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Top 5 Smart, Easy to Train Dogs
#1. The Border Collie
The Border Collie is regarded by many as the most intelligent dog. It is always mentioned as one of the top, if not the top canine, when it comes to intelligence and train-ability. Very energetic, acrobatic, and athletic, you’ll see this breed often in competitions (especially sheepdog trials), and they win a lot because of their agility and ability to obey commands.
A very smart animal, this is a dog that has to have something to do—but it may not be the best house pet. If what you’re looking for is a smart, trainable house pet that can stay home alone and do nothing during long work days, this is not your dog. In fact, it would be cruel to expect this energetic animal to be good when left home alone for long stretches of time.
Made for working and working out, this dog can (and probably will) cause extensive damage to your home if left alone for a long time. Border Collies need to be busy, and they need challenging tasks that will allow them to get a good amount of exercise every day. This is an intense, focused animal that can learn and react to hundreds of words.
And, although you don't need to be a sheep herder to own one, you do need to be someone who loves dogs with energy, that need plenty of exercise. Not designed for couch potatoes, this is a breed that will bring tons of fun and frolicking to a family with children, or serve as an energetic companion for someone who likes taking long walks, runs, or hikes.
#2. The Poodle
Believe it or not, the Poodle holds the number-two spot among canines that are both smart and easy to train. In fact, it excels in obedience training. Highly intelligent, Poodles are often regarded as one of the easiest breeds to train. Perhaps it’s their love of the “human animal.” Poodles are known to adore people and to love being around them. The flip side of that, however, is that they hate to be left alone.
So, if you’re looking for a loving dog that will worship and adore you, the Poodle may be your dog. It learns easily and is obedient, and it can also track and herd. This is why, as a breed, it has often won top spots at dog shows and competitions. The breed comes, officially, in toy, miniature, and standard sizes, and a variety of coat colors.
In its miniature size, the Poodle is one of the most popular varieties of pets. It is energetic, good-natured, playful, and eager to please, and it responds well to instruction and commands. Sensitive, it can become devoted to one person, and is usually reserved with strangers until it gets to know them.
Playful and energetic, Poodles are known to be good with children, other pets and other dogs. Although most of the news about Poodles is good, be warned that some Poodles do tend to bark quite a bit.
#3. The German Shepherd
Third in line for the throne of smartest, most easy-to-train dogs is the German Shepherd. This breed is smart and it also excels in obedience training. In fact, in his book, The Intelligence of Dogs, author Stanley Coren ranked the German Shepherd third in canine intelligence, behind Border Collies and Poodles. Extremely intelligent and courageous, this dog has strong protective instincts making it one of the best guard dogs available.
Because of its intelligence, train-ability, size, courage, and protective instincts, the German Shepherd is often a “working dog,” and the breed is employed in police and military roles around the world. Loyal and protective by nature, German Shepherds are large-sized dogs, usually between 22 and 26 inches in height, and weighing in at between 49 and 88 pounds.
Although their size can be formidable, with proper training, these dogs can also be great family pets, and are known to be excellent with children. The ideal height for the breed is 25 inches, according to Kennel Club standards. They come in a variety of colors, with the most common being tan/black and red/black.
#4. The Golden Retriever
Holding down its place at Number 4 on my list of smart, easy-to-train dogs (while wagging its tail happily) is the Golden Retriever. A medium-sized breed of dog, the Golden Retriever is ranked, consistently, as the most popular and affectionate breed of dog. Why? Because it literally possesses every quality dog lovers love about dogs: It is loyal, obedient, loving, patient, friendly, great with children, and it aims to please its owner. It is a highly intelligent breed that excels in obedience competitions as well as at performing tricks.
It is their loyalty and gentle disposition that makes the Golden Retriever a perfect family pet. But their intelligence makes this breed versatile, so they are often trained to be guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, and to be police dogs. Yes! They, along with the German Shepherd, are easily trained to become hunters of illegal drugs, and as search-and-rescue scouts working with police departments.
With a love of water and a water-repellent outer coat, these dogs were developed to serve as gundogs, to accompany hunters for the purpose of retrieving game/waterfowl such as birds and ducks. They earned their name based on their abilities in retrieving what was shot. Golden Retrievers thrive happily in suburban or country environments, where they have room to run and roam. A breed that needs substantial outdoor activity/exercise, because of their roaming, hunting dog instincts, they need to be kept in a fenced-in area.
#5. The Doberman Pinscher
Many may shiver at the thought of Number 5 on my list. In fact, even the name “Doberman” can incite fear in hearts, and many would-be owners don’t even consider this breed when looking for a smart dog that’s easy to train. But, the Doberman Pinscher is Number 5 on this list of intelligent, easily trainable canines for some good reasons. In fact, unbeknownst to most, they actually make good family pets. Smart and fearless, the breed is extremely loyal and alert. And it is alertness and intelligence, when combined, that makes a dog trainable for just about anything, from being a mild-mannered family pet to being an aggressive guard dog.
Although they were once commonly used as guide or police dogs, today that is no longer true. Today, this energetic, lively breed is more likely to be found being a loyal companion and friend, and living with a family.
Dobermans are people-oriented dogs that crave attention, positive reinforcement and the spending quality time with the family. Properly trained and socialized, they have an obedient temperament, are mild-mannered and easygoing, and are very good with children. A medium-sized dog, the Doberman Pinscher has a short, hard coat that can be black, red, blue or fawn. A breed possessing great speed and endurance, the Doberman is muscular and elegant, and has the intelligence and ability to learn and retain training.
And speaking of endurance, Dobermans, like German Shepherds, are among the most hard-working breeds of dogs. They’re among the top ten in breeds when it comes to being a good guard dog, and they’re not naturally mean and vicious as they’re often thought to be. They are a dominant breed, but they are also capable of being calm, meek, and obedient, when trained properly. And, it's also good to know that when trained to be a family dog from an early age, this loyal and loving breed will take pride in protecting its owner when and if it becomes necessary to do so.
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© 2012 Sallie B Middlebrook PhD