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What are the Top 10 Most Intelligent Dogs?

Updated on May 13, 2011

Have you ever wondered,"What is the most intelligent dog breed," or "What are the top 10 smartest dogs?" Well if you have, here's where I answer all of your questions about the top ten most intelligent dogs.

#10. The Rough Collie

The Rough Collie is often times a dog breed that is overlooked and overshadowed by Shetland Sheepdogs and Border Collies when it comes to being one of the most intelligent dog breeds, but lest people forget that Rough Collies are still one of the smartest dog breeds. Not only are Rough Collies smart, but they're also easy to train, which would lead you to think that intelligent dogs would always be easy to teach, but that's not entirely true. For example, Beagles are extremely smart but they sometimes seem as though they're hopeless canines when it comes to responding to dog training due to the Beagle's strong sense of smell, semi stubborn ways of thinking, and independent personalities.

adorable rottweiler dog pic
adorable rottweiler dog pic

#9. The Rottweiler

Rottweilers come in at number nine within the top 10 most intelligent dog breeds. Rottweilers are fairly easy dogs to train in most manners, but these canine companions still require firm, consistent handling and positive dog training techniques used by their owners, beginning while the dogs are still puppies. Not only are Rottweilers highly intelligent, but they are by far one of the best breeds of guard dogs; plus Rottweilers make wonderful watch dogs too.

tricolor papillon
tricolor papillon

#8. The Papillon

Papillons are a breed of Spanish Toy Dogs that are obedient, lively, and respond well towards dog training. The Papillons are commonly considered to be one of the top ten most intelligent dogs, and that’s not just on my top 10 most intelligent dog breeds list but Papillons are included on many or perhaps even the mass majority of the top ten smartest dog breeds lists too.

funny poodle picture
funny poodle picture

#7. The Toy Poodle

 Usually when people think of the list of smartest dogs, it probably doesn't include Toy Poodles in it, but don't be fooled by this dog breed's high maintenance and sometimes self absorbed personalities, Poodles are one of the top smartest dogs in the world. Also, these feisty little canines are a breeze when it comes to dog training and they're extremely obedient pets. Yes, there are a few obvious cons to the Toy Poodles, but do not be deceived this dog breed has by more pros than it does cons by a long shot.

the labrador retriever
the labrador retriever

#6. The Labrador Retriever

 Labrador Retrievers make loving family pets that get a long great with children. Not only do Labrador Retrievers exhibit wonderful personalities, but they're to no surprise one of the smartest dogs breeds too, which are easy to train and are obedient pets. It's no wonder why Labrador Retrievers are the world's most popular breed of dog! If any canine can take the title of "Man's Best Friend" for many people it has to be the Labrador Retriever.

cute german shepherd puppy pic
cute german shepherd puppy pic

#5. The German Shepherd

German Shepherds well deservingly take their place as number five on my Top 10 Most Intelligent Dogs list for a number of reasons. German Shepherds are not only one of the top ten smartest dog breeds, but they do great with dog training and are highly obedient dogs. German Shepherds also have many special qualities to them that make these canines amazing candidates for various tasks and jobs which include police dogs, guard dogs, watch dogs, and herding dogs just to name a few.

the doberman dog
the doberman dog

#4. The Doberman Pinscher

Okay, so yes I guess it may seem a bit biased that I placed Doberman Pinschers up as far as number four on this list of smartest dog breeds, since Doberman Pinschers are one of my favorite breeds, but I assure you that I am writing this blog from a completely unbiased standpoint. In all honesty, I think that up until more recent years the Doberman Pinscher has been completely underrated when it comes to their overall dog breed intelligence; Doberman Pinschers are incredibly smart, loving, loyal pets that can make some of the best family dogs. Yes, you heard me correctly. I said "family dogs,” but actually within the past few generations dog breeders have bred out the aggression that Doberman Pinschers might have periodically shown in the breed; yet they remain to be the number one best breed of guard dogs who will do anything to protect their families and loved ones from harm's way.

a golden retriever
a golden retriever

#3. The Golden Retriever

I think it's needless to say that you just can't have a list of smartest dogs without including Golden Retrievers. When it comes to some of the breeds for dog intelligence that ended up as finalists in this top ten smartest dog breeds list, they may be a bit controversial, but it's hard to deny not placing Golden Retrievers somewhere in the dog intelligence list. Plus, not only are Golden Retriever some of the smartest breeds of dogs, but they're fabulous family pets too. I mean, there just isn't much more you could ask from a dog breed!

the sheltie dog
the sheltie dog

#2. The Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdogs often times place as or around sixth place with the top 10 most intelligent dogs, but personally I think that other dog breeds usually tend to be labeled as surpassing Shetland Sheepdogs because of other better well known dogs breeds, like Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers, are popularly stated as scoring high when it comes to dog breed intelligence, but in reality Shetland Sheepdogs rank higher in dog breed intelligence.

Now, let's forget about how well known the various other dog breeds are and just try to rate these animals fairly on the list of smartest dog breeds. When it comes down to it, Shetland Sheepdogs are unmistakingly smart. They're so smart that many dog owners just do not have to the time to properly mentally stimulate and keep a Shetland Sheepdog entertained, and if Shetland Sheepdogs get bored be prepared for total doggie destruction. Shetland Sheepdogs display loving and fun temperaments, but they're hellions who will wreak havoc on your home if boredom overcomes these canines.

#1. The Border Collie

So you've probably been wondering what is the most intelligent dog breed.

Well, the number one title for the crowning of smartest dog breed can go to no other than the Border Collie. Border Collies are have been placed as number one on The Top 10 Most Intelligent Dogs list and on 99% of other top ten smartest dog breed lists because well frankly, there simply just isn't any breed of dog that really even comes close to challenging and matching the Border Collie's dog breed intelligence!

These canines are so smart in fact that many of Border Collie dog owners commonly say "Don't call my Border Collie a Dog!" And just like Shetland Sheepdogs when Border Collies become bored be prepared for some of the worst doggie damage that you've ever seen in your life! Despite that downfall, when Border Collies are adequately cared for they truly are perhaps the best well rounded dog breed there is!

border collies the smartest dog breed
border collies the smartest dog breed


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    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I really enjoyed this article as I love dogs also. I have had various dogs over the years and a doberman I had was one of the easiest to train, but I have a had a couple of others on this list. There isn't one I don't like!

    • profile image


      13 months ago

      Very nice information... According to my knowledge, I will Detail some Intelligent dog breeds. Recently one of my friends bought a Doberman from which is very intelligent and friendly with Children too.

      1. Doberman is just super – energetic clubbed with tremendous strength and stamina. Loyal, Tolerant and affectionate are the adjectives goes perfectly well with them. They are the outstanding guard dog but also a gentle family companion

      2. German shepherds are sturdy, muscular and have a solid bone structure gives it a classic beauty and are highly adaptable. They are one of the most loyal dog breed, ready to go beyond any limits to save their human companion. Their intelligence segregates them from all

      3. Golden Retrievers are charmers. They are lovable, well-mannered, intelligent dogs. They are easy to train because of their gentle behavior. They really know how to please people and other dogs. Get along with children very well.

      4. Labs make a perfect family dog because of their loyal, loving affectionate nature. They love to learn new things as they are highly intelligent, good-natured which makes them easy to train. They are a very well socialized dog.

      5. Boxers are high- intelligent and quick learners which make them easy to train. Their bond with family and children are always very strong and close. They are happy, playful and curious. A well brought up and early socialization of this dog will make them easy to get along with other people and pet

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Nice article- I've owned and trained dogs all my life, including German Shepards, Rottweillers and labs. I currently have a rescued McNab mix (similar to Border Collie and at least as smart), but I want to encourage people- Please don't buy pedigree dogs- Most will have specific health problems per AKC standards (read about it). Go rescue a mix breed- You'll have a happier, healthier and better dog. It's a fact. PLEASE STOP BREEDING DOGS- STOP PUPPY MILLS.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      5 years ago

      Fabulous article, thank you. German shepherds are still my best, wish I lived on huge grounds and could have one of all these marvellous dogs!

      Up, interesting and useful.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi I think pug they very super smarts dog and very special & adorable doggy I love her

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I think that most part of the dog's intelligence is closely related to the emotional intelligence they develop. The more attention you give to your dog, the more active and intelligent it will become. The public knows these breeds from movies which have a great impact over them when getting a pup, but a new owner has to closely select the breed, as an intelligent dog will need an intelligent owner.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I think you should shiz tuz as number 111111111111111!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very useful information! I have heard many tales that the poodle and german shepherd usually round out the top three. I guess each list is different! Great list, by the way :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      German Shepherd should be # 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      its so cute

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Where would you rate a YORKIE and what #

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I didn't know dobermans where in the top 10... good to know!!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You have obviously NOT come across an Australian Kelpie that can run rings around most of these dogs if not all of them including the Border Collie. Where would you rate an Australian Cattle Dog ?

      Time to look outside the UK sandpit.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This blog is very fantastic .I love with dogs.These top ten dogs are more powerful Thank u for sharing with us..................

    • Miss Lil' Atlanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Miss Lil' Atlanta 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Yeah, I agree with you Pamela Ellmer, in a lot of ways, like with what you said about the Pugs is honestly so true. I mean, it's fine that people selectively bred Pugs for short snouts as one of the characteristics, but I don't think that it had to be nearly as extreme as what Pug's noses were bred to be.

      Now, when it comes to coat colors though, I'm usually fine with that. At least I'm fine with in the sense that 90% of coat colors have never done any damage to a dog’s health and well being, but sometimes it's just been unnecessary.

      If we didn't have selective breeding of dog we wouldn't have Border Collies, Greyhounds, or any other dog breeds. Actually if we never had selective breeding dogs would have “never” been domesticated in the first place and we’d only have wolves, dingoes, and so on. Border Collies wouldn't be have been as intelligent as what they are, and (arguably) Greyhounds wouldn't be healthiest dog breed, even healthier than mutts.

      Selective dog breeding has had many cons, but overall I think that as long as it's not “too extreme” I'm completely fine and I'm "for" selective dog breeding. Dobermans would be much more aggressive dogs if it wasn't for selective breeding. But you're so right though, like now many people selectively breed Pit bulls for sick things like fighting. Selective breeding is good as long as it's for the right reasons.

      ~ Miss Lil’ Atlanta

    • Pamela Ellmer profile image

      Pamela Ellmer 

      8 years ago from Naples Florida

      Now, if we could leave well enuff alone and stop breeding for physical characteristics. The smaller we make a dogs head, the smaller it's brain size. The whiter we make a dog, the more lost of pigment and melatonin. These dogs aren't dumber...they just have more health problems. Squished snouts are cute, but can the dog breathe out of his nose? Healthy minds (especially in dogs) are happy minds. It's hard to focus on your training when you can't breath. Basset Hounds can't swim due to human intervention. BTW. The Yorkshire Terrier is A GENIUS! (mine is anyway!!!) Hahaha! Love to ALL!!

    • Miss Lil' Atlanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Miss Lil' Atlanta 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hey Bodie358

      I love Boston Terriers. My brother actually owns two himself, so I’ve been able to experience this wonderful breed first hand. I’ll be honest, usually I’m not a very big Terrier fan, but I “love” Boston Terriers. Bostons truly display some of the funniest and cutest personalities of all the dog breeds.

      Also, I've had dogs my entire life too. It's hard for me to imagine life without them. Dogs really are just like members of the family.

      And yeah, it's definitely true that mixed dogs can be incredibly intelligent as well. Often times mixed breeds tend to take on the better qualities of their purebred (or sometimes mixed dog parents as well), and when both of the parents are smart dogs, the puppies are more likely to grow up as even more intelligent than their parents were, depending on the mix.

      ~ Miss Lil' Atlanta

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have had dogs my entire life and, other than a mixed rescue I had as a child, my Boston Terrier is the most intelligent.

    • Miss Lil' Atlanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Miss Lil' Atlanta 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Mel Jay,

      I know right, I love German Shepherd pups!

      And really I would say that the main downfall to German Shepherds and other German Shepherd like dog breeds is the horrible shedding. However, German Shepherds are just such a great dog breed that the excessive shedding is well worth it for many dog owners.

    • Miss Lil' Atlanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Miss Lil' Atlanta 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I definitely agree with you Vida J. I think that one of the best ways to increase a dog's intelligence is simply by teaching and keeping a dog mentally active.

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      I do think my Chihuahua is a brilliant dog (one of them is) over my other Chihuahua.

    • hameidinger profile image


      8 years ago

      This is great hub, Thanks for sharing of this article.

    • VidaJ profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      What a great article! We have a border collie who is amazingly smart.I think any breed can be smart,it just depends on how much time you spend interacting with them.

    • Mel Jay profile image

      Mel Jay 

      8 years ago from Australia

      Love your pictures! That German Shepherd pup is gorgeous - I once had a lab x shepherd - he was one of the smartest dogs I ever had, also very protective and gentle with little creatures. Loved his food and used to shed whole drifts of hair. I miss him but don't miss the shedding! - Thanks for another enjoyable hub, Cheers - Mel

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Great to here that you think Chihuahua's are smart (maybe I am a little biased), and I appreciate your expertise.

    • Miss Lil' Atlanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Miss Lil' Atlanta 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks, MarloByDesign.

      Yeah, I agree that Chihuahuas are overall highly intelligent dogs too, and when it comes to the Top 10 Smartest Dogs, this is really just based on average within individual breeds of dogs. Like I've seen Poodles that have been smarter than some Doberman's and Collies that have been “much” smarter than Poodles, but this is how I would rate these breeds on average.

      I mean, I own a Cockapoo (Toy Poodle & English Cocker Spaniel Mix) and I'll admit my dog is really stupid, and the weird thing is that usually Cockapoos are very intelligent.

      And also, I think that it's hard to even truly rate dog breeds as Top 10's, 20's, and even 30's since many breeds will tie with one another.

      But if I had to rate Chihuahuas, I think that I would probably put them as roughly number 16 or 15 for the smartest dog breeds.

      Anyways though, that's amazing that your dog can pick up on so many words! Despite some Chihuahuas showing average intelligence, there are some really smart ones as well; one of my friends owns a Chihuahua too, and I have to say that he is one of the smartest dogs I've ever seen.

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Great idea for a Hub! I have a Chihuahua - who is sooo smart, I thought Chihuahua's were one of the smartest breeds as well. He must know at least 100 words (I mean it!) Do you know what number they are? I rated your Hub "useful" - thanks!

    • Miss Lil' Atlanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Miss Lil' Atlanta 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Oh thanks thanks everyone for comments! I'm glad to know that people are enjoying the hub. :)

    • QudsiaP1 profile image


      8 years ago

      Excellent hub.

      I love Golden retrievers and German Shepherds.

    • jenscott profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      My Mom had a toy poodle when I was growing up and I dream of having one myself one day. I always thought he was really smart but I adored him and was just a little biased. ;) This is such a great, well-written hub and I learned a lot.

    • Ancillotti profile image


      8 years ago from Brasil, Vitoria - ES

      My girlfriend loves dogs so for me it was very interesting to read this hub. I know nothing about them!

      Hub very well organized and easy to understand. Congratulations!


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