The Top Ten Most Intelligent Dog Breeds

The Top Ten Most Intelligent Dog Breeds

Border Collie

Border Collies were originally bred in the borderlands between Scotland and England as herding dogs. They were selected to be able to work long days on rugged terrain, have excellent herding skills, instincts and intelligence. Over time, this led to the Border Collie’s astounding energy, trainability and ability to reason. Border Collies are still used universally as herders.


Though they are known more for their appearance, Poodles are actually some of the world’s smartest dogs. The air of dignity and elegance with which Poodle’s carry themselves accords with their highly above-average intelligence and trainability. Though Poodles are usually show dogs in the United States, they have served as police dogs in other countries.

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are noted for their versatility, stability, energy, strength and intelligence. Shepherds are known not only for their intrinsic smarts and trainability, but for the multitude of roles they can fill, such as family pet, police dog, herding dog and TV and movie actor.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers were originally bred by an upper-class Englishman who wanted a hunting dog that made a great companion. A mixture of the Irish Setter and several types of Spaniel, the Golden Retriever was bred to find and retrieve downed birds and be a good companion. Today’s Golden Retrievers are just that -attentive, loving dogs that will chase down anything you throw them.

Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher originated as a police dog in 19th Century Germany. These dogs are top-notch watchdogs, guardians and protectors, as well as guide dogs and military dogs. Doberman’s were bred for their loyalty and intelligence, and the modern version of the breed continues to show both those traits. Dobermans are working dogs and do best with a lot of structured exercise.

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog, or “Sheltie” was bred on the Shetland Islands of Scotland to herd sheep. These small, agile dogs resemble collies and are widely regarded as highly . Shelties are also renowned for their trainability, even temperament and loyalty. They are very active and do best with lots of exercise.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers come from unknown origins but are now the popular dog breed in the United States. These, active, affectionate dogs are highly trainable and intelligent. Many Labrador owners comment about their dogs’ seeming “humanity.” Labrador Retrievers make great family pets, drug-sniffing dogs, hunting dogs and seeing-eye dogs.


The Papillon a small, long-haired dog breed considered by most to be a lap-dog or show dog. Despite this reputation, Papillons are athletic, active and very intelligent. They’re known to be people-centered and enjoy social situations with lots of humans in attendance. Recently Papillons have emerged as agility champions.

Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog or “Blue Heeler” is another intelligent, active herding dog. These medium sized dogs are noted for their spotted orange or bluish coats. Australian Cattle Dogs thrive when given a complicated task such as an obstacle course, tricks or other dog sports. Australian Cattle Dogs have excellent fine motor skills and will meticulously shred their toys.


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  1. Very interesting! It’s always great to read about how these dogs were originally bred and to see those traits in my golden retriever as well.

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