17 Smartest Dog Breeds

Written By Jill Taylor

Dogs come in hundreds of different shapes, sizes, and temperaments, so it can be hard to choose between them. However, if there’s one thing people often value in a dog, it’s their intelligence. Smart dogs are usually easier to train, more well-behaved, and have incredibly bright personalities. Let’s take a look at some of the 17 smartest dog breeds you can get.

Border Collie

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If you’re looking for the smartest little canine companion you can get, then look no further. Stanley Coren’s book The Intelligence of Dogs ranks Border Collies as the most intelligent dog breed. And their intelligence isn’t the only thing they have going for them, as they are also typically very obedient, agile, and adaptable.


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According to Reader’s Digest, Poodles come in at a close second place in terms of intelligence. These beautiful dogs are known for their impressive problem-solving skills, sociability, and love for mental stimulation. If you’re looking for a beautiful breed with brains to match, a Poodle may be the perfect fit for you.

German Shepherd

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German Shepherds have long been praised for their loyalty, versatility, and intelligence. As traditional working dogs, they excel at following commands, protecting people, and learning quickly. This is why they are often employed by the police and military personnel.

Golden Retriever

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The Golden Retriever is known for its adorable little face and luxurious fluffy coat. But we think they also deserve recognition for their keen intelligence. Golden Retrievers are usually obedient, easy to train, and eager to please. They are also very friendly, making them great family dogs.

Doberman Pinscher

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Doberman Pinschers are famed for their alertness, loyalty, and impressive intelligence. Their love for their owners makes them protective and eager to please, so they are usually obedient and highly trainable.

Shetland Sheepdog

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Like other Sheepdogs, Shetland Sheepdogs excel in both agility and intelligence. They are famed for their ability to comprehend and follow challenging commands, as well as their strong problem-solving capabilities. Their herding nature also means they thrive when given a job-like role to play in the family.

Labrador Retriever

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As noted by the American Kennel Club, Labrador Retrievers were America’s favorite breed for an incredible 31 years in a row. While they have many amazing traits that earned them this reputation, one of them is undeniably their incredible intelligence. Labs are quick learners, obedient, and eager to please (especially when you have treats to give them).


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According to DogTime, Papillons are playful, agile, and intelligent. Despite their tiny size, they are capable of following complex commands and have a quick learning ability. They also have charming, friendly, and curious personalities that any dog owner will love.


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Rottweilers may seem intimidating to some people, but they are actually very calm, confident, and intelligent. Their strong sense of loyalty makes them highly trainable and obedient, and they also make great protection dogs. However, it’s important to keep them mentally and physically exercised to avoid behavioral problems.

Australian Cattle Dog

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Australian Cattle Dogs are extremely intelligent and alert. Because they are bred to be working, herding dogs, they have excellent problem-solving skills and thrive on both mental and physical tasks. They are also known for their independence and obedience.

Belgian Malinois

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Belgian Malinois are not as popular as some breeds, but they are well-respected for their strong work ethic and intelligent nature. They are also incredibly strong and agile, making them well-suited to a wide range of working roles.

Siberian Husky

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Siberian Huskies are popular for their beautiful wolf-like appearance and hilariously dramatic personalities. But they definitely also have the brains to match their beauty, being capable of a high level of creativity and exhibiting strong problem-solving skills.

Standard Schnauzer

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The Standard Schnauzer may be standard in name, but definitely not in nature. They are remarkably intelligent and have adorable, charming personalities that make them popular with many dog owners. Their need for mental stimulation makes them a good fit for those who love to teach their dogs tricks and puzzles.

English Springer Spaniel

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The English Springer Spaniel is a classic breed that excels in a wide variety of hunting, tracking, and working roles. They are incredibly intelligent, and they learn very quickly. Their keen sense of smell also makes them well-suited for fieldwork.

Cocker Spaniel

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Cocker Spaniels are typically gentle and affectionate in nature, but don’t let their sweet personalities fool you; they can also be extremely intelligent and quick-witted. These adorable little dogs also excel at learning new commands and tricks.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

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While you may not have heard of this breed before, we think it’s about time they were more widely recognized for their intelligent, outgoing, and alert personalities. These beautiful Retrievers were originally bred for hunting, which means they have a natural proficiency for learning new tasks and problem-solving.

Miniature Schnauzer

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Miniature Schnauzers are playful, intelligent, and agile, so it’s no surprise that they excel in a wide range of roles and environments. They are known for their love of mental stimulation and obedient nature, and they love to socialize both with humans and other dogs.