When we sat down to do some research on the smartest dogs in the world, we had no idea there would be so many top 10 lists without any sort of data to back them up. It’s quite common knowledge that Border Collies are a pretty clear stand-out as the smartest dog breed, but what about the next 9 breeds needed to fill out a top 10 list?
Well there seems to be some debate on a few of the breeds for 2 through 9. Most of the Top 10 lists look to be all based on research done in the mid-90s by Dr. Stanley Coren a professor at the University of British Columbia. So we decided to forget the order and simply list the smartest dogs common to the majority of lists in no particular order. Since intelligence is often hard enough to determine in people, we’ll just stick with saying the dog breeds listed below are all in the smartest category so you can’t go wrong if you’re looking for a highly trainable, loyal, and intelligent companion.
Border Collie – The Border Collie originated on the English/Scottish border in Northumberland (thus the name). The breed is descended from old British droving breeds with a mix of spaniel added in. “Chaser” the border collie is supposed to know over 1,000 individual words. She can fetch 1,022 objects by name….we don’t think we could do that! An article and video of her fetching can be found here – Chaser the world’s smartest dog (opens in a new tab)
Poodle – The Poodle is most likely descended from early German water retrievers. The name “poodle” probably derives from the German word “Pudel” (one who plays in the water). Hunters clipped the dog’s thick coat to help them swim, leaving hair on the leg joints to protect them from extreme cold and sharp reeds. Imagine combining two of the smartest dogs together? That’s where the Labradoodle comes from. This hybrid breed is becoming more and more popular and is of course a combination of a Poodle and Labrador Retriever.
Rottweiler – The Rottweiler, though probably descended from mastiffs accompanying the Roman legions, was named for the German town of Rottweil where the breed was used by butchers to drive herds of cattle. The butchers fastened their money belts around the dogs’ necks, since their earnings would be completely safe there. Rottweiler’s have a bad reputation as being aggressive and unfriendly dogs. Some of that is genetic, but we believe most of that comes from treatment and training. These dogs are actually very calm unless they or their guardian family is threatened.
German Shepherd – One of the most compliant breeds, the German Shepherd probably originated by crossing several shepherd breeds in Germany. The breed is so smart and learns so quickly that it has been used as a sheepdog, guard-dog, in constable work, as a guide for the blind, in search and rescue duty and martial work. As long as they are trained in obedience from an early age by a loving but firm hand, they can be great family dogs, and excellent with children. As with many of the smartest breeds, because of their intelligence, a German Shepherd needs a purpose or job in life to be truly happy.
Golden Retriever – The Golden Retriever was first developed in the British Isles, probably from crosses between a yellow Flat-Coat Retriever, light-coated Tweed Water Spaniels, other spaniels, setters and even the Newfoundland. In fact the breed was first shown as a golden Flat-Coat. The Golden is one of the world’s foremost family companion dogs and they are ridiculously cute as puppies.
Papillon – The dwarf spaniel of the 16th century, depicted in many paintings by the Masters of that era, is the dog that became known as the Papillon. Although the Papillon owes its name and much of its breed development to the French, it was Spain and Italy that gave rise to its popularity. The name, Papillon, is French for butterfly due to the breed’s beautiful ears. They are considered one of the oldest purebred toy dogs. They possess a keen sense of hearing which makes them excellent watch dogs and hearing ear dogs for the deaf and hearing impaired.
Doberman Pinscher – The Doberman Pinscher was named after Louis Dobermann, a German who developed the breed in the late 1800′s. Dobermann was a tax collector working in rough neighborhoods, rightfully afraid of being attacked. He decided to create a new breed, an aggressive, alert protection dog, to help him in his work. It is thought that he crossed German Pinschers with Rottweillers, Beaucerons, Pinschers, Greyhounds and other breeds to create the sleek and highly intelligent Doberman Pinscher. Although they can have aggressive tendencies, a well-bred, well-trained and well-treated Doberman Pinscher can be a fine companion dog.
Australian Cattle Dog – The Australian Cattle Dog was bred to endure the heat and harsh Australian landscape. It is a resilient dog breed which has been used to drive cattle. It can easily adapt to extreme weather conditions. Its speed and agility makes it easy for them to manage wild cattle even without barking. In the past, it was also called the Queensland Blue Heeler, and Australian Heeler.
Australian Cattle Dog stats:
- Height: 18 to 20 inches (male); 17 to 19 inches (female).
Weight: 40 to 65 pounds.
Availability: May take some effort to find.
Labrador Retriever – The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular breeds in the United States. Originally from Newfoundland, Canada, the Labrador was trained to jump overboard into the icy waters and haul fisherman’s nets to shore. Specimens were brought over the sea to England where the Labrador’s fine retrieving instincts were honed and developed. Labs are loving and very patient. Highly intelligent, eager to please, and high spirited. Lively and good-natured. They love to play, especially in water. Not aggressive with people or other animals. You can’t go wrong with one of the world’s friendliest dogs. Still used today as guide dogs and therapy dogs worldwide due to their docile nature and unwavering love for their guardians.
There you have the smartest dog breeds. Leave a comment if you think there are other specific breeds which deserve to be listed with the world’s smartest dog breeds!