Dog Intelligence Rankings (Obedience)

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Recently we were having a family conversation about which were most intelligent. I recalled watching a documentary a few years ago in which dogs were tested using a very simple deductive reasoning test – a large towel was placed over the dog's head, and the number of seconds it took for the dog to remove the towel was tracked. Some dogs were awfully slow, taking well over a minute to complete the task. Other dogs completed the task in mere seconds. If I recall, the clear “winners” were Border Collies and Poodles (not sure about the order).

Since it has been many years since I saw that documentary, I decided to do a bit of research to see what researchers have been up to since then. Here's the current obedience/working of some popular dog breeds. The criteria – how long it takes to learn a new command. The top obedience and working dogs learn new commands in fewer than 5 repetitions and get it right the very first time over 95% of the time, while the lowest ranked dogs take 80-100 repetitions and get it right the first time less than 25% of the time. (Keep in mind that this does not measure the absolute of a dog breed, but rather how easily they can be trained).

  1. Border Collie
  2. Poodle
  3. German Shepherd
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Doberman Pinscher
  6. Shetland Sheepdog
  7. Labrador Retriever
  8. Papillon
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Australian Cattle Dog
  11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  12. Miniature Schnauzer
  13. English Springer Spaniel
  14. Belgian Tervuren
  15. Schipperke, Belgian Sheepdog
  16. , Keeshond
  17. German Shorthaired Pointer
  18. Flat-Coated Retriever, English Cocker Spaniel, Standard Schnauzer
  19. Brittany
  20. Cocker Spaniel
  21. Weimaraner
  22. Belgian Malinois, Bernese Mountain Dog
  23. Pomeranian
  24. Irish Water Spaniel
  25. Vizsla
  26. Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  27. Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Puli,
  28. Giant Schnauzer
  29. Airedale Terrier, Bouvier Des Flandres,
  30. Border Terrier, Briard
  31. Welsh Springer Spaniel
  32. Manchester Terrier
  33. Samoyed
  34. Field Spaniel, Newfoundland, Australian Terrier, , Gordon Setter, Bearded Collie
  35. Cairn Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Irish Setter
  36. Norwegian Elkhound
  37. Affenpincher, Silky Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, English Setter, Pharaoh Hound, Clumber Spaniel
  38. Norwich Terrier
  39. Dalmatian
  40. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier
  41. Curly-Coated Retriever, Irish Wolfhound
  42. Kuvasz, Australian Shepherd
  43. Saluki, Finnish Spitz, Pointer
  44. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, German Wirehaired Pointer, Black & Tan Coonhound, American Water Spaniel
  45. Siberian Husky, Bichon Frise
  46. English Toy Spaniel
  47. Tibetan Spaniel, English Foxhound, Otterhound, American Foxhound, Greyhound, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  48. West Highland White Terrier, Scottish Deerhound
  49. Boxer, Great Dane
  50. Dachshund, Stafforshire Bull Terrier
  51. Alaskan Malamute
  52. Whippet, Chinese Shar-pei, Wire Fox Terrier
  53. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  54. Ibizan Hound, Welsh Terrier, Irish Terrier
  55. Boston Terrier, Akita
  56. Skye Terrier
  57. Norfolk Terrier, Sealyham Terrier
  58. Pug
  59. French Bulldog
  60. Brussels Griffon, Maltese
  61. Italian Greyhound
  62. Chinese Crested
  63. Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, Tibetan Terrier, Japanese Chin, Lakeland Terrier
  64. Old English Sheepdog
  65. Great Pyrenees
  66. Scottish Terrier, Saint Bernard
  67. Bull Terrier
  68. Chihuahua
  69. Lhasa Apso
  70. Bullmastiff
  71. Shih Tzu
  72. Basset Hound
  73. Mastiff, Beagle
  74. Pekingese
  75. Bloodhound
  76. Borzoi
  77. Chow Chow
  78. Bulldog
  79. Basenji
  80. Afghan Hound

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