Introduction: Smartest dog breeds in the world
To understand canine intelligence, one must first understand dogs’ and the dog’s ability to comprehend and respond to commands. Dog intelligence or dog cognition is a dog’s ability to acquire, store in memory, retrieve, combine, compare, and use in new situations information and conceptual skills.
Dogs are the first animals to be domesticated by people, and they have been around us for several 1000s of years. The first dogs were the descendants of Grey wolves. These animals lived off the food scrapes near human settlements. Humans soon found these early dogs useful.
For this symbiotic relationship to be successful, dogs needed to learn man’s ways. Man, on the other hand, needed a smart dog that can learn and be useful.
138 Smartest dog breeds in the world with rank
|Rank||Dog breed||Country of origin||Type||Size||AKC Classification||Understanding of new commands||Apartment Living||Health|
|1||Border Collie||UK||Working and herding dog breed||Medium||Herding||Fewer than 5 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|2||Poodle||Germany||Companion dog||Small||Non-sporting||Fewer than 5 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|3||German Shepherd Dog||Germany||Working and herding dog breed||Large||Herding||Fewer than 5 repetitions||Not suited||Good|
|4||Golden Retriever||UK||Hunting dog||Large||Sporting||Fewer than 5 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|5||Doberman Pinscher||Germany||Guard dog||Large||Working||Fewer than 5 repetitions||Not suited||Good|
|6||Shetland Sheepdog||Scotland||Herding dog||Medium||Herding||Fewer than 5 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|7||Labrador Retriever||UK||Hunting dog||Large||Sporting||Fewer than 5 repetitions||Not suited||Good|
|8||Papillon||Belgium||Companion dog||Small||Toy breed||Fewer than 5 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|9||Rottweiler||Germany||Herding dog||Large||Sporting||Fewer than 5 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|10||Australian Cattle Dog||Australia||Herding dog||Medium||Sporting||Fewer than 5 repetitions||Not suited||Good|
|11||Pembroke Welsh Corgi||UK||Herding dog||Small||Sporting||5 to 15 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|12||Miniature Schnauzer||Germany||Rating dog||Small||Terrier||5 to 15 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|13||English Springer Spaniel||UK||Hunting dog||Medium||Sporting||5 to 15 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|14||Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervuren)||Belgium||Herding dog||Medium||Sporting||5 to 15 repetitions||Not suited||Good|
|15||Schipperke||Belgium||Herding dog||Small||Non-sporting||5 to 15 repetitions||Suited||Good|
|16||Belgian Sheepdog||Belgium||Herding dog||Medium||Herding||5 to 15 repetitions||Not suited||Good|
|17||Collie||UK||Herding dog||Medium||Herding||5 to 15 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|18||Keeshond||Germany||Companion dog||Small||Non-sporting||5 to 15 repetitions||Suited||Good|
|19||German Shorthaired Pointer||Germany||Hunting dog||Medium||Sporting||5 to 15 repetitions||Not suited||Ok|
|20||Flat-Coated Retriever||England||Hunting dog||Medium||Sporting||5 to 15 repetitions||Not suited||Good|
|21||English Cocker Spaniel||England||Hunting dog||Large||Sporting||5 to 15 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|22||Standard Schnauzer||Germany||Working dog||Medium||Working||5 to 15 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|23||Brittany||France||Hunting dog||Medium||Sporting||5 to 15 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|24||Cocker Spaniel||America||Hunting dog||Large||Sporting||5 to 15 repetitions||Not suited||Good|
|25||Weimaraner||Germany||Hunting dog||Large||Sporting||5 to 15 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|26||Belgian Malinois||Belgium||Service dog||Large||Herding||5 to 15 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|27||Bernese Mountain Dog||Switzerland||Herding dog||Large||Working||5 to 15 repetitions||Not suited||Ok|
|28||Pomeranian||Pomerania||Companion dog||Small||Toy breed||5 to 15 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|29||Irish Water Spaniel||Ireland||Hunting dog||Large||Sporting||5 to 15 repetitions||Not suited||Good|
|30||Vizsla||Hungary||Companion dog||Medium||Sporting||5 to 15 repetitions||Suited||Good|
|31||Cardigan Welsh Corgi||Wales||Companion dog||Small||Herding||5 to 15 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|32||Chesapeake Bay Retriever||USA||Hunting dog||Large||Sporting||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|33||Puli||Hungary||Herding dog||Small||Herding||15 to 25 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|34||Yorkshire Terrier||England||Companion dog||Small||Toy breed||15 to 25 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|35||Giant Schnauzer||Germany||Guard dog||Medium||Working||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|36||Portuguese Water Dog||Portugal||Companion dog||Medium||Working||15 to 25 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|37||Airedale Terrier||England||Hunting dog||Medium||Terrier||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|38||Bouvier des Flandres||France||Herding dog||Medium||Herding||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|39||Border Terrier||England||Hunting dog||Medium||Terrier||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|40||Briard||France||Companion dog||Medium||Herding||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|41||Welsh Springer Spaniel||Wales||Companion dog||Medium||Sporting||15 to 25 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|42||Australian Shepherd||USA||Herding dog||Large||Herding||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|43||Manchester Terrier||England||Companion dog||Medium||Terrier||15 to 25 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|44||Samoyed||Siberia||Herding dog||Small||Working||15 to 25 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|45||Field Spaniel||England||Hunting dog||Small||Sporting||15 to 25 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|46||Newfoundland||Canada||Companion dog||Large||Working||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Good|
|47||Australian Terrier||Australia||Companion dog||Small||Terrier||15 to 25 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|48||American Staffordshire Terrier||USA||Companion dog||Medium||Terrier||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|49||Gordon Setter||Scotland||Hunting dog||Medium||Sporting||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|50||Bearded Collie||Scotland||Companion dog||Small||Herding||15 to 25 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|51||Cairn Terrier||Scotland||Companion dog||Small||Terrier||15 to 25 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|52||Kerry Blue Terrier||Ireland||Herding dog||Medium||Terrier||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|53||Irish Setter||Ireland||Hunting dog||Large||Sporting||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|54||Norwegian Elkhound||Norway||Herding dog||Medium||Hound||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|55||Affenpinscher||Germany||Companion dog||Small||Toy breed||15 to 25 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|56||Australian Silky Terrier||Australia||Companion dog||Small||Toy breed||15 to 25 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|57||Miniature Pinscher||Germany||Companion dog||Small||Toy breed||15 to 25 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|58||English Setter||England||Hunting dog||Medium||Sporting||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|59||Pharaoh Hound||Britan||Hunting dog||Medium||Hound||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|60||Clumber Spaniel||England||Hunting dog||Medium||Sporting||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|61||Norwich Terrier||UK||Companion dog||Small||Terrier||15 to 25 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|62||Dalmatian||Crotia||Companion dog||Large||Non-sporting||15 to 25 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|63||Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier||Ireland||Companion dog||Medium||Terrier||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|64||Bedlington Terrier||England||Companion dog||Small||Terrier||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|65||Smooth Fox Terrier||England||Companion dog||Small||Terrier||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|66||Curly Coated Retriever||England||Hunting dog||Medium||Sporting||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Good|
|67||Irish Wolfhound||Ireland||Hunting dog||Large||Hound||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Ok|
|68||Kuvasz||Hungary||Herding dog||Medium||Working||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|69||Australian Shepherd||USA||Herding dog||Medium||Herding||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|70||Saluki||Fertile cresent||Hunting dog||Large||Hound||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|71||Finnish Spitz||Finland||Hunting dog||Large||Non-sporting||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|72||Pointer||England||Hunting dog||Large||Sporting||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|73||Cavalier King Charles Spaniel||UK||Companion dog||Small||Toy breed||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|74||German Wirehaired Pointer||Germany||Hunting dog||Medium||Sporting||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|75||Black and Tan Coonhound||USA||Hunting dog||Medium||Hound||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|76||American Water Spaniel||USA||Hunting dog||Medium||Hound||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|77||Siberian Husky||Russia||Working dog||Medium||Working||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|78||Bichon Frise||France||Companion dog||Small||Non-sporting||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|79||Havanese||Cuba||Companion dog||Small||Toy breed||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|80||King Charles Spaniel||Britan||Companion dog||Small||Toy breed||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|81||Tibetan Spaniel||Tibet||Companion dog||Small||Non-sporting||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|82||English Foxhound||England||Hunting dog||Large||Hound||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|83||Otterhound||UK||Hunting dog||Medium||Hound||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|84||Jack Russell Terrier||England||Hunting dog||Medium||Terrier||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|85||American Foxhound||USA||Hunting dog||Large||Hound||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|86||Greyhound||Europe||Hunting dog||Large||Hound||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|87||Wirehaired Pointing Griffon||Germany||Hunting dog||Medium||Sporting||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|88||West Highland White Terrier||Scotland||Companian dog||Small||Terrier||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|89||Scottish Deerhound||Scotland||Hunting dog||Large||Hound||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Good|
|90||Boxer||Germany||Guard dog||Medium||Working||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|91||Great Dane||Germany||Hunting dog||Large||Working||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Good|
|92||Dachshund||Germany||Hunting dog||Small||Hound||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|93||Shiba Inu||Japan||Hunting dog||Medium||Non-sporting||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|94||Staffordshire Bull Terrier||England||Hunting dog||Small||Terrier||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|95||Alaskan Malamute||USA||Working dog||Large||Working||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|96||Whippet||England||Hunting dog||Large||Hound||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|97||Chinese Shar Pei||China||Companian dog||Medium||Non-sporting||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|98||Wire Fox Terrier||England||Hunting dog||Medium||Terrier||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|99||Rhodesian Ridgeback||Africa||Hunting dog||Medium||Hound||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|100||Ibizan Hound||Spain||Hunting dog||Large||Hound||25 to 40 repetitions||Not suited||Excellent|
|101||Welsh Terrier||Wales||Hunting dog||Small||Terrier||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|102||Irish Terrier||Ireland||Hunting dog||Small||Terrier||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|103||Boston Terrier||USA||Hunting dog||Small||Non-sporting||25 to 40 repetitions||Suited||Excellent|
|104||Akita||Japan||Working dog||Large||Working||25 to 40 repetitions.||Not suited||Excellent|
|105||Skye Terrier||Scotland||Hunting dog||Small||Terrier||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|106||Norfolk Terrier||Britan||Hunting dog||Small||Terrier||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|107||Sealyham Terrier||Wales||Hunting dog||Small||Terrier||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|108||Pug||China||Companian dog||Small||Toy breed||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|109||French Bulldog||France||Companian dog||Small||Non-sporting||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|110||Griffon Bruxellois||Belgium||Companian dog||Small||Toy breed||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|111||Maltese||Italy||Companian dog||Small||Toy breed||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|112||Italian Greyhound||Italy||Companian dog||Large||Toy breed||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Not suited||Good|
|113||Coton de Tulear||France||Companian dog||Small||Non-sporting||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|114||Chinese Crested Dog||Britan||Companian dog||Small||Toy breed||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|115||Dandie Dinmont Terrier||Scotland||Hunting dog||Small||Terrier||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|116||Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen||France||Hunting dog||Small||Hound||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Not suited||Excellent|
|117||Tibetan Terrier||Tibet||Companian dog||Small||Non-sporting||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|118||Japanese Chin||Japan||Companian dog||Small||40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|119||Lakeland Terrier||UK||Hunting dog||Small||Terrier||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|120||Old English Sheepdog||England||Herding dog||Small||Herding||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Not suited||Excellent|
|121||Great Pyrenees||Spain||Hunting dog||Medium||Working||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Not suited||Excellent|
|122||Scottish Terrier||Scotland||Hunting dog||Small||Terrier||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Not suited||Excellent|
|123||Saint Bernard||Italy||Guard dog||Large||Working||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Not suited||Good|
|124||Bull Terrier||England||Hunting dog||Medium||Terrier||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Not suited||Excellent|
|125||Chihuahua||Mexico||Companian dog||Small||Toy breed||40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|126||Lhasa Apso||Tibet||Companian dog||Small||Toy breed||40 to 80 repetitions.||Suited||Excellent|
|127||Bullmastiff||UK||Working dog||Medium||Working||ÿ40 to 80 repetitions.||Not suited||Good|
|128||Shih Tzu||China||Companian dog||Medium||Toy breed||80 to 100 repetitions or more.||Suited||Excellent|
|129||Basset Hound||France||Hunting dog||Small||Hound||80 to 100 repetitions or more.||Not suited||Excellent|
|130||English mastiff||England||Hunting dog||Large||Mastiff||80 to 100 repetitions or more.||Not suited||Good|
|131||Beagle||England||Hunting dog||Medium||Hound||80 to 100 repetitions or more.||Not suited||Excellent|
|132||Pekingese||China||Companian dog||Small||Toy breed||80 to 100 repetitions or more.||Suited||Excellent|
|133||Bloodhound||Belgium||Hunting dog||Large||Hound||80 to 100 repetitions or more.||Not suited||Good|
|134||Borzoi||Russia||Hunting dog||Large||Hound||80 to 100 repetitions or more.||Not suited||Excellent|
|135||Chow Chow||China||Companian dog||Small||Non-sporting||80 to 100 repetitions or more.||Suited||Excellent|
|136||Bulldog||England||Guard dog||Small||Non-sporting||80 to 100 repetitions or more.||Suited||Excellent|
|137||Basenji||Britan||Hunting dog||Medium||Hound||80 to 100 repetitions or more.||Not suited||Excellent|
|138||Afghan Hound||Afghanistan||Hunting dog||Large||Hound||80 to 100 repetitions or more.||Not suited||Excellent|
How do we determine the smartest dog breeds and dumbest dogs?
Why do we say some dog breeds are smart and others dumb? What traits make a dog intelligent? What factors should one consider when determining the smartest breed versus the dumbest? Answering these questions will help us set the benchmark for gauging dog intelligence.
Coren uses three aspects to define a dog’s intelligence.
- Instinctive intelligence – Dog’s ability to perform tasks intended for the breed.
- Adaptive intelligence – Dog’s ability to solve problems on its own.
- Working and obedience intelligence – Dog’s ability to learn from people.
The origins of the dog’s intelligence
Several 1000 years of selective breeding has made dogs smart. The domestic dog has diversified into several distinct breeds. Selectively bred, these dog breeds fulfill several roles.
The very first dog was a hunting dog and a guard dog, living around human settlements. Since then, dogs have adapted to living with people. Unlike most other domestic animals, dogs can understand humans. Dogs are capable of understanding our emotions, feelings, and body language.
All of us have enjoyed the unconditional love and unwavering loyalty from our dogs. This uncanny ability to understand is what makes them smart.
Today, 100s of dog breeds exist. We have a dog breed for every possible role, police dog, herding dog, therapy dog, family dog, war dog, military dog, to name a few.
Top 10 smartest dogs in the world
These breeds are the nerds of the doggie world. They are the world’s brightest dog breeds.
#10 Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog or ACD is a Cattle dog from Down Under. This dog is a breed of herding dog developed for droving cattle over long distances. The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium-sized dog with exceptional intelligence.
What makes the Australian Cattle Dog intelligent?
- The Australian Cattle Dog excels in obedience training drills and is capable of learning new commands quickly.
- This dog excels in dog sports, learning and performing new tricks, and in obedience command trainability.
- This dog is one of the world’s best cattle herding dogs. They consistently perform well in Kennel Club sponsored herding trails.
Rotties are the bad boys of the doggie world. Bad boys not because of the breed but because of the people who own this dog. Despite ranking #9 in the list of smartest dog breeds in the world, Rottweilers have a reputation for being aggressive and consistently ranks within the top 10 most dangerous dogs in the world.
Rottweiler is a large breed of dog from Germany. They are an ancient breed of herding dog. Intense loyalty, instinctively protective, highly intelligent, and an intimidating presence are the hallmarks of this beautiful dog.
In the hands of a seasoned dog owner, a Rottweiler can flourish. Due to its intelligence, this dog fulfills multiple roles such as a guard dog, police dog, protection dog, cattle dog, and military dog.
What makes the Rottweiler intelligent?
- A study found that Rottweilers can learn and obey a new command within five repetitions.
- According to the American Kennel Club, Rotties have a natural ability to gather a flock. They are capable of working independently of any supervision.
- Some herders rely on Rottweilers to herd stubborn cattle that do not budge to other herding dogs.
- This breed also excels in dog sports, obedience training, and trails, and dog agility.
#8 Papillon dog
The Papillon or the Continental Toy Spaniel is an exciting and intelligent toy breed. Papillion derives its name from its butterfly-like hair on its ears. This dog breed is one of the oldest toy spaniels from Belgium.
Papillion dog is a great family dog and an excellent pet. They love kids and is an affectionate breed of dog. If you are looking for a loving and intelligent dog, the Papillon is the dog for you.
Papillons have a single coat and do well in warm weather. Their fur does not give them protection during cold winters. Hence they will need additional protection.
What makes the Papillon dog intelligent?
- A study found that Papillon can learn new commands and tricks quickly compared to other toy breeds.
- Several studies conducted on dog intelligence rank this breed in the top 10 brightest dogs in the world.
- People who own this dog talk about this dog’s ability to read their minds and emotions. A Papillon can exhibit behavior based on its owner’s state of mind.
#7 Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever is the world’s most popular dog. According to the American Kennel Club, Lab is the most popular dog in the US based on registration. The popularity of this breed is due to its intelligence, trainability, and its temperament.
Labrador Retriever is the breed of choice for disability assistance. Several children hospitals partner with Kennel Clubs to make use of the Lab as a therapy dog.
Labrador is a hunting dog and a gun dog. They enjoy being in the water and retrieving the gamefowl. This dog is also a great family dog and loves being with people, especially kids.
What makes the Labrador Retriever dog intelligent?
- Labrador Retrievers are one of the most trainable dogs in the world. They learn new commands quickly and are capable of reliably obeying a new command with less than five repetitions.
- This dog breeds intelligence enables them to excel in obedience training and trails.
- Police forces around the world rely on this dog’s sense of smell to track and prevent the smuggling of banned substances.
#6 Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog is a small herding dog from Scotland. The Shetland Sheepdog or the Shetland Collie is a descendant of the Rough Collie. Several studies on dog intelligence consistently rank Collie as the smartest dog in the world. This breed inherits that trait from its intelligent ancestor.
Dr. Stanley Coren’s study on dog intelligence ranks the Shetland Sheepdog as one of the brightest dogs in the world. As a working dog, this breed excels in dog sports such as agility, herding trials, and obedience trials. The Shetland Sheepdog is also a great family dog and a therapy dog.
What makes the Shetland Sheepdog intelligent?
- A study conducted by Dr. Stanely Coren revealed that this dog consistently obeys a command within five repetitions.
- This breed of dog is versatile and excels in several roles. This dog dominates dog sports such as dog agility competitions, tracking, herding dog competitions, and tracking.
- This dog is a descendant of the Collie. Collies are the smartest dogs in the world.
#5 Dobermann Pinscher
The next smartest dog is the iconic Dobermann Pinscher from Germany. Dobermann is an excellent guard dog and an intensely loyal companion dog.
Studies on dog’s intelligence rank Dobermanns as one of the smartest dog breeds in the world. Dobermanns excel in obedience training and trails.
Attacks by Dobermann on people are due to inexperienced and novice handlers, who don’t have sufficient experience in managing a large dog. At the hands of an experienced owner, this fearsome dog can be a great family pet.
What makes the Dobermann intelligent?
- Experts like Tortora and Hart and Hart, through scientific research, found Dobermanns to be extremely intelligent.
- Dobermann is not only a guard dog but can perform several roles. Several police forces across the globe use Dobermanns in their K9 units as a police dog.
- Cappy, a Dobermann with the US Marines army, saved 250 Marines’ lives by alerting them of an imminent attack.
#4 Golden Retriever
Golden Retriever is a medium-large gun dog from Scotland. They are one of the world’s most loved dogs. Balanced temperament, intelligence, and willingness to please are the hallmarks of this breed.
Goldens, like the Labrador Retriever, retrievers shot waterfowls. They love getting the feet wet (literally) and enjoy being in the water. Goldens are smart dogs and are capable of performing several roles.
Golden Retriever excels as a disability assistance dog, detection dog, search and rescue dog, a guide dog, and a great family dog. In short, their intelligence enables them to adapt and perform a wide range of tasks.
What makes the Golden Retriever intelligent?
- Goldens are a versatile breed. They are capable of learning and performing a wide range of tasks.
- A study found that this breed can learn a new command with less than five repetitions.
#3 German Shepherd Dog
German Shepherd Dog or GSD is another well-known and well-loved breed. GSD is the original police dog and is part of most elite K-9 units in the world.
During the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, Appollo, a German Shepherd from the New York Policy Department (NYPD) and its handler Peter Davis were the first K-9 unit to respond. On that sad day, Appollo helped rescue several people. For his bravery, Appollo received the Dickin Medal.
German Shepherd is an icon, a symbol of courage and bravery, a dog with exceptional intelligence, and unwavering loyalty. This dog’s intelligence is akin to a human child.
What makes the German Shepherd intelligent?
- Several Kennel Clubs, including the American Kennel Club breed standard, emphasizes intelligence as a requirement.
- This breed is versatile and excels in several service roles. This dog also makes a great companion dog.
- German Shepherd excels as a search and rescue, cadaver search, narcotics detection, mine detection, therapy dog, and as a herding dog.
The Poodle is a small breed of dogs from France/German. The modern-day Poodle is a cherished companion dog. Poodles are exceptionally intelligent dogs that are capable of forming long-lasting bonds with their human families.
Due to their intelligence, Poodles are capable of performing several roles. They are easy to train, eager to learn, easy to maintain (hypoallergenic), and a smart dog.
Studies on dog intelligence often rank Poodle among the brightest dogs in the world. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) defines Poodle’s temperament as a highly intelligent, energetic, and sociable breed.
What makes the Poodle intelligent?
- Poodles are a complete package and capable of performing several roles.
- Poodles also excel in dog sports and dog agility competitions where other breeds participate.
- Studies on canine intelligence consistently rank Poodles among the top five smartest dog breeds in the world.
#1 Border Collie
Meet the Border Collie, the smartest dog breed on the planet. Border Collie is a herding dog from the United Kingdom. High energy, human-like intelligence, acrobatic, and athletic are the hallmarks of this dog breed.
Border Collies are energetic and require tons of exercise; combined with high intelligence when left alone, they are prone to boredom. In the hands of experienced handlers, Border Collies excel.
American Border Collie Association recommends physical exercise to owners before they adopt Border Collies as a household pet.
What makes the Border Collie intelligent?
- Border Collies excel in several dog sports. They consistently outperform other breeds in herding trials.
- Border Collies are intelligent and are capable of managing their herd on their own with little help from its human master.
- Research on dog intelligence consistently ranks Border Collies as the brightest dog in the world.
Is my dog dumb?
Smartest dogs are the ones that ranked high in all of these factors. In our view, there are no dumb dogs. Every dog breed is smart, and each breed fulfills a specific purpose. Coren’s dog’s intelligence ranking consistently ranks hounds as being the dumbest.
If you own a hound, don’t be dismayed. The test is what determines the smartness. Once you change, the testbed tables get turned quickly. Hounds follow their senses and instincts. These dogs follow their noses or their sight that does not make them dumb breed.
A hunting dog can sniff and track almost anything. These dog breeds are keen to follow their instincts and sense more than commands. Just because they don’t respond well to obedience training does not make them dumb.
The smartest dog breed is the one that can fulfill its purpose and fills your heart.
Dogs with the lowest intelligence. Dumbest dogs of the world
The following dog breeds rank lower in most canine intelligence tests. You will notice a pattern. These dogs have a stubborn character and follow their instincts more often than a command.
#11 Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu is a small companion dog from Tibet. We, humans, like to groom their hair into different patterns, dress them up, and celebrate them. Shih Tzu is a loving dog, affectionate, and alert.
Unlike most other dogs, Shih Tzu is a stubborn dog. Keep your training sessions short but frequent. Long training sessions frustrates these dogs. Don’t be fooled by their small size as they can be possessive, especially around larger dogs.
#10 Basset Hound
The next dog in our list of dumbest dogs in the world is the Basset Hound. This dog is a scent hound and relies on their sense of smell to track down their prey.
Basset Hound is a hunting dog, selectively bred to follow their nose and not commands. When breeders choose a breeding pair, they look for dogs that can track a scent. Obedience is not as crucial as this dog’s ability to track. Canine intelligence test relies on a dog’s ability to obey a command. Obedience isn’t the Basset Hound’s greatest strength.
Mastiffs are a group of dogs that are typically large, powerful, and guard dogs. Large bulky skull, drooping ears, and giant-size are the hallmarks of the Mastiff.
Breeders choose size, and intimidation over intelligence when selecting their breeding stock. You get a Mastiff when you want a large guard dog or a protection dog that can intimidate with its size and muscle power.
Beagle is a small, energetic scent hound from England. Beagle is one of the world’s best hunting and tracking dogs. With an exceptional sense of smell and unrelenting tracking instinct, a Beagle can find a mouse in a one-acre field in less than a minute.
It is their sense of smell that has earned them this dubious distinction of being dumb. These dogs follow their noses, and their instincts not command. While they fail in obedience trails, but they are second to none in tracking and detection trails.
The Pekingese is a peculiar looking dog with a long coat, flat face, small-size, and large round eyes from China. Their small size and adorable looks made them a preferred dog among Chinese royalty.
This breed is a lap dog, and a companion dog and canine intelligence is not their forte. Breeders choose their breeding stock based on appearance than intelligence.
Bloodhound is a large scent hound bred for tracking scent trails over long distances. Bloodhound is the world’s best scent hound, capable of picking a scent and tracking it even if it is few days old.
K-9 units throughout the world employ Bloodhounds as a human tracking dog to track down escaped prisoners. When a Bloodhound gets on a scent, they usually find their target.
Borzoi is an exceptionally fast and agile sighthound from Russia. Also known as the Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi excels in the dog sport of coursing.
These large dogs rely on their exceptional vision to chase their prey. Tall, sleek, and built aerodynamically, Borzois can run up to a top speed of 36 mph.
#4 Chow Chow
Chow Chow is a medium-sized ancient dog from China. Historical records indicate that the Chinese people used Chow Chows as a sled dog. Today, this breed is a companion dog.
Chow Chows have a cat-like personality as they are neither timid or too aggressive. These dogs also groom themselves regularly.
The Bulldog or the British Bulldog or English Bulldog is a medium-sized, muscular dog from England. Bulldog is a popular pet across the world. It is the fifth most popular dog in the US, according to the American Kennel Club.
The name Bulldog originates from the bloody sport of bull-baiting. Dogs that pinned tethered bulls by holding the bull’s nose won the competition. Today, the Bulldog is a loyal companion dog.
Basenji dog is a unique and ancient hunting dog from Africa. Basenji’s are among a handful of dogs that don’t bark, rather these dogs yodel and are called the barkless dog.
The United Kennel Club classifies this dog in the sighthound and pariah group. The American Kennel Club describes them as alert, energetic, and reserved with strangers.
#1 Afghan Hound
Afghan Hound or the Tazi Spay originates from the cold Himalayan mountain regions of Afghanistan. They are a large breed of sighthound that excels in hare coursing.
Studies on canine intelligence frequently rank the Afghan Hound as the least trainable dog in the world. This dog has the dubious distinction of being the dumbest dog in the world.
Have you ever wondered what makes dogs smart? How does their brain work? Dogs are intelligent. By intelligence, we mean they have advanced memory, being able to read and react to our body language, understand, and obey commands.
We have several studies and extensive scientific research done to understand canine intelligence. These studies focus widely on the following areas.
- Social cognition
- Emotional Intelligence
- Problem Solving
- Learning by inference
- Theory of mind
Dog’s perception is its ability to comprehend its environment. Dogs rely on their sense of smell, vision, hearing, taste, and touch to feel their world. Research also indicates that certain dog breeds are capable of sensing the earth’s magnetic field.
Awareness is a dog’s ability to understand the existence of objects, even if they are not able to see them.
Social cognition is an area of a dog’s intelligence where they learn by watching dogs or humans. A pup from its early stage through to adulthood learns by observation and reinforcement.
Memory is a dog’s ability to remember and recall events, commands, or cues.
All dog lovers would have experienced this aspect of a dog’s intelligence. Dogs are capable of complex emotions such as jealousy and anticipation.
Studies have shown that dogs are capable of problem-solving. Dog’s reliance on humans has diminished their problem-solving ability. One study revealed that wild Dingoes intuitively solve problems. In contrast, domesticated dogs turn to humans in the face of complex issues.
Learning by inference
Dogs can learn by watching other dogs. They can infer what others are doing and can learn to do the same.
Theory of mind
Theory of mind is a dog’s ability to attribute mental states such as beliefs, intents, desires, deceptions, and knowledge. Studies are underway to prove the theory of mind in dogs.
Other notable smart breeds
Stan Coren’s list of breed intelligence includes the below dogs under the Excellent Working Dogs category. In obedience trials, these dogs understood new commands with 5 to 15 repetitions.
#1 Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a cattle herding dog from Wales. Corgi means a dwarf dog, indicating this dog’s short appearance. Pembroke is a highly intelligent herding dog capable of managing its flock with little help from its master. Pembroke is eager to work and please its master and is one of the world’s best herding dogs.
#2 Miniature Schnauzer
The Miniature Schnauzer is a small-sized, Schnauzer type dog from Germany. This dog is an excellent ratting dog that lives in farms keeping rats at bay. Highly trainable, extremely intelligent, the Miniature Schnauzer is a useful farm dog.
#3 English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer Spaniel is a gun dog from England. They are a Spaniel used for flushing and retrieving game.
Breeders prefer dogs that are trainable and can obey cues and commands reliably. This selectively breeding process has made this breed one of the most reliable gun dogs in the world.
#4 Tervuren dog
Tervuren or the Belgian Shepherd dog is a medium-sized herding dog from Belgium. These dogs are obedient, trainable, and have limitless energy making them an excellent herding dog. Herders control these dogs using whistles and cues. Hence these dogs need intelligence to learn these cues and obey commands without hesitation.
Schipperke is a small Belgian breed of a companion dog. They are Spitz-type dog that also excels as a herding dog.
The Schipperke is a brilliant dog capable of remembering several commands and cues. Like the Indian Spitz, this dog is a formidable barker and is a noisy breed.
#6 Belgian Sheepdog
Groenendael or the Belgian Sheepdog is a medium-sized dog for Belgium. These dogs excel in dog sports such as agility trials, obedience competitions, flyball, and herding trials.
Collie is a group of dogs that includes the smartest dog in the world, the Border Collie. Collie is a herding dog with unwavering loyalty towards its flock.
Collies are a preferred herding dog across the world. They are popular in the USA, Australia, and England.
Keeshond is a medium-sized, Spitz-type dog from Holland. This dog is very bright in work and obedience. Studies in dogs intelligence rank this dog among the smartest dogs in the world.
#9 German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a large-sized working dog from Germany. The primary purpose of this breed is as a gun dog. They are equally adept in water and land. Large and powerful this gun dog can retrieve even large prey.
#10 Flat-coated Retriever
The Flat-coated Retriever is a gun dog from England. These dogs resemble Golden Retrievers but have a black coat. This breed is a versatile, multitalented bird dog that also excels as a family pet. Highly trainable, obedient, and loyal, the Flat-coated Retriever is an intelligent dog.
Conclusion: Smartest dog breeds in the world
All dog lovers will unilaterally agree, the world is a better place because of them. All our dogs are smart, lovable, and loyal. It is not fair to compare a dog like German Shepherd with Afghan Hound and proclaim one dog is better than the other.
Dogs are like us, capable of learning and applying what they learned to solve everyday problems. We still don’t fully understand how a dog’s brain comprehends its environment.
What we love about dogs is their unpredictable nature, their loyalty, and unconditional love. Smart or dumb, intelligent, or unintelligent, there is nothing that can replace a dog.