These Are the Pups That Top the List of Smartest Dog Breeds

Your pet is one smart cookie, but is it among the most intellectual dog breeds? Find out with our science-backed ranking.

1. Border collie

Border collie parents should be prepared to provide their doggo with loads of mental and physical stimulation, according to the AKC. The breed is so bright and good at connecting with humans that it’s not unrealistic to believe that many are fairly adept at getting what they want from their owners.

That’s why we’re naming the border collie the brightest dog in the world.

2. Poodle

The poodle, one of a handful of attractive French dog breeds, is frequently viewed as high maintenance. (That curly hair isn’t going to style itself, after all.) But don’t be tricked into thinking it makes them any less brilliant.

The breed earns great accolades for its emotional and cognitive intelligence. In fact, Coren rates the poodle second among the smartest canine breeds, exactly after the border collie.

3. German shepherd

According to the findings of Dr. Stanley Coren’s study, the German shepherd is not only the second most intelligent herding dog but also the third most intellectual dog overall.

The breed was selected for its high level of intellect (according to the AKC, they are able to learn a new command on the first try), high level of attention, desire and capacity to be obedient (which makes training easy), and protective instinct with regard to its fellow members of the “pack.”

4. Golden retriever

Canine intelligence isn’t simply about brainpower. When it comes to golden retrievers, their readiness to “comply with commands or tasks asked of them by their owners,” as Cline put it, is what puts them into the number four place.

Because of their urge to please their people, these dogs can be relied upon to respond consistently in a variety of settings. Bred in Scotland to be hunting companions and game retrievers, they’re commonly deployed in search-and-rescue efforts, supported by their relative agility and powerful pace.

5. Doberman pinscher

Described by the AKC as fearless, loyal, and vigilant, the extremely intelligent and quickly trainable Doberman pinscher was bred by a German tax collector who had a bit of spare time on his hands during the off-season, as well as an abundance of motivation to produce the perfect canine protector.

6. Shetland sheepdog

The small Shetland sheepdog does everything a larger herding dog can do but on substantially less food. That’s precisely why they were developed as the “collie’s little cousin.” Farmers on the UK’s Shetland Islands employed them to perform herding responsibilities, and not just for sheep. The sheltie, as it is known by some, found work herding ponies and poultry as well.

7. Labrador retriever

Developed by 16th-century residents of the Canadian island of Newfoundland, the Labrador retriever is a descendent of the St. John Dog (which is no longer around) and a relative of the Newfoundland.

The breed gained its name in the 19th century, as English nobility returned from a Canadian tour with what they termed the “Labrador dog.”

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