Introduction: Smartest dog breeds in the world

Smart Dog Breed

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.

How do we determine the smartest dog breeds and dumbest dogs?

Smart dog versus dumb

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.

Stanley Coren, a professor of canine psychology, is the leading authority in canine intelligence. In his book, The Intelligence of Dogs, he answers the above questions.

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 

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

Australian Cattle Dog Herding

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?

Australian Cattle Dog Happy
  • 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.

#9 Rottweiler 

Rottweiler Dog running

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? 

Rottweiler Dog
  • 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

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?

Papillon
  • 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

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 Swimming
  • 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

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?

Shetland Sheepdog Profile
  • 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

Dobermann

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. 

Like the Rottweiler, Dobermann is stubborn and has a reputation for being a dangerous dog. When Karl Friedrich Louis developed this breed, he was looking for an ultimate guard dog. 

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?

Dobermann Pinscher
  • 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

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?

Golden Retriever Playing
  • 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 father and son

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? 

German Shepherd puppies
  • 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.

#2 Poddle 

Poodle dogs

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? 

Poodle Puppy
  • 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 

Border Collie Dog

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 Collie Profile
  • 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.

138 Smartest dog breeds in the world with rank

RankDog breedCountry of originTypeSizeAKC ClassificationUnderstanding of new commandsApartment LivingHealth
1Border CollieUKWorking and herding dog breedMediumHerdingFewer than 5 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
2PoodleGermanyCompanion dogSmallNon-sportingFewer than 5 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
3German Shepherd DogGermanyWorking and herding dog breedLargeHerdingFewer than 5 repetitionsNot suitedGood
4Golden RetrieverUKHunting dogLargeSportingFewer than 5 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
5Doberman PinscherGermanyGuard dogLargeWorkingFewer than 5 repetitionsNot suitedGood
6Shetland SheepdogScotlandHerding dogMediumHerdingFewer than 5 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
7Labrador RetrieverUKHunting dogLargeSportingFewer than 5 repetitionsNot suitedGood
8PapillonBelgiumCompanion dogSmallToy breedFewer than 5 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
9RottweilerGermanyHerding dogLargeSportingFewer than 5 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
10Australian Cattle DogAustraliaHerding dogMediumSportingFewer than 5 repetitionsNot suitedGood
11Pembroke Welsh CorgiUKHerding dogSmallSporting5 to 15 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
12Miniature SchnauzerGermanyRating dogSmallTerrier5 to 15 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
13English Springer SpanielUKHunting dogMediumSporting5 to 15 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
14Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervuren)BelgiumHerding dogMediumSporting5 to 15 repetitionsNot suitedGood
15SchipperkeBelgiumHerding dogSmallNon-sporting5 to 15 repetitionsSuitedGood
16Belgian SheepdogBelgiumHerding dogMediumHerding5 to 15 repetitionsNot suitedGood
17CollieUKHerding dogMediumHerding5 to 15 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
18KeeshondGermanyCompanion dogSmallNon-sporting5 to 15 repetitionsSuitedGood
19German Shorthaired PointerGermanyHunting dogMediumSporting5 to 15 repetitionsNot suitedOk
20Flat-Coated RetrieverEnglandHunting dogMediumSporting5 to 15 repetitionsNot suitedGood
21English Cocker SpanielEnglandHunting dogLargeSporting5 to 15 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
22Standard SchnauzerGermanyWorking dogMediumWorking5 to 15 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
23BrittanyFranceHunting dogMediumSporting5 to 15 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
24Cocker SpanielAmericaHunting dogLargeSporting5 to 15 repetitionsNot suitedGood
25WeimaranerGermanyHunting dogLargeSporting5 to 15 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
26Belgian MalinoisBelgiumService dogLargeHerding5 to 15 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
27Bernese Mountain DogSwitzerlandHerding dogLargeWorking5 to 15 repetitionsNot suitedOk
28PomeranianPomeraniaCompanion dogSmallToy breed5 to 15 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
29Irish Water SpanielIrelandHunting dogLargeSporting5 to 15 repetitionsNot suitedGood
30VizslaHungaryCompanion dogMediumSporting5 to 15 repetitionsSuitedGood
31Cardigan Welsh CorgiWalesCompanion dogSmallHerding5 to 15 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
32Chesapeake Bay RetrieverUSAHunting dogLargeSporting15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
33PuliHungaryHerding dogSmallHerding15 to 25 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
34Yorkshire TerrierEnglandCompanion dogSmallToy breed15 to 25 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
35Giant SchnauzerGermanyGuard dogMediumWorking15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
36Portuguese Water DogPortugalCompanion dogMediumWorking15 to 25 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
37Airedale TerrierEnglandHunting dogMediumTerrier15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
38Bouvier des FlandresFranceHerding dogMediumHerding15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
39Border TerrierEnglandHunting dogMediumTerrier15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
40BriardFranceCompanion dogMediumHerding15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
41Welsh Springer SpanielWalesCompanion dogMediumSporting15 to 25 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
42Australian ShepherdUSAHerding dogLargeHerding15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
43Manchester TerrierEnglandCompanion dogMediumTerrier15 to 25 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
44SamoyedSiberiaHerding dogSmallWorking15 to 25 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
45Field SpanielEnglandHunting dogSmallSporting15 to 25 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
46NewfoundlandCanadaCompanion dogLargeWorking15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedGood
47Australian TerrierAustraliaCompanion dogSmallTerrier15 to 25 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
48American Staffordshire TerrierUSACompanion dogMediumTerrier15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
49Gordon SetterScotlandHunting dogMediumSporting15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
50Bearded CollieScotlandCompanion dogSmallHerding15 to 25 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
51Cairn TerrierScotlandCompanion dogSmallTerrier15 to 25 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
52Kerry Blue TerrierIrelandHerding dogMediumTerrier15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
53Irish SetterIrelandHunting dogLargeSporting15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
54Norwegian ElkhoundNorwayHerding dogMediumHound15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
55AffenpinscherGermanyCompanion dogSmallToy breed15 to 25 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
56Australian Silky TerrierAustraliaCompanion dogSmallToy breed15 to 25 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
57Miniature PinscherGermanyCompanion dogSmallToy breed15 to 25 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
58English SetterEnglandHunting dogMediumSporting15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
59Pharaoh HoundBritanHunting dogMediumHound15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
60Clumber SpanielEnglandHunting dogMediumSporting15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
61Norwich TerrierUKCompanion dogSmallTerrier15 to 25 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
62DalmatianCrotiaCompanion dogLargeNon-sporting15 to 25 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
63Soft-coated Wheaten TerrierIrelandCompanion dogMediumTerrier25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
64Bedlington TerrierEnglandCompanion dogSmallTerrier25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
65Smooth Fox TerrierEnglandCompanion dogSmallTerrier25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
66Curly Coated RetrieverEnglandHunting dogMediumSporting25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedGood
67Irish WolfhoundIrelandHunting dogLargeHound25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedOk
68KuvaszHungaryHerding dogMediumWorking25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
69Australian ShepherdUSAHerding dogMediumHerding25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
70SalukiFertile cresentHunting dogLargeHound25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
71Finnish SpitzFinlandHunting dogLargeNon-sporting25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
72PointerEnglandHunting dogLargeSporting25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
73Cavalier King Charles SpanielUKCompanion dogSmallToy breed25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
74German Wirehaired PointerGermanyHunting dogMediumSporting25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
75Black and Tan CoonhoundUSAHunting dogMediumHound25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
76American Water SpanielUSAHunting dogMediumHound25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
77Siberian HuskyRussiaWorking dogMediumWorking25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
78Bichon FriseFranceCompanion dogSmallNon-sporting25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
79HavaneseCubaCompanion dogSmallToy breed25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
80King Charles SpanielBritanCompanion dogSmallToy breed25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
81Tibetan SpanielTibetCompanion dogSmallNon-sporting25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
82English FoxhoundEnglandHunting dogLargeHound25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
83OtterhoundUKHunting dogMediumHound25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
84Jack Russell TerrierEnglandHunting dogMediumTerrier25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
85American FoxhoundUSAHunting dogLargeHound25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
86GreyhoundEuropeHunting dogLargeHound25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
87Wirehaired Pointing GriffonGermanyHunting dogMediumSporting25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
88West Highland White TerrierScotlandCompanian dogSmallTerrier25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
89Scottish DeerhoundScotlandHunting dogLargeHound25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedGood
90BoxerGermanyGuard dogMediumWorking25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
91Great DaneGermanyHunting dogLargeWorking25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedGood
92DachshundGermanyHunting dogSmallHound25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
93Shiba InuJapanHunting dogMediumNon-sporting25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
94Staffordshire Bull TerrierEnglandHunting dogSmallTerrier25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
95Alaskan MalamuteUSAWorking dogLargeWorking25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
96WhippetEnglandHunting dogLargeHound25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
97Chinese Shar PeiChinaCompanian dogMediumNon-sporting25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
98Wire Fox TerrierEnglandHunting dogMediumTerrier25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
99Rhodesian RidgebackAfricaHunting dogMediumHound25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
100Ibizan HoundSpainHunting dogLargeHound25 to 40 repetitionsNot suitedExcellent
101Welsh TerrierWalesHunting dogSmallTerrier25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
102Irish TerrierIrelandHunting dogSmallTerrier25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
103Boston TerrierUSAHunting dogSmallNon-sporting25 to 40 repetitionsSuitedExcellent
104AkitaJapanWorking dogLargeWorking25 to 40 repetitions.Not suitedExcellent
105Skye TerrierScotlandHunting dogSmallTerrierÿ40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
106Norfolk TerrierBritanHunting dogSmallTerrierÿ40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
107Sealyham TerrierWalesHunting dogSmallTerrierÿ40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
108PugChinaCompanian dogSmallToy breedÿ40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
109French BulldogFranceCompanian dogSmallNon-sportingÿ40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
110Griffon BruxelloisBelgiumCompanian dogSmallToy breedÿ40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
111MalteseItalyCompanian dogSmallToy breedÿ40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
112Italian GreyhoundItalyCompanian dogLargeToy breedÿ40 to 80 repetitions.Not suitedGood
113Coton de TulearFranceCompanian dogSmallNon-sportingÿ40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
114Chinese Crested DogBritanCompanian dogSmallToy breedÿ40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
115Dandie Dinmont TerrierScotlandHunting dogSmallTerrierÿ40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
116Petit Basset Griffon VendéenFranceHunting dogSmallHoundÿ40 to 80 repetitions.Not suitedExcellent
117Tibetan TerrierTibetCompanian dogSmallNon-sportingÿ40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
118Japanese ChinJapanCompanian dogSmall40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
119Lakeland TerrierUKHunting dogSmallTerrierÿ40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
120Old English SheepdogEnglandHerding dogSmallHerdingÿ40 to 80 repetitions.Not suitedExcellent
121Great PyreneesSpainHunting dogMediumWorkingÿ40 to 80 repetitions.Not suitedExcellent
122Scottish TerrierScotlandHunting dogSmallTerrierÿ40 to 80 repetitions.Not suitedExcellent
123Saint BernardItalyGuard dogLargeWorkingÿ40 to 80 repetitions.Not suitedGood
124Bull TerrierEnglandHunting dogMediumTerrierÿ40 to 80 repetitions.Not suitedExcellent
125ChihuahuaMexicoCompanian dogSmallToy breed40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
126Lhasa ApsoTibetCompanian dogSmallToy breed40 to 80 repetitions.SuitedExcellent
127BullmastiffUKWorking dogMediumWorkingÿ40 to 80 repetitions.Not suitedGood
128Shih TzuChinaCompanian dogMediumToy breed80 to 100 repetitions or more.SuitedExcellent
129Basset HoundFranceHunting dogSmallHound80 to 100 repetitions or more.Not suitedExcellent
130English mastiffEnglandHunting dogLargeMastiff80 to 100 repetitions or more.Not suitedGood
131BeagleEnglandHunting dogMediumHound80 to 100 repetitions or more.Not suitedExcellent
132PekingeseChinaCompanian dogSmallToy breed80 to 100 repetitions or more.SuitedExcellent
133BloodhoundBelgiumHunting dogLargeHound80 to 100 repetitions or more.Not suitedGood
134BorzoiRussiaHunting dogLargeHound80 to 100 repetitions or more.Not suitedExcellent
135Chow ChowChinaCompanian dogSmallNon-sporting80 to 100 repetitions or more.SuitedExcellent
136BulldogEnglandGuard dogSmallNon-sporting80 to 100 repetitions or more.SuitedExcellent
137BasenjiBritanHunting dogMediumHound80 to 100 repetitions or more.Not suitedExcellent
138Afghan HoundAfghanistanHunting dogLargeHound80 to 100 repetitions or more.Not suitedExcellent

Is my dog dumb? 

Dumb puppy dog

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

Dumb dog infographic

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

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

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.

#9 Mastiff 

Basset Hound

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.

#8 Beagle

Beagle Dog

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.

#7 Pekingese

Pekingese Dog

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.

#6 Bloodhound 

Bloodhound

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.

#5 Borzoi 

Borzoi dog

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 dog

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.

#3 Bulldog 

English Bulldog

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.

#2 Basenji

Basenji 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

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.

This breed is the only sighthound that has a long coat on a lean and aerodynamic body. Afghan hounds excel in lure coursing and are also popular in the dog sport of conformation showing.

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.

Canine intelligence

Canine Intelligence

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.

  • Perception
  • Awareness
  • Social cognition
  • Memory
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Problem Solving
  • Learning by inference
  • Theory of mind

Perception

Dog perception

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 

Dog awareness

Awareness is a dog’s ability to understand the existence of objects, even if they are not able to see them.

Social Cognition

Dog social cognition

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

Dog Memory

Memory is a dog’s ability to remember and recall events, commands, or cues. 

Emotional Intelligence 

All dog lovers would have experienced this aspect of a dog’s intelligence. Dogs are capable of complex emotions such as jealousy and anticipation.

Problem Solving

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

Dog theory of mind

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

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

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

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 

Belgian Shepherd 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.

#5 Schipperke

Schipperke

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

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.

#7 Collie

Collie dog

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.

#8 Keeshond

Keeshond Dog

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

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

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

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.