The Smartest Dog Breeds

Golden Retriever Dog Wearing Glasses
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There are smart dogs and, bless his little furry heart, there was my dog. He was an absolutely adorable beagle mix who simply had no common sense and less survival instinct. He would happily make a mad dash after anything—kids who looked vaguely like my brother, pizza delivery guys, pigeons—so we kept him inside as best we could. Every time the screen door opened, though, he was right there trying to make a run for it. The thing about him, though, was that he was really easy to catch. All you had to do was step outside as he was running down the block and ask him if he wanted to go on a walk. He would instantly forego his independent walk and run back in a tizzy of excitement …to go on a walk. Not smart, but very loyal.

Now, canine intelligence is a bit hard to judge, but in his 1994 book, The Intelligence of Dogs, psychologist Stanley Coren, PhD, did his best. Coren, who now writes the Canine Corner column at Psychology Today, found that dogs have multiple kinds of intelligences, including instinctive, adaptive, working, and obedience intelligence, which stem from their natural history, evolutionary relationship to humans, and trainability. He then ranked 110 breeds by intelligence. He assessed their smarts by studying how quickly they understood new commands and how often they obeyed them the first time they heard it. Of course, it's not all breeding. According to Coren's work, 51% of a dog's intelligence stems from its genes, while 49% is based on its environment.

While there are no guarantees in this world, and dogs' intelligence varies, if you're looking for a dog who may fall a little higher on the doggy IQ charts these are the breeds that tend to be smarter, according to Coren's assessment, as reported by Science Alert.

These bright pups mastered new commands after fewer than five repetitions and obeyed first commands 95% of the time or more:

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Border Collies

Border Collies
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Known has herding dogs, they are hard-working and companions for a lifetime.

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Impressive, dog show champions, and very talented. There are three breeds of poodles: Standard, Miniature, and Toy.

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German Shepherds

German Shepherd Dog in Field
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Popular dog breeds because they are hard-working, smart, and protective of their loved ones.

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Golden Retrievers

Golden Retriever Dog
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Well known for its friendly demeanor, these pups are also smart, attentive, and loyal.

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Doberman Pinschers

Dobermann Dog
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This breed has a loyal following because they are sharp, reliable, and companions for life.

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Shetland Sheepdogs

Shetland Sheepdog
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A breed of herding dog with a calm and responsive demeanor.

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Labrador Retrievers

Black Labrador Retriever
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A family favorite for their loyalty and true companionship, the lab is also even-tempered and responsive.

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Papillon Dog Doing Hurdles
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Recognize this small and lively breed by their butterfly-shaped ears. Also referred to as Continental Toy Spaniel.

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Rottweiler dog
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Confident, independent, and highly regarded as police and therapy dogs.

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Australian Cattle Dogs

Australian Cattle Dog
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An obedient and smart herding dog that are often referred to as Cattle Dog.

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English Bulldog
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At the bottom of the list? Those adorably, stubbornly truculent bulldogs, Basenjis, and Afghan hounds are lurking in the bottom of Coren's ranking based on the idea that it takes them 80 to 100 repetitions of a new command for them to understand it. Even when they do understand, the chances of them obeying on the first command a meager 25% of the time or worse.

As for Coren, according to a 2017 interview with him by the American Psychological Association, he keeps a Toller pup at home.

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