17 Most Intelligent Dog Breeds You Can Own

Written By Jill Taylor

If you’re looking for a new dog buddy to have around, and your key criteria is intelligence, then look no further. We’ve found 17 highly intelligent dog breeds that will be great company, easy to train, and fun to be around – a true companion!

Border Collie

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The American Kennel Club tells us that the Border Collie can learn a huge amount of words and commands, so it’s really easy to train them to do a wide range of things. If that doesn’t show you that they’re highly intelligent, we don’t know what will!


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The poodle might not look like the most intelligent species of dog in the world, especially when they’re all dressed up for a dog show, but they’re a lot smarter than most people give them credit for. In fact, they were actually originally bred as hunting dogs because of their intelligence.

German Shepherd

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The loyal and protective nature of the German Shepherd is highly appealing to many dog owners, and it’s very intelligent, too. This combination of traits makes the breed a top choice for the police, but they’re wonderful to own as pets as well.

Golden Retriever

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Gentle, friendly, and highly trainable are probably the three defining characteristics of the Golden Retriever breed. This makes them excellent family pets. This is another breed of dog that, when you spend enough time with, you’ll see just how intelligent they are.

Doberman Pinscher

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Dogster says that the Doberman Pinscher scores well on tests that measure intelligence. They’re certainly smart in a number of ways, but they’re also loyal and protective, which is why many people keep them as guard dogs. They’re great pets all around!

Shetland Sheepdog

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Sheepdogs are always associated with high levels of intelligence, as their traditional job of herding sheep requires a lot of awareness and skill. They seem to get on with it as if it’s the easiest thing in the world. You don’t have to own sheep to enjoy them as pets, though!


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The tiny papillon dog might not appear to be super intelligent at first glance, but once you learn a little about them, you’ll realize that they absolutely are. Their intelligence and agility make them great for sports, and they’re super friendly as pets, too.


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Many people tend to avoid these dogs because they can look aggressive, but if they’re trained well, they’ll be very well-behaved, strong, and loyal. In addition, PetScreening says that the Rottweiler is one of the smartest dog breeds.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

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The Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s high intelligence makes it a top choice for training. These dogs also have a very personable, friendly, and playful side that’s a lot of fun for owners. Again, they need a lot of exercise to stay engaged, though.

Australian Cattle Dog

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Herding abilities often go hand in hand with intelligence, and that is the case once again with the beautiful Australian Cattle Dog. These dogs are highly focused and driven, and they’re able to form strong bonds with their owners, which is another sign of their intelligence.

Miniature Schnauzer

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The little Miniature Schnauzer is a highly alert breed of dog that is proven to be very good at retaining information. As a result, they’re easy to train, which shows how smart they are. On top of that, they’re very friendly and outgoing.

Belgian Malinois

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The German Shepherd is the most popular police and military dog in most parts of the world, but the Belgian Malinois is not far behind for similar reasons. It’s highly intelligent and versatile, with a strong work ethic and the ability to learn fast.

Border Terrier

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Border Terriers are well known for their intelligence all around the world, and this is one of the key reasons that they’re so popular as pets. But it’s not their only positive characteristic, as they’re super friendly and eager to please, which makes them great companions.

Belgian Tervuren

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The second Belgian dog on our list is just as intelligent as the first and is actually a top dog for herding cattle and sheep and for protection. As we know by now, both of these things are signs that the dog is smart, so it deserves its place in our top dogs list!

Jack Russell Terrier

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DogTime calls the Jack Russell ‘small, energetic and intelligent’, which could prove to be the perfect combination for some pet owners. As well as these things, they’re super agile and great at hunting with a strong prey drive and a brilliant ability to learn quickly.


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The Schipperke breed of dogs is intelligent, curious, and agile, which makes them excel in obedience and agility training. They’re also super protective, which can help their owners feel safe and very energetic, so make sure you’re up for the challenge in that sense.

English Springer Spaniel

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The Springer Spaniel of England is one of the most eager-to-please dogs, and that makes them super adorable! But they’re not just cute. These dogs are about as smart as any of the other breeds on our list today, and you’ll get to know all about that if you choose one.

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