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Discover the 10 dog breeds that are considered to be the smartest. The
Papillon (shown above) is No. 8 on the list.

Discover the 10 dog breeds that are considered to be the smartest. The
Papillon (shown above) is No. 8 on the list.

Image by birgl from Pixabay

My Dog Is Smarter Than Your Dog

We know that our pooch is definitely the smartest dog in the world; it’s just
that not everyone else realizes it. While all dogs are smart, some breeds are
inherently better able to learn and learn quicker than others. Generally
speaking, the average dog’s intelligence is about that of a 2-year-old human,
and the smarter dogs (those on my list) are said to have an intelligence
equivalent to a 2 1/2-year-old child.

Using reports from veterinary professionals and studies on the intelligence of
all breeds, my research has revealed that the following 10 breeds are
considered the “top dogs.”

Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

1. Border Collie

2. German Shepherd

3. Poodle

4. Golden Retriever

5. Doberman Pinscher

6. Shetland Sheepdog

7. Labrador Retriever

8. Papillon

9. Rottweiler

10. Australian Cattle Dog

Black and white Border Collie.

Black and white Border Collie.

Animalmad on FreeImages

1. The Border Collie

Time and time again, the Border Collie has ranked No. 1. They are hardworking
dogs with excellent work ethics. They were specifically bred to be intelligent
and obedient. Originating in the English-Scottish border regions, they are
excellent herders. Reportedly, the smartest dog in the world is a Border
Collie by the name of Chaser who can understand more than 1,000 English words.
She not only understands nouns and verbs, but also some prepositional phrases.


wikimedia commons

2. German Shepherd

Originally bred in Karlsruhe, Germany, German Shepherds were used for sheep
herding due to their intelligence and trainability. Because of the ease of
trainability, they are excellent for use as police dogs, guard dogs, and
military dogs. They have a very keen sense of smell and can detect underground
mines and leaks as far away as 15 feet. Because many German Shepherds are
trained as guard dogs, they are also found on the list of the most aggressive
dog breeds.


wikimedia commons

3. Poodle

The Poodle was standardized in France but actually originated in Germany where
it was known as the Pudelhund, which means “water dog.” They were bred to
retrieve in the water. Due to their special purpose, they have a water-
repellant coat. Their curly, dense hair also keeps them warm when they are
diving in the cold waters of Germany. Many consider them “sissy” dogs, but
Poodles have won numerous awards in dog shows and show a high level of


wikimedia commons

4. Golden Retriever

Originally bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century, Golden Retrievers were
designed by crossing water spaniels with already existing retrievers. This
created a breed that was excellent in retrieving birds from both land and
water. They learn commands quickly and are very obedient. They have what is
called a “soft mouth,” which means they retrieve fowl without doing damage to
the bird.


5. Doberman Pinscher

It is believed that the Doberman Pinscher originated in Germany around the
early 1900s. The origins of this breed may be attributed to a tax collector by
the name of Louis Dobermann who needed a guard dog to accompany him as he
collected taxes from unwilling taxpayers. The Doberman is easily trained and
quickly remembers what he has learned. They have excellent endurance and speed
and have excelled in training as police and guard dogs.


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6. Shetland Sheepdog

Affectionately known as the “sheltie,” Shetland Sheepdogs were bred to herd.
The actual origin of the sheltie is a bit unclear, but it is believed they are
descendants of the Scottish Collie and the King Charles Spaniel. They were
used to herd diminutive sheep on the Shetland Islands, thus their name. They
are highly intelligent, hardworking, and loyal dogs.

My Labrador retriever, Sadie.

My Labrador retriever, Sadie.

Public Domain Pictures

7. Labrador Retriever

This highly intelligent breed has been voted the most popular dog in the U.S.,
Australia, Canada, the U.K., and New Zealand for several consecutive years.
Brought to England in the early 1800s, they were bred primarily as game
retrievers for land as well as water. They are quick to learn commands and
retain the information quickly. They are very loyal dogs and love to please
their owners.


8. Papillon

Papillon is the French word for butterfly. The fringe on the ears is said to
resemble the wings of a butterfly, thus its name. The Papillon has an easy
time learning tricks and commands. These dogs have a high energy level and are
very playful. They are very good with children and enjoy learning and showing
off their new tricks. The Papillon excels in obedience and agility.

A Papillon named Kirby brought fame and attention to this breed by winning the
prestigious “Best in Show” at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 1998. He
also took Best in Show at the World Dog Show in Helsinki, Finland, and the
Royal Invitational in Canada.


9. Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is one of the descendants of the Roman drover dogs. They get
their name from a small town in Germany, Rottweil, where they were known as
Rottweiler Metzgerhund, which means Rottweil Butcher’s dog. They were used to
pull carts filled with butchered meat to the market. The butchers used to tie
their bags of money around the dog’s neck to protect it from thieves. These
dogs were also used as herders until the railway became the best way to move
cattle. Due to their higher-than-average intelligence, they are used as search
and rescue dogs, guide dogs, and police dogs.


10. Australian Cattle Dog

This dog is a breed of herding dogs that originated in Australia to herd
cattle through rugged terrain. They herd by nipping at the heels of the cattle
and were, therefore, nicknamed “heelers.” They are very energetic and
intelligent and respond well to challenging training, so they excel in
obedience competitions. They are also very agile dogs and do well in obstacle

Training and Treatment Matter, Too

A dog’s training and treatment are important factors, but these 10 breeds are
among the most easily trained. If you already have one of these dogs, you can
safely brag that he/she is one of the smartest dogs in the world!

© 2016 Sheila Brown


RTalloni on April 20, 2019:

Oooh. Your question is harder than one might think at first!

So for cuteness, the smart little papillon takes the cake. You just want to
reach in the picture and scoop that one up!

But I love the Rottweiler history. Tying the bags of money around their necks
surely did the trick every time, and if I really could feel safe around them,
well, for safety I would go for the brawn!

Have always love the friendly look of border collies, but the coloring of the
Aussie cattle dog is very appealing. All in all, they are all delightful
creatures and your article is a neat read. Thanks!

fionag1 on October 08, 2018:

You always forget the Australian Kelpie, which is actually ranked number one
with the border Collie, if not smarter than the border collie, as they
actually solve problems. Do your research on them, best dogs ever also one of
the most agile dogs you will ever see, watch you tube videos of the Kelpie
Muster, Casterton, Victoria, Australia.

Pam999 on August 07, 2018:

They are all beautiful dogs. I especially like Border Collies and Golden
retrievers. I had a Doberman a long time ago, and he was a smart dog, plus
grea with the kids. I truly enjoyed this article. Thanks.

Amelia on September 14, 2017:

Great Danes are probably number 5 in top ten smartest dogs

alessi on April 05, 2017:

for me rottweiler is the best dog ever

Michael Horsey on March 26, 2017:

One disagreement with your list. Jack Russell Terriers should rank in the Top
10 most intelligent dogs on any list. Some lists do include them often at #2,
but others exclude them entirely. This is not due to intelligence factor, but
their stubbornness. They learn very fast, a clear sign of their intelligence,
and the reason they often appear in dog shows. But like a 3 year old child,
they are alert to learn what you don’t want them to… like one of my boys
learning how to open the dishwasher so he can lick dirty plates. And while
they almost always know what you want them to do, their stubbornness overrides
their obedience and they opt to do what they want to do… like my 13 year old
girl who will always refuse to go outside when its raining. If intelligence
ranking is based on learning ability, then JRTs are #2. If it’s based on
willingness to promptly respond to a command, then the list is really about…
willingness to promptly respond to a command, and JRTs stubbornness will keep
them off the list.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on June 20, 2016:

We don’t have to tell him he was right! LOL I don’t know where the Great Dane
fits in, but I have heard that they are very intelligent dogs.

I’ve almost always had dogs and cats, but my last dog didn’t like cats so when
my last kitty died, I didn’t get another one.

Yes I do think the Australia Cattle dog looks a lot like a fox. I think it is
that narrow muzzle.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope all is well with you and yours! 🙂

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on June 17, 2016:

Thank you, Patricica! I have heard some of those “fish stories” about
someone’s pup and yes, you do have to wonder! Heinz 57 pups are really some of
the best dogs ever. I know our lab has us trained and she is soooo spoiled!
Thank you so much for stopping by once again and I always appreciate your
“angels”! I hope you and yours have a wonderful summer! 🙂

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 16, 2016:

Interesting article, Sheila. My ex-husband says Border Collies are the
greatest and smartest dogs in the world. Although I got sick of hearing him go
on about them, I guess he was right.

I wonder where Great Danes rank on this list? I had one in high school and
loved him to death. Best dog I’ve ever known. (As a grown up I’ve always had
cats and still do.)

The Australian Cattle dog looks very much like a fox, don’t you think?

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on June 16, 2016:

I love the heading you have ‘my dog is smarter than your dog.’ How clever.
Some do get into those bragging matches …and then proceed to tell some of
those stories usual relegated to the ‘fish story’ category.

You certainly shared some interesting facts about these lovely creatures. I
have a Heinz 57 variety pup and adore her. And she is very S-M-A-R-T!!!

She has ME trained.

Take care of you


Angels are on the way another time this day to you ps

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on June 05, 2016:

Thank you, Deb! I appreciate you stopping by! I hope you are having a good
spring! 🙂

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on May 31, 2016:

Great info that was quite to the point. I have been acquainted with several
dogs in these breeds and was impressed with their insight.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on May 25, 2016:

Hello, Audrey. I’m sure she is very smart, but I know she has an excellent
nose. Both these dog breeds are known for having an extremely keen sense of
smell. 🙂

Audrey Howitt from California on May 24, 2016:

So interesting! I have a mixed breed–shepherd and hound–I think she managed
to get the best of both breeds–she is as smart as a whip–but then I am

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on May 24, 2016:

Thank you, norlawrence. Dogs area one of my favorite topics, they are truly
“mans best friend”. I appreciate your kind comment. HubPages is a bit
different than most writing venues but I believe it is the best.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on May 24, 2016:

Hello, Linda. Thank you so much for your very kind comment. It is nice to meet
you as well! 🙂

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on May 24, 2016:

I’m glad to see that your favorite breed is on the list! German shepherds are
such good dogs! Thank you for stopping by and commenting! Have a great day! 🙂

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 23, 2016:

I like to have a German Shepherd they are smart and know how to safeguard a
home. My neighbor has one.

Norma Lawrence from California on May 23, 2016:

Great article. I love articles about dogs. I have submitted a few to Hub Pages
but they are not as great as your. I am still trying to find my way around
this site. It is a lot different than most. Keep up the good work.

Linda Robinson from Cicero, New York on May 23, 2016:

Hello Sheila loved your hub on dogs. It was packed with an abundance of
helpful information for any one interested and fascinated with the top most
intelligent breeds. You thoroughly covered the topic. So nice meeting you.

Sam Shepards from Europe on May 23, 2016:

Nice to see my favorite breed the german shepherd in the list! And yes indeed
border collies are insanely smart. I’ve also seen my shepherd do some amazing
feeds during the years. Tracking, finding home again via a route they’ve never
been before etc.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on May 23, 2016:

I have always had both cats and dogs. My last two dogs would not let a cat
come around. I have really missed having a cat. We recently lost our Siberian
husky, Meisha, to canine diabetes and old age. Our yellow lab is getting older
too. I think I am going “pet free” for a while. I can’t take the heart break!
Thank you for stopping by! 🙂

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on May 23, 2016:

LOL, Bill! I would know that even if you hadn’t told me. I enjoy your sense of
humor. Thank you for stopping by! 🙂

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on May 23, 2016:

Thank you, Faith Reaper! I am also partial to labs. We have had our yellow
lab, Sadie, for about 12 years now and have always thought she was a very
smart dog.

Suzie from Carson City on May 22, 2016:

Shelia…..Great Hub!! As I clicked on to read, my thought was, “If shelia has
listed the Border Collie as No. 1, I know she’s an expert who knows what she’s
talking about !!”

My first experience with BC’s was several years ago when I brought a pedigree
BC home as my baby. I had educated myself on the breed and believed I was all
set. Huge mistake! Border Collies are absolutely wonderful OVERLY intelligent,
loving and quite active dogs.

I fell in love with my “Taz,” and he blew my mind day after day. I am not
exaggerating when I say that “he” was like living with another human (only
smarter!) No matter what people can read or be told about border collies, they
really can’t grasp the big picture all about this breed until they own
one….(well excuse me, that’s wrong…..”until one owns you!) LOL.

I was his Mommy for 7 years when quite sadly & unexpectedly I was forced to
find my baby a new family. It was a situation at the time beyond my control. I
found him a “perfect” family and ideal home. I know he is happy & healthy and
being a good boy. The couple who have him knew that I was devastated & have
been so thoughtful, sending me notes & photos of my baby boy….now a very
handsome grown up. I even received a picture of him visiting Santa!! I miss
him terribly and know for sure that a visit would be a very foolish thing to
do…so I just have to deal with it.

I love your entire hub, but of course I had to go on and on about my Border
Collie. (I did write a hub about BC’s)

I hope that people will learn about this breed fully! BC’s are a very unique
dog and not for everyone to bring home. I’m tweeting this!


FlourishAnyway from USA on May 22, 2016:

I’ve always loved German Shepards and Malamutes because of several good ones
I’ve known (neighbors’ pets). One of these days I hope to get a shelter dog.
I’ve always had cats.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 22, 2016:

I will conclude from reading this list that our two dogs are stupid. LOL It
just confirms my suspicions, so thank you!

And I’m kidding of course!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 22, 2016:

What an interesting hub! I am partial to Labs because they are the dog breed
I’ve had throughout my life, and I do know they are highly intelligent.

Thank you for sharing this list. Dogs are amazing creatures …we can learn a
lot from them no doubt.