The 20 Smartest Dog Breeds

No dog is a bad boy or girl. That’s just a fact of life. There’s no dog, no matter how vicious and feral it is, that doesn’t have that “pet me” vibe coming from it. But even though all dogs go to heaven, not every breed can learn new tricks at the same quick rate. Of course, an abundance of dedication and affection on our part will help our furry friends in the learning process, but we have to admit that not all dog’s brains are wired the same. Below is a list of the 20 most intelligent dog breeds on the planet. Your cuddly little furball might be one of them!

20. Poodle

Poodles are the seventh most popular dog breed for a very, very good reason apart from their high levels of playfulness and cuddliness. Poodles are proud, intelligent dogs that can be taught not only tricks but also how to hunt, track, fetch, and obey orders. Poodles were used initially by the French, in whose country they are the national dog, as retrievers.


19. Labrador Retriever

As for the Labrador Retriever, this is the most popular breed in all of the United States. Labs are not particularly known for being pack leaders, but they will do what it takes to please their leader and owner. They’re also known for being extremely gentle creatures and affectionate towards newborn babies.

18. Rottweiler

Do not let the ferocious demeanor of the Rottweiler intimidate you. Rottweilers are a smart, loyal, and incredibly loving species that have been bred over time to work. This breed is often found assisting police officers in their duties as well as assisting those hard of seeing. Of course, Rottweilers love a bit of roughhousing, but their intelligence and care for their owners trump everything else.

17. Papillon

Papillon in French means butterfly which is the perfect description for this breed of dog. Though without wings, they’re extremely alert of their surroundings, constantly cheery and friendly, it’s the shape and span of their ears that give them their butterfly name.


16. Bloodhound

The droopy ears and sagging jowls are key features of bloodhounds. They look like a wise old dog, and they really truly are. Bloodhounds are known for being independent but also loyal almost to a fault, but it’s their intelligence and amazing scenting prowess is what sets them apart from other breeds.

15. German Shepherd

German shepherds, like rottweilers, are commonly employed by local police departments. This is due to their courageous personalities in entering into less-than-friendly situations in order to get the job done. However, you shouldn’t mistake their bravery for foolishness; this highly intelligent breed can be taught to handle the stickiest, trickiest situations like raids and even assisting the elderly. Oh, they’re also extremely loyal to their owners and absolutely love kids.

14. Border Collie

Border collies have been used for a little under a century now for shepherding. It’s their athleticism and agility paired with their innate sense of rounding sheep and other farm animals that make them so beloved to farmers. Border collies also make for excellent cuddling buddies.

13. Shetland Sheepdog

Many consider the Shetland sheepdog to be a miniature version of the collie and they’re not exactly wrong. Though their bodies are smaller in size, their minds and hearts as just as big as a border collie’s. Their extremely loyal, eager to learn new tricks, and if they see someone they don’t recognize – the Amazon deliveryman – they won’t back down. Their little yips are cute but they mean harm when push comes to shove.

12. Australian Cattle Dog

Not particularly known for their adaptability to new situations, especially apartments, they are extremely friendly when raised right. ACDs are highly playful, highly intelligent dogs that are deeply into physical activities. They can quickly learn new tricks, but they’re also true to their roots – they’ll bark and nip as if herding sheep.

11. Belgian Tervuren

Belgian Tervurens, more commonly known as Tervs, are self-sufficient dogs but can get into a bit of mischief if not properly trained. Training Tervs is no mean feat, but doing it the right way can result in a playful, loyal, and hardworking pupper. Give Tervs a ton of praise for a job well done and it’ll learn to enjoy working.

10. Bernese Mountain Dog

These fluffy, adorable dogs are extremely sensitive and do not respond well to harsh commands. Who in their right mind could even imagine scolding one of these gentle and risk losing its trust forever? Bernese are mainly known for herding cattle, but they can be trained to work with any type of ranch animal.

9. Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzers are tiny in stature but it has a heart as big as its walrus mustache. These cute little pups are popular for being extremely loyal. It won’t ever leave your side and will claw at your bathroom door to be with you. This behavior must be trained away, and luckily it’s one of the simplest things that a mini schnauzer can learn.

8. Doberman Pinscher

Strength and speed are two of the Doberman pinscher’s most well-known qualities. Unfortunately, they overshadow the smarts that these perky-eared dogs possess. Dobermans are trained for confrontation, both alongside police officers and even on the battlefield. A statue of a Doberman pinscher was erected in Guam to commemorate all dogs, mostly Dobermans, that fought and died in the 1944 Second Battle of Guam.

7. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be a bit temperamental, especially after getting to know its owner, but this is understood as a side-effect of high intelligence in dogs. They can be manipulative to get what they want like feigning sleep or interest to get a squeaky toy or maybe a treat. Still, they’re extremely playful and great with kids.

6. Alaskan Husky

The Alaskan husky is probably one of the most well-known dog breeds. What makes them so popular is their stubbornness and sometimes manipulative behavior. They are intelligent and are able to learn new tricks rather quickly. All it takes is some patience and positive reinforcement to get things moving along.

5. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is the classic canine of American families. They’re smarts and high levels of tolerance make them the ideal pet. Retrievers, as the name suggests, at great at fetching and tracking, but they also excel at assistance duties.

4. American Leopard Hound

ALHs, previously known as American Leopard Curs, are one of the oldest tree dog breeds. Their intelligence makes them great trackers, being able to track for miles and miles. ALHs are also super-loyal and affectionate, especially towards children, making them excellent family pets.

3. Australian Kelpie

This breed is renowned for its energy, loyalty, and intelligence for working with livestock. Most ranchers in the Land Down Under rely on a pack of Australian Kelpies to keep operations running smoothly due to their agility, endurance, and overachieving nature. Although this Kelpie is an iconic breed in Australia, very little is known about its origins.

2. Azawakh

The words loyal and intelligent have been used to describe the African Sighthound (Azawakh). They prefer living indoors where their humans can show tons of love and attention, but they also have a difficult time adjusting to new homes with new people. This is also true when introducing other pets, especially cats, to an adult Azawkh.

1. Barbet

Barbets were originally used in France to hunt water game. This can be seen by its naturally webbed feet which help it paddle in deeper waters much more effective than most breeds. Although they love splishing and splashing in the water, they’re not against living on land alongside humans. They’re loyalty, intelligence, and innate athleticism make barbets great at competitive sports when trained correctly.