15 of the Smartest Dog Breeds

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Labrador Retriever in Field

In 1994, a psychology professor and researcher by the name of Stanley Coren set out to answer every dog lover's burning question: "What is the smartest dog breed?" His book, "The Intelligence of Dogs," was updated in 2006 and remains the authority on, well, the most intelligent dogs. The book ranks more than 100 dogs by varying elements of intelligence, like performance in the tasks it was bred for, capability of independent problem-solving, and aptness for learning from humans. Some come as no surpriseborder collies and Australian cattle dogs for example. But as it turns out, there are breeds of all shapes and sizes in the list of the top 10 smartest dogs. Take for example the papillon, a pint-size package of curiosity and agility. Or the rottweiler, lovable hunks who, according to the American Kennel Club, descended from the mastiffs of Roman legions. The top 10 smartest dogs all possess the ability to learn commands in five tries or less and obey the first command 95% of the time or better. Even the breeds in second place boasts the ability to learn new commands with five to 15 repetitions and obeying the first command 85% of the time. So who is the smartest dog out there? Here are 15 of the most intelligent dog breeds.

Border Collie

Border Collie Dog
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If the dog park was a high school, the border collie would be valedictorian, MVP, and voted most likeable. Known for their athleticism, trainability, and intelligence, it's no surprise this breed takes the top spot.


Standard Poodle Sitting in Grass
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More than just perfectly groomed fluff, the poodle unjustly became known as a froufrou breed when in reality, they are athletic, eager, and as the American Kennel Club puts it, "wickedly smart."

German Shepherd

German Shepherd Dog on Beach
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Known for their loyalty and courage, German shepherds often work alongside humans in critical roles, be it as part of search-and-rescue teams, military and police service, or disability assistance.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever
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Not only one of the most intelligent dogs, but also one of the most popular breeds in the U.S., golden retrievers epitomize man's best friend. Originally bred as gundogs in Scotland, this bubbly breed is eager to please and therefore easy to train.

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher At Park
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Brains and braun, Doberman pinschers are known for their sleek appearance and sharp intelligence. Originally bred to accompany tax collectors in 19th century Germany (a risky job), this breed has earned a reputation as hard-working protectors.

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheep Dog in Field

Yet another herder on the list, "shelties" make for some of the smartest dogs around thanks to their bright and eager nature.

Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retriever in Field

Not only is the lab one of the most intelligent dog breeds, it's also the most popular in America! And for good reason: Its easygoing personality paired with sharp intelligence makes for a winning combination. Literally!


Papillon Dog

The smallest breed on the list, some papillons clock in at just eight inches tall. But don't let its petite stature fool you; their bloodline can be traced back to sporting spaniels, making them champions in agility and wit.


Rottweiler Dog Closeup
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An aloof demeanor can lead the outside world to believe this smart breed is intimidating, but owners get to see the downright goofy nature of these surprisingly cuddly companions.

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog Running Down Path
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Owners of this breed should be up for an intellectual challenge themselves. The American Kennel Club reports this breed is known to outsmart their owners with ease.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Laying in Grass
Getty/Purple Collar Pet Photography

That's right! These pop culture icons are more than just their impossibly adorable looks. The Queen was onto something with this comically cute but highly intelligent breed.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer Running Through Field
Getty/Darren Brown

Known for their furrowed brow and impressive beard, these dogs have a perfectly scholarly, if not professorial, look to fit their sharp intelligence.

English Springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel with Hair Blowing in Breeze

Described by the American Kennel Club as "people-pleasers" and "polite," this breed wants nothing more than to be next to you. With a sweet nature and sharp mind, English springer spaniels offer the best of canine companionship.

Belgian Tervuren

Belgian Tervuren Dog Outside

One of the smartest dogs around, the Belgian Tervuren is a tireless, highly intelligent breed with a "mischievous sense of humor," according to the American Kennel Club.


Schipperke Dog

Clocking in only a few inches taller than the papillon, the schipperke is another tiny bundle of brilliance. Originally bred as rat hunters on ships, this breed earned its name; "schipperke" is Flemish for "little captain."

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