The 15 smartest and most intelligent dog breeds (with pictures!)

smartest dog breeds

According to Dennis Riordan, DVM, of the Riordan Pet Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa, “Intelligence, like any other attribute, varies from one dog to another based on family lineage and other variables.”

“However, ‘intelligence' is typically assessed in dogs depending on how many command repetitions it takes them to discover what you need them to do, as well as how frequent they obey mastered orders when you say it once or twice.” 

“If you're training them on a trick, kennel coaching, or anything else that requires their retention of knowledge, some species have been proven to learn it easier and more reliably than others.”

The most intelligent dogs, irrespective of size or source, all have one common characteristic: their ability to learn and obey orders quickly.

So, whether you're searching for the most intelligent dog breed that can precisely obey your orders or just an amiable family pet that can roll over for a reward, here's a rundown of the species that will most likely be the simplest to train.

How do you know if a dog is smart?

The majority of people pick smart dogs as they feel they would be easier to teach. While a clever dog would typically comprehend what you're attempting to teach them, some might prefer to do things their way rather than follow your instructions.

Furthermore, smart dogs are more prone to developing escape routes and devise ways to feed themselves, and they might outsmart you to obtain what they need when they need it without your knowledge. If you want to take on the task of having a clever dog, we've created a collection of the 15 smartest dog breeds.

These intelligent canines are easy to control and eager to please you. They might not be qualified to defeat you at a board game, but they're keen to impress you in general.


poodle portrait

Poodles are available in three sizes: miniature, toy, and standard. Despite their differences in size, they have many similar traits.

They all come with curly furs, which are typically hypoallergenic since they shed little.

They're also all thought to be clever breeds. Initially, they were developed as hunting dogs, specifically for recovering items from the sea.

Even though all Poodle sizes are smart, the standard Poodle is the top pick for sporting activities because of its mix of intellect, power, and stamina.

Border Collie

border collie laying down

The Border Collie isn't just hyper-intelligent, they are characterized and confirmed to be the smartest dog breed in the world, but they're also desperate to impress and have nearly limitless energy levels.

They'll do field works for 10 hours a day before taking a long stroll and playing fetch with their owner.

In addition, they are loyal and affectionate dogs, and they'll pick up on household habits without you having to educate them. However, most of the shepherding instincts of this dog have remained, and you might find them kindly herding kids and little animals in your house.

German Shepherd

german shepherd from the side

The German Shepherd is usually at the peak of the most famous dog breeds lists. They have the perfect mix of size, strength, and speed, as well as a high level of intellect. The breed is well-known all over the globe, having been used for military service, police work, and tasks like search and rescue.

Also, they possess the qualifications to be excellent family dogs, as well as the ability to absorb and learn things quickly. You have to make sure they're learning the instructions and activities you need them to learn, not what they think is the best.

Belgian Malinois

belgian malinois laying

The Belgian Shepherd is well-known as a guardian dog and a police dog, and military services across the globe utilize it.

The Malinois is a smart dog that may be tough to control; therefore, it's better to leave it to professionals and skilled trainers.

Golden Retriever

golden retriever large dog

The Golden Retriever isn't as famous as its short-haired relative, the Labrador Retriever. However, it is seen to be smarter since it's less hilarious and more cool-headed.

In addition to being intelligent, the breed is highly sociable and sensitive to others' needs. As a result, they're common rehabilitation and therapy dogs in addition to being employed as guide dogs and used for rescue operations.

The Golden Retriever is a family dog that features almost all you might want. They like going for walks and strolls, getting along with kids, and curling up with you during sleeping hours.

However, you'll need to groom the dog and sweep the floor daily because the fur tends to shed.

Doberman Pinscher

doberman on grass

For several years, the Doberman has remained the most common pick for guard dogs, and with solid reason.

They aren't just devoted to their owners, but they're also clever and can learn orders, routines and travels fast and effortlessly. They're quick, agile, and powerful.

When a Doberman masters a command, they will nearly always obey it, which implies that with proper efficient and timely teaching, the breed may be a wonderful family pet as well as an effective close-guard dog.

Shetland Sheepdog

shetland sheepdog standing on grass

The Shetland is a relative of the Collie. They are good in obedience exercises and are often preferred as a house pet since they are petite and convenient while being clever. They're agile and perceptive dogs.

The Sheltie is a friendly pet; however, they have a lot of energy, so you'll need to offer them plenty of mental and physical stimulation to hold them active and healthy.

Labrador Retriever

labrador with a frisbee

Except for some critical variations, the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever exhibit the majority of similar characteristics. The Lab has noticeably shorter hair, which is manageable because of the length variation. In comparison to the more cool-headed Golden Retriever, the Lab is also seen to be livelier and more entertaining.

Their level of intelligence is one aspect where they are identical. The military and police forces use the Labrador for services like search-and-rescue and recovery operations.

Some people use them as guide dogs when they have a senior citizen at home who needs assistance and a companion.


papillon smiling dog

The Papillon confirms that a dog must not be large to be smart, and this cute dog comes with a royal look. They learn tricks quickly, which is why you'll see them in the performance ring as well as dog shows. Despite their small size, they shine in jumping and other doggy sports.

Even though the Papillon is an excellent pet, they might be timid or hesitant around kids. They do, however, appear to appreciate the attention and love seeing people feel good.

Australian Cattle Dog

australian cattle dog smile

The Australian Cattle Dog and the wild Dingo are related. English immigrants bred them to cope with the temperature and difficult terrain, and they've proven to be powerful herding dogs. They're clever and can control large flocks of animals in line through long distances without human supervision.

At home, they are fast to learn new things, especially instructions. This also signifies that the dog can remember things like where you kept the food, what you do before strolling, and so on. Consider trying flyball or agility to help you expend some of that boundless energy.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

welsh corgi portrait

This is Queen Elizabeth II of England's favorite breed, as well as that of many Welsh farmers. The Corgi is a little dog with a lot of intelligence. They'll soon figure out which toys and objects belong to them, their capabilities and things they can't do, as well as how they can acquire food and have fun.

If you're willing to give them their stuff, then the Corgi is an excellent choice for a family pet.

Miniature Schnauzer

miniature schnauzer standing on grass

The Miniature Schnauzer is a perfect companion dog. They may labor the fields throughout the day and cuddle up with you at night.

They're quick to pick up new skills and orders, and they're eager to impress their owners, which is a potent combination that'll make them easier to train if you are persistent in your endeavors.

The Schnauzer is frequently seen on an agility track since the breed succeeds here and keeps them lively and attentive.


rottweiler walking

The Rottweiler is a powerful-looking dog with a long history of serving as a fearsome guard and watchdog due to its alertness, keenness, and intelligence.

They'll pick up new orders fast and can tell who's a buddy and who's a threat.They are wonderful family companions, but you should expect a fierce, iron-willed dog who would go to any length to guard you and your home.

Belgian Tervuren

Belgian Tervuren portrait

This is a dog type that resembles the German Shepherd in appearance. Belgian Tervurens enjoy working and are happiest when given a difficult task to complete.

To stay well-rounded and happy, they require both physical and mental activity.They thrive as working dogs and are incredibly gifted in hunting as well as field labor.

If they're not given sufficient exercise and cognitive stimulation, and their owner does not have adequate expertise handling this type of dog, they'll try to outsmart their master.

Springer Spaniel

springer spaniel laying

By name and nature, the English Springer Spaniel is a springer. They scare birds out of their hideout, allowing the hunter to kill them.

It is done in fields and rivers, and the Springer is very comfortable in the water as on land. They would jump from a boat, can mostly ignore gunshots with adequate instruction, and have a superior understanding of their owner's needs, even when given nonverbal orders.

Springer Spaniels are active dogs who require a lot of exercise. However, they're also sociable, agreeable, and entertaining. They can make wonderful family pets.


Some canine breeds appear to know what humans say to them on an almost human level. Farmers, sportspeople, and guards required dogs who would adhere to and obey their commands without mistake; therefore, they have a reputation as working dogs.

Intelligent dogs need engagement at home. Therefore if you select one of the 15 smartest dog breeds on our list, make sure you have the resources and time to teach and educate them every day. If you do this it will stop them developing boredom behaviours and undergoing self destruction at home. 

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