10 Most Intelligent Dog Breeds in the World

10 Most Intelligent Dog Breeds in the World

Different dog breeds have different traits and characteristics, as such, some are more intelligent than others. To find the most intelligent dog breeds, we can take a look at canine psychologist Stanley Coren’s survey and evaluation of dog breed intelligence. 

In his book, ‘The Intelligence of Dogs,’ Coren surveys over 200 dog obedience judges to help determine which breeds are the smartest and most obedient. Before we dive into the list, let’s take a closer look at what dog intelligence actually is. 

Do Dogs Have IQ?

Dogs don’t have an IQ as such but you can get a good idea of your dog's intelligence by observing certain qualities in your dog such as their ability to learn new commands. If your dog can learn a new command in fewer than five repetitions they are considered highly intelligent. 

How Is Intelligence Measured In Dogs? 

Intelligence in dogs is separated into three categories; instinctive, adaptive, and working/ obedience. Instinctive is what the dog has been bred to do, adaptive is what the dog learns from the situation to solve problems, and working/ obedience looks at the dog's willingness to work and do their jobs. 

Which Dogs Are Smarter: Smaller Or Bigger Dogs?

Trends in research data strongly suggest that bigger dog breeds are smarter than smaller dogs. Big dogs are able to remember things accurately over a longer period compared to smaller dogs. You’ll notice the only small dog breed on this most intelligent dog breed list is the Papillon.

Top 10 Most Intelligent Dog Breeds

And, here it is, our top ten most intelligent dog breeds, as advised by Coren’s list: 

1. Border Collie

The most intelligent dogs in the world are Border Collies. These workaholics can do just about anything, they are talented sheepherding dogs and most can learn a new command within just five repetitions. 

Border Collies frequently do well in dog sports competitions, particularly agility. These dogs are excellent at communicating and are able to learn and understand routines without needing continuous supervision.  

2. Poodle

Poodles are fantastic hunt-and-retrieve dogs and were bred to retrieve things from water so they are naturally fantastic swimmers too. These curly-coated dogs score highly in both emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence. Poodles are quick-learning and obedient, not to mention extremely cute. 

3. German Shepherd

German Shepherds are known for serving as police dogs, guard dogs, search-and-rescue, military dogs, and service dogs for people with disabilities. This breed was bred for intelligence and the ability to focus and learn commands quickly. German Shepherds are versatile, obedient, and protective. There is very little this loyal talented herding dog can’t do. 

4. Golden Retriever


Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular family dog breeds. They are known for being friendly, people-pleasing, and intelligent which makes them the ideal choice for service dogs, therapy dogs and search-and-rescue dogs. The intelligence of Golden Retrievers comes from their overall obedience and consistency in complying with commands.

5. Doberman

The Doberman is loyal, fearless, and athletic, the breed looks fierce and are great guard dogs. This breed is known for being fast with incredible stamina and in the home environment, they are generally gentle. The Doberman is number 5 on our list thanks to how quickly they learn commands. 

6. Shetland Sheepdog


Motivated, eager to please, and affectionate, the Shetland Sheepdog is the Collie breed's smaller cousin. These dogs excel in herding and consistently win obedience competitions. Shetland Sheepdogs learn new commands quickly, are extremely obedient and make fantastic family dogs as well as herding dogs and guard dogs. 

7. Labrador Retriever 

Labrador Retrievers are gentle, family-friendly, and hard-working. Labs have a strong drive to please their owners which means they are obedient and reliable. These dogs have an excellent sense of smell and are known to train themselves by watching and copying. The Labrador is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world and is often used as detection dogs, emotional support dogs and guide dogs too. 

8. Papillon


The Papillon is the smallest of the most intelligent dog breeds. This adorable breed has a long history and has long been popular with royalty and aristocracy. Papillons love to entertain and they enjoy learning tricks and performing. This breeds eagerness to please means they have an excellent ability to learn and obey commands. 

9. Rottweiler

Loyal, alert, and robust, the Rottweiler is one of the largest breeds of the smartest dogs. This rugged breed enjoys having a job to do and they suit a wide variety of roles including police dogs, guard dogs, herders, and service dogs. Rottweilers are quick to learn new things so don’t underestimate them. 

10. Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dogs are excellent herding dogs that are capable of following herds great distances and keeping flocks safe without supervision. This breed is highly motivated to work and eager to learn so they need something productive to do to keep them stimulated. Australian Cattle Dogs are alert, energetic, and observant. As family pets, this breed does well when participating in agility, flyball, or herding activities. 

Looking For An Intelligent Dog For Your Family?

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