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Top 30 Smartest Dogs in the World

By, Mar 9, 2019

For centuries, dogs have been lauded for their skill and ability to help their human companions with difficult tasks. Of course, some dogs are simply a cute face and a friend to snuggle with, and that’s just fine. But others have a beauty and brains.

Used data from University of British Columbia psychology professor Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs , to identify and rank the 30 smartest dogs.

According to Coren, the top 10 most intelligent dogs need fewer than five repetitions to understand a new command, and obey the first command 95 percent of the time (or better). The second tier of dogs, which he names “excellent working dogs,” understand new commands after five to 15 repetitions and obey the first command 85 percent of the time (or better). The third tier, which he names “above average working dogs,” understand new commands after 15 to 25 repetitions and obey first commands 70 percent of the time (or better).

The dogs on the list will be ordered according to intelligence tiers, and then ranked alphabetically within that tier.

#1 - Border Collie

Tier: Brightest Dogs #1 - Border Collie

Border collies make newspaper titles frequently with their heroic acts and incredible abilities. This breed is easy to train and is great around kids.

#2 - Poodle

Tier: Brightest Dogs #2 - Poodle

Not only is the poodle extremely smart but it is also easy to train. Poodles, along with German shepherds and border collies, have even been found to be as smart as an average two-and-a-half-year old.

#3 - German Shepherd

Tier: Brightest Dogs #3 - German Shepherd

The common face of police dogs, German shepherds are extremely loyal and protective. They are commonly used in sniffing out narcotics and lost persons.

#4 - Golden Retriever

Tier: Brightest Dogs #4 - Golden Retriever

The Golden retriever is a bright and loving breed. These dogs respond well to basic and advanced training, and they excel in hunting and search and rescue.

#5 - Doberman Pinscher

Tier: Brightest Dogs #5 - Doberman Pinscher

Doberman pinschers are the third-best watch dogs, outranking the Rottweiler and German shepherd. This breed combines elegance and strength with speed and endurance.

#6 - Shetland Sheepdog

Tier: Brightest Dogs #6 - Shetland Sheepdog

Commonly called miniature collies, Shetland sheepdogs are so smart that training is a breeze. They are also an energetic dog, so expect them to be active.

#7 - Labrador Retriever

Tier: Brightest Dogs #7 - Labrador Retriever

The Labrador retriever has an amazing ability to learn. Even new and inexperienced dog owners will be able to teach this breed.

#8 - Papillon

Tier: Brightest Dogs #8 - Papillon

Papillons are a gorgeous breed with their butterfly-like ears and silky fur. The breed is so smart that they can be trained to win competitive agility trials at the sport’s highest levels.

#9 - Rottweiler

Tier: Brightest Dogs #9 - Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is a strong and fearless breed from Germany. These dogs are very smart and are inclined to obey their owners on command.

#10 - Australian Cattle Dog

Tier: Brightest Dogs #10 - Australian Cattle Dog

Australian cattle dogs require regular exercise to maintain their health, but owners will be rewarded with a very smart herder. Even though they are commonly used on ranches, this breed also makes a great service dog.

#11 - Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #11 - Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh corgi and its cousin, the Cardigan Welsh corgi are both highly intelligent breeds. With a smart companion like the corgi, owners won’t need to spend too much time on training.

#12 - Miniature Schnauzer

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #12 - Miniature Schnauzer

Not only are Miniature schnauzers excellent learners, but they also can hear frequency levels twice as high as humans.

#13 - English Springer Spaniel

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #13 - English Springer Spaniel

What many dog owners love about the English springer spaniel is its talents and ability to complete many tasks. The breed excels at tracking, agility training, hunting and more.

#14 - Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervuren)

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #14 - Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervuren)

In Belgium, Tervurens work as trained police dogs. This breed is loved for their intelligence and high levels of trainability.

#15 - Schipperke

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #15 - Schipperke

The Schipperkes are naturally curious and confident. This breed makes a great watchdog and it is suitable for families with children.

#16 - Belgian Sheepdog (Groenendael)

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #16 - Belgian Sheepdog

The Belgian sheepdogs participate in a variety of tasks, from competitive obedience to search and rescue. To avoid boredom, owners need to add a lot of variety to their training routine.

#17 - Collie

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #17 - Collie

The Collie is a large purebred known for its friendly, intelligent and social disposition. Most call this breed the "Lassie dog" due to the popular fictional collie known for its heroic acts.

#18 - Keeshond

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #18 - Keeshond

The keeshond performs well in obedience and agility competitions due to its ability to be trained easily and quickly.

#19 - German Shorthaired Pointer

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #19 - German Shorthaired Pointer

This versatile hunting dog is smart and willing to please its owner. German shorthaired pointers are gifted hunters and gun dogs.

#20 - Flat-Coated Retriever

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #20 - Flat-Coated Retriever

While the Flat-coated retriever is similar to a Labrador retriever, the breed can be more aggressive. This breed makes an excellent working dog and it is known for being multi-talented.

#21 - English Cocker Spaniel

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #21 - English Cocker Spaniel

It won’t take long training sessions to see results with an English cocker spaniel pup. This breed regularly competes in obedience activities due to easy training.

#22 - Standard Schnauzer

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #22 - Standard Schnauzer

There is no doubt about it: Schnauzers are smart breeds, since the miniature, giant and standard breeds all made the list. The Standard schnauzer needs plenty of physical and mental exercise to keep it from growing restless.

#23 - Brittany

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #23 - Brittany

This clever, medium-sized pooch is smart and able to move quickly without a hint of clumsiness. These traits make the Brittany the ideal agility competitor and hunting companion.

#24 - Cocker Spaniel

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #24 - Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker spaniel’s easy demeanor makes it a great companion and therapy dog. The breed is also easy to train for show competitions.

#25 - Weimaraner

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #25 - Weimaraner

The Weimaraners are large purebreds from Germany. These dogs participate in a wide variety of activities, from pointing and retrieving to search and rescue.

#26 - Bernese Mountain Dog

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #26 - Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese mountain dog has an innate desire to work. This giant purebred is not just smart, but it is also strong. It can pull up to 1,000 pounds, although owners should be careful not to overexert their dogs.

#27 - Pomeranian

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #27 - Pomeranian

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, the Pomeranian’s high levels of intelligence make it easy to train. The breed desires to please its owner, making this adorable canine a agreeable companion.

#28 - Irish Water Spaniel

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #28 - Irish Water Spaniel

Don’t confuse this smart and enthusiastic dog with a poodle. The Irish water spaniel excels at water retrieving and obedience training, but there are only around 1,500 remaining in the world.

#29 - Vizsla

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #29 - Vizsla

The Vizsla is a great watch dog with amazing capabilities to hunt and follow trails. This breed is easy to train and good around children.

#30 - Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Tier: Excellent Working Dogs #30 - Cardigan Welsh Corgi

The Cardigan Welsh corgis have more tenacity than their Pembroke brother. One bright Cardigan Welsh corgi named King Tut saved his diabetic owner’s life several times.

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