10 Smartest Dog Breeds – Based on New Scientific Research

smartest dog breeds

Is there such a thing as the smartest dog breeds? Some dog breeds are simply more intelligent than others. Dr. Stanley Coren, a neuropsychological researcher and professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, studied canine intelligence extensively.

He concluded that 51% of a dog’s intelligence stems from its genes, while the remaining 49% comes from its environment. Dr. Coren also studied canine intelligence in categories like obedience, memory, social training, and powers of observation.

In this article, we are enlisting the 10 most intelligent dog breeds based on Dr. Coren’s findings. The smartest dog breeds are all known for their intelligence, and they are sure to make great companions for people looking for easy-to-train and eager-to-learn dogs.

10 Smartest Dog Breeds

1.   Border Collie

border collie intelligence

Height – 22 to 27 inches or 56 to 69 cm

Weight – 27 to 45 lbs. or 12 to 20 kg

Lifespan – 12-15 years

Border Collies are known for their exceptional problem-solving abilities, superior intelligence, and natural herding instincts. They can learn a command in under five repetitions and are known to follow it almost 95% of the time.

Border Collie named Chaser is considered the world’s smartest dog. She had a vocabulary of more than 1000 words! She even participated in groundbreaking research on dog cognition with her handler, Dr. John Pilley.

The Bordoodle is a poodle mix designer dog that combines the genetics of the two smartest dog breeds – the Border Collie and the Poodle. They are a popular family dog for those who want a low to non-shedding version of a Border Collie.

2.   Poodle

smart dog breeds

Height – Toy Poodles 9.5 -11 inches or 24-28 cm, Mini Poodles 11-13 inches or 28-35 cm, Standard Poodles 18–24 inches or 45–62 cm.

Weight – Toy Poodles 2–3 kg or 4.4–6.6 lb Mini Poodles 4.5–7 kg (9.9–15.4 lb) Standard Poodles 20–32 kg or 44–71 lb.

Lifespan – Toy Poodles – about 16 years; Mini Poodles 14-17 years; Standard Poodles 12-15 years.

Poodles are highly intelligent and versatile dogs. They excel in various activities and are quick learners. Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them excellent service dogs. 

Many Poodles have excelled as guide dogs and assistance dogs. Poodles also have low-shedding, hypoallergenic coats, which make them excellent pets for people with pet allergies.

The Poodle is a popular breed to cross with purebred dogs to make hypo-allergenic poodle mix breeds such as Groodles, Labradoodles, Portidoodles, Cavoodles, Bernedoodles etc. Some of these poodle mixes are among the smartest dog breeds and in the future they are sure to be included in lists such as these, among the most intelligent of breeds.

3.   German Shepherd

german shepherd intelligence

Height – 22 to 24 inches or 55 to 60 cm.

Weight – 66-88 lbs. or 29 to 40 kg.

Lifespan – 9-13 years.

The German Shepherd temperament is well-known for its intelligence, loyalty, and versatility. They are commonly used as working dogs in roles such as search and rescue, police work, and service dogs. German Shepherds make excellent seeing dogs, medical assistance dogs, and therapy dogs.

German Shepherds are among some of the most protective dog breeds and the best bloodlines excel in dog sports like Schutzhund and Obedience Training.

In terms of human intelligence, German Shepherds have the capabilities of a 2.5-year-old child.

4.   Golden Retriever

most intelligent dog breeds

Height – 23-24 inches or 58-60 cm

Weight – 55 to 75 lbs. or 25 to 34 kg

Lifespan – 10-12 years

Golden Retrievers are not only friendly and affectionate; they are also incredibly intelligent. Their intelligence combined with their high trainability makes them one of the smartest dog breeds. No wonder they are used as service dogs, therapy dogs, and in search and rescue operations. 

Golden Retrievers have strong instincts, and they rank high in adaptive intelligence. They also have excellent work ethics.

One of the most popular designer dog breeds in the world is a cross between the Golden Retriever and Poodle, known as the Groodle or Goldendoodle. The Groodle is a popular family and therapy dog and unlike the Golden Retriever, it is low shedding but is higher maintenance in terms of grooming.

5.   Doberman Pinscher

10 smartest dog breeds

Height – 24 to 28 inches or 61 to 71 cm

Weight – 60 to 88 lbs. or 27 to 40 kg

Lifespan – 10-13 years

Dobermans are known for their exceptional intelligence and loyalty. They are often used as guard dogs, police dogs, and in search and rescue operations. They are fearless, loyal, and can hold their own. Doberman Pinschers are also excellent with children but may unintentionally knock small children over causing injury to the child. But they are generally well-rounded pets.

6.   Shetland Sheepdog

dog intelligence

Height – 13–16 inches or 33–41 cm 

Weight – 14–16 lbs. or 6–7 kg

Lifespan – 12-13 years

Shelties, as they are affectionately known, are highly intelligent and excel in obedience and agility training. 

They are also known for their herding instincts. Shelties have very high working and obedience IQs. In Dr. Coren’s tests, where he tested 138 breeds, the Shetland Sheepdog ranked 6th.

7.   Labrador Retriever

labrador smart dog

Height – 21.5–24.5 inches or 55–62 cm

Weight – 55–80 lbs. or 25–36 kg

Lifespan – 10-12 years

Dr. Coren ranked the Labrador Retriever at the 7th spot for the smartest dog breeds, this was out of 138 dog breeds tested.

Labrador Retrievers are not only popular family pets, but they are also known for their high intelligence and trainability. Americans have consistently ranked them as the most popular dog breed in the country for more than 25 years in a row!

Labs are often used as service dogs, narcotic detection dogs, guide dogs, therapy dogs, and other canine working roles.

One of the most popular family dog breeds in the world is a cross between the Labrador Retriever and Poodle, known as the Labradoodle. The Labradoodle can be trained as an assistance dog and particularly excel in guide dog roles. Unlike the Labrador Retriever breed, the best Labradoodle breeders produce puppies that are low shedding.

8.   Papillon

Height – 8 to 11 inches or 20.3 to 27.9 cm.

Weight – 3-10 lb. or 1.36-4.5 kg

Lifespan – 13-15 years

Despite their small size, Papillons are highly intelligent and trainable. They are known for their agility and excel in obedience and trick training. Being among some of the smartest dog breeds, they often take home the top prize for agility in dog competitions.

Papillons are highly trainable and excel in dog sports such as agility and obedience.

9.   Rottweiler

rottweiler attacks

Height – 22 to 27 inches or 56 to 68.5 cm.

Weight – 90 and 110 lbs., or 41 and 50 kg.

Lifespan – 12-15 years

Dr. Coren ranked the Rottweiler ninth in his list of the most intelligent dogs.

Rottweilers are highly trainable and versatile dogs. They are often used in roles such as police work, search and rescue, and as guard dogs. When trained properly and consistently, they make excellent companion pets.

Rottweilers are a big dog breed that is capable of fatally injuring small children. They have been involved in fatal dog attacks involving small children and like all dogs should never be left unsupervised. Dog training and appropriate socialisation are vital to ensuring this breed’s suitability as a family companion. Similarly, only consider puppies for sale near you that have been bred by reputable dog breeders. Puppies raised on puppy farms have been observed to develop behaviour and health problems.

10.   Australian Cattle Dog

cattle dog intelligence

Height – 17–20 inches or 43–51 cm

Weight – 35–50 lbs. or16–23 kg

Lifespan – 12-15 years

Australian Cattle Dogs, also known as Red, Blue, or Queensland Heelers, are highly intelligent and known for their exceptional herding abilities. They are independent dogs with high command trainability. They are also fiercely loyal.

Australian Cattle Dogs make great pets, but they do need plenty of mental stimulation and regular exercise. 

FAQs – Smartest Dog Breeds

Which dog has the highest IQ?

The Border Collie is deemed to have the highest IQ in dogdom. They have a remarkable ability to learn and grasp commands quickly. They excel in herding, agility, and tracking. They are also known to win in canine sports.

What are the five smartest dog breeds?

The top 5 smartest dog breeds include the Border Collie, Poodles, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Doberman Pinscher.

How smart is a husky?

According to Dr. Coren, the Siberian Husky ranked 74th out of 138 dog breeds. Please note that intelligence can vary greatly among individuals of the same breed. Training, socialisation, and individual personality traits also play significant roles in a dog’s overall abilities.

Conclusion – Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

A lot of research has been done on the cognitive abilities of different dog breeds. Based on these studies, we see certain breeds excelling in memory, obedience, and powers of observation.

The ten breeds listed above tend to outperform in trainability, problem-solving skills, and working abilities. 

However, it’s worth noting that intelligence can vary within individuals, regardless of their breed. The environment, training, and enrichment you provide can also go a long way towards creating smart dogs!

Check out Foresight Dog Training Solutions‘ online course, the easiest and fastest way to a calm, confident canine companion.

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Hi! I’m Tres! I’m passionate about dog behaviour and training. My dog training methods are effective for all breeds and goals. I have trained dogs for protection, obedience, manners, loose leash walking, crate training and have solved common behaviour problems such as reactivity, barking, separation anxiety and more. Let’s connect, sign up to my free newsletter (above) for helpful tips and upcoming training events.
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Hi! I’m Tres! I’m passionate about dog behaviour and training. My dog training methods are effective for all breeds and goals. I have trained dogs for protection, obedience, manners, loose leash walking, crate training and have solved common behaviour problems such as reactivity, barking, separation anxiety and more. Let’s connect, sign up to my free newsletter (above) for helpful tips and upcoming training events.
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