These dogs are very patient and can easily understand tasks and training procedures. They are loyal and can easily interpret the desires of their owners into action. They can be aggressive to smaller animals and should be supervised when there are small children. This concern may be related to the dogs being initially bred to herd smaller animals.

2. The Poodle

The poodle is often underestimated because of its appearance. The traditional lion cut that the breed has been associated with lends it a rather goofy appeal that belies its intelligence and ability to learn. It originated from Germany as was initially bred to be a water dog and a hunting dog. Because of its intelligence, stamina and eagerness to learn, it was also used in other fields of work. This highly sociable breed can easily understand what its trainer is teaching it and can get the instruction within just a few tries even when the instruction may be complicated.

Poodles are agreeable with kids and love to be family dogs that stay inside and lounge around with the members of its family. It does need to be exercised daily because of its boundless energy.

1. The Border Collie

Border collies are very smart dogs that are also energetic, acrobatic and athletic. These dogs enjoy working and seem to be tireless in the pursuit of their owner's commands. They are so intelligent that they can think independently from their owners and can interpret the commands into what they believe may be best for the situation. They can understand a great number of human words and commands and act on these.

Border collies are energetic dogs that need to be physically and mentally stimulated so that they will not be naughty. They need to be exercised for a few hours daily and have a routine that they feel comfortable with. Experts do not advise leaving these dogs with very young children and other small animals because of the dog's tendency to nip and bite which may be attributed to its herding instinct.

Although these dogs are the top smartest dog breeds, other dog breeds are also intelligent. These animals react to the way that they are treated and will love their families unconditionally.


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    • ElleSor profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      Me, too...I've had three German Shepherds already (one at a time). The first when I was a child and the second when I was a teen. Now my kids and I are enjoying my third one. Very charismatic dogs with extended patience and a protective nature. I trust my toddler with my dog. She would nudged him hard if he plays too rough with her but never with any malice. She just had basic training and I'd like to believe that she has a great sense of humor!

    • sagolia profile image


      3 years ago

      Great list of genius dogs! I can definitely attest to German Shepherds - growing up with them, they were definitely quick to learn and eager to please. I will say though that it takes the right kind of person to own one though. As a vet tech, I've noticed a lot of people get German Shepherds and don't understand the time and energy they require as compared to many other breeds.

    • ElleSor profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      I totally agree that human perception of intelligence can be narrow when it comes to animals; dogs in this case. Though I like to believe that training helps to hone their intelligence and bring out the best from the dogs. This is not to say that family pets with little or no basic training are not the best, I think all dog lovers see just how intelligent their buddies are even without training.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      3 years ago from now on

      Actually when it comes to measuring intelligence in dogs mongrels are by far number one! I had a terrier mix pup once I taught 10 different tricks in a matter of only a couple days. To my amazement just days later when hungry she would come over to me and preform all ten one after another until I gave her a treat. One trick, I'd say shame on you, she'd lay down and cover her eyes. If hungry she'd do it without me even saying a thing, then she'd lift one paw and peek at me. If I sat still and acted like I wasn't going to give her anything she'd she'd cover up and stay that way 'til I said something.

      The mut in this video is by far the smartest I've seen, what do you think?

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      3 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Interesting reading, but I still question whether learning commands is the same things as intelligence. A Besenji will watch the way the birds are fleeing and run them into a net while hunting, yet not follow commands. Thus, based on this kind of list, he is rated at the very bottom in intelligence.


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