A Complete List of 15 Most Intelligent Dogs

Most intelligent dogs have a unique ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. If a dog is capable of gathering the right kind of information and use it at the right time in the correct way, we can place him in the exclusive club of the most intelligent dogs.

Experts indicate that an adult dog illustrates a similar intelligence to that of a two-year-old human baby. So, a smart dog has its limits as well.

15 Smartest Dog Breeds List in 2020

Does dog intelligence mean popularity?

In fact, dog intelligence does not necessarily indicate the popularity of a breed. The Border Collie captures the top spot in terms of dog intelligence score.
But the AKC breed popularity list places this breed at the 35th position.  On the other hand, the most popular breed in the USA is the Labrador Retriever which is positioned at the 7th spot in the dog intelligence list. Intelligent dogs may be difficult to handle and that can be too much for a potential owner unwilling to spend much effort behind the puppy.

What is the IQ of a dog?

Animal science suggests that an adult dog IQ stands equal to a two-year-old child. But the top smartest dogs such as the Border Collie, Poodle, and several other breeds can compete with a child aged 2.5 years in terms of mental skills.

What are the factors of dog intelligence?

Professor Stanley Coren at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver puts forward three distinct features of the most intelligent dogs. These are instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence, and working as well as obedience intelligence. 

1. Breed defines instinctive intelligence in the form of herding, pointing, protecting, companionship, and so on.
2. Adaptive intelligence points to his capacity of resolving issues on his own.
3. Working and obedience intelligence denote his aptitude at learning new things from humans.

So, we have brought you 15 of the most intelligent dogs who perform the best in these classifications.

Which dog breed is the smartest?

Dog people have reached a general agreement that the Border Collie captures this honored spot. Working breeds are most of the time good at receiving new ideas and implementing those in practice. The Border Collie specializes on this front. Five seconds is all it takes for him to learn a new command and apply it. 

But such a feat must precede excellent basic training. Ninety-five percent of the instances, dogs barely disappoint you in this context. Now, take a look at the list of top intelligent dogs.

Is dog intelligence subject to training?

Dog intelligence is not conditioned to intense training output. Though dogs learn the sit, stay, and other commands quite easily, this is not the prime intelligence factor.

Rather, it is often a grace from their breed line. Usually, we see that a herding or working dog has a better capacity to act on your orders. Ancestral records assist them in this regard.

The primary job also affects it. Every dog has a basic function. If we try to frame a companion dog with guarding capability, it scarcely yields fruitful results. Certainly, you can elevate his intelligence on the doggie scale. But at the upper echelon of dogdom, it is often a directly inherited quality.

Moreover, there are breeds that master a command with as few as 5 trials and some will need 100 trials. They are characteristically different.

1. Border Collie:

Border Collie

Height: 18’’-22’’
Weight: 30-45 Pounds
Lifespan: 12-15 Years
Group: Herding

This British herding dog is reputed for being affectionate, smart, and energetic. They are famous for their ‘herding eye’. This is a penetrating gaze that startles and gathers the herd together.  He is highly perceptive of the trainer’s smallest signals. Interestingly, the Border Collie outperforms its competitors in both athleticism and agility.

Certainly, a workaholic Border Collie never rests before finishing his daily tasks. His dynamic physicality discards a potentially idle owner from having him.

2. Poodle:


Height: 10’’-15’’
Weight: 40-70 Pounds
Lifespan: 12-15 Years
Group: Non-Sporting

Active and smart Poodles are the top training achievers. They are fantastic for agility, obedience, and amazing at hunting grounds. This aristocratic and intelligent German dog dislikes solitude. He is a natural hunter, tracker, and retriever.

What is the national dog of France? The Poodle is the national dog of France. He loves to be with his family and possesses a great sense of humor

3. German Shepherd Dog:

German shepherd

Height: 22’’-26’’
Weight: 50-90 Pounds
Lifespan: 8-13 Years
Group: Herding

The second most popular dog in the USA, the German Shepherd is courageous, confident, and smart. Known as Alsatian in Britain, they still serve in both the military and the police.

Originally a herding dog, the German Shepherd has earned an eminence for its agility, nobility, and all-weather working capacity. He holds a reserved personality only to be melted down by the family members. It makes him a splendid watchdog.

Why did the Brits use the name Alsatian? British people used to abhor anything German during the Second World War. This dog first came to the public focus during that restive period. So, they chose ‘Alsatian’, after the place of their origin ‘Alsace’.

4. Golden Retriever:

Golden Retriever

Height: 21’’-24’’
Weight: 55-75 Pounds
Lifespan: 10-12 Years
Group: Sporting

The third most popular dog Golden Retriever is friendly, witty, and devoted. He is a Scottish gun dog reputed for search and rescue. Goldens are sociable, trustworthy, and all-for-family dogs. This lavish beauty takes his job seriously and puts a lot of effort into it.

A solemn working attitude makes him a perfect trainee. He loves your presence and seeks ways to please you with adorable companionship. This sporting dog is highly energetic for a watchdog, but not a protector or guard.

Why is this big dog not a protector? They are more social than required. They barely know the meaning of aggression. it’s in their nature to smilingly welcome a stranger. So, it makes them unfit for protection jobs.

5. Doberman Pinscher:

Doberman Pinscher

Height: 24’’- 28’’
Weight: 60-90 Pounds
Lifespan: 10-13 Years
Group: Working Group

The AKC mentions this sleek and strenuous dog as loyal, intrepid, and alert. Majestic Doberman is a grand combination of physical superiority and sharp intelligence. Their fierce outlook and bright understanding make them incomparable protection dogs.

His nature does not permit him to seek troubles. But this one will go a long distance to minimize an imminent threat. His physical and mental soundness requires plenty of exercises. Nonetheless, deep loyalty to the family has placed Doberman as a top-rated dog.

6. Shetland Sheepdog:

Shetland Sheepdog

Height: 13’’-16’’
Weight: 15-25 Pounds
Lifespan: 12-14 Years
Group: Herding

Energetic and bright Shetland Sheepdog belongs to the herding group. He is a nimble runner, distinguished jumper, and obedient herder. Watchdog Sheltie bears a close resemblance to his cousin Border Collie. Lively Shetland asks for excessive physical and mental stimulation.

Shelties are kind of withdrawn among strangers. But they are deeply amicable with their family members. Sensitive Shelties need a tranquil trainer’s voice. A messy environment weighs in on your nerve with his corresponding high-pitched barking.

7. Labrador Retriever:

Labrador Retriever

Height: 21’’-24’’
Weight: 55-80 Pounds
Lifespan: 10-12 Years
Group: Sporting

The topmost popular dog in America, Labrador Retriever is active and outgoing in nature. Robustly built Labradors are ardent athletes looking for a ton of both physical and mental exercise in swimming and fetching.

He accommodates many roles. This is a swift retriever, show dog, affectionate companion, and hard worker. Labradors are astounding swimmers assisted tremendously with webbed feet and water-repellent coats. Hunter Labrador easily gets bored in the absence of exhaustive tasks.

Why are they so much popular? They are all for the family. Sporty Labrador is warm, intelligent and ready for anything. Dog competitions bear testimony to their agility and obedience.

8. Papillon:


Height: 8’’-11’’
Weight: 5-10 pounds
Lifespan: 14-16 Years
Group: Toy

Toy spaniel and wonderful companion Papillon has a reputation for a friendly, alert, and happy demeanor. He has butterfly ears, demonstrating his nimble athleticism. This toy breed shows no bellicosity. He is fast, a trait suitable for unleashing a cascade of tricks.

Inevitably, Papillon’s beauty does not blight his strenuous capacities. This sturdy dog can tolerate both warm and cold climates. They are the highest competition performers. This little watchdog can steer clear rodents of your place. He is easily trainable. Sweet tempered Papillon makes a superb family dog.

9. Rottweiler:


Height: 22’’-27’’
Weight: 85-135 Pounds
Lifespan: 8-11 Years
Group: Working

Robustly built Rottweiler is a loyal, loving, and confident guardian. They are self-assured, calm, and courageous. Instinctively territorial Rottweilers are befitting as police dogs, herders, and service dogs.

These guard dogs turn into magnificent family protectors. He loves family companionship. Frankly, he is a two-edged sword who may get embroiled in tragic incidents if he is kept unsupervised. With awesome physicality and intelligence, a Rottweiler becomes your best friend in the world.

10. Australian Cattle Dog:

Australian cattle dog

Height: 18’’-20’’
Weight: 30-50 Pounds
Lifespan: 12-16 Years
Group: Herding

Alert and pleasant Australian Cattle Dog belongs to the herding group. High energy ‘Australian Heeler’ regularly outdoes his master. This is a dog of action and abhors idling around. You must keep him busy all the time or he demonstrates destructive behavior. In addition, his muscular physique is a symbol of energy and agility.

They perform their superiority at chasing, hunting, and herding cattle. He bonds intimately with a single person and maintains reserved relationships with the rest. This dog is built for rough weather or terrain and can endure immense pressure.

11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi:

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Height: 10’’-12’’
Weight: +-30 Pounds
Lifespan: 12-14 Years
Group: Herding

First of all, smart and affectionate Pembroke Welsh Corgi belongs to the herding group. In fact, they are the smallest in this category. They are the most amiable among the miniatures. Their top-notch intelligence turns them into family dogs. Current status brings more ease than their previous working jobs. They are still the most in-demand herding breed.

Reliable, agile, and focused Pembrokes contain a big dog personality. Besides, He is stubborn. This is much common among intelligent dogs. Observant Pembroke is a watchdog with nerve shuddering barks. But he is gentle with the guests. Frankly, this is a fantastic trainee and a loyal family dog. He is susceptible to obesity. So, you have to be careful about overfeeding him.

12. Miniature Schnauzer:

Miniature Schnauzer

Height: 12’’-14’’
Weight: 11-20 Pounds
Lifespan: 12-14 Years
Group: Terrier

Miniature Schnauzer, a German dog breed, stands out as friendly, smart, and intelligent. This terrier ranks 17th in popularity. His cheerful, extroverted presence and lightweight size make him a flawless family dog.

He was bred to be a farmland guard against smaller threats. Nowadays, a spunky Miniature would love to join the amusements of a family. He also prefers ceaseless company, agreeable to his high energy.

Generally, healthy Miniatures bring in a congenial shaggy beard and eyebrows. His minuscule size demands a little outdoor exercise but feisty indoor games.

Moreover, he learns swiftly, thanks to a superb wit. He might act a little awkward because of the terrier nature. Undoubtedly, they show non-aggressive character and go well with the others.

13. English Springer Spaniel:

English Springer Spaniel

Height: 19’’-20’’
Weight: 40-50 Pounds
Lifespan: 12-14 Years
Group: Sporting

Versatility lies at the core of an English Springer Spaniel. He promises a happy, lively personality with intense family ties. He is fit for any job that you can think of for a pet dog. Hunting, tracking, agility, obedience tests, and show rings are some of his zones. Tremendous tenacity and stamina allow them a free pass in difficult situations.

However, the family remains to be their common ground of expertise. His happiness never shrinks while he is with the people he loves. They can impeccably adapt to a social circumstance. These dogs are reputed for their outgoing character and active participation in the events around them.

14. Belgian Tervuren:

Belgian Tervuren

Height: 22’’-26’’
Weight: 45-75 Pounds
Lifespan: 12-14 Years
Group: Herding

Intellectually sufficient Belgian Tervuren comes in a medium size. These smart dogs love tough challenges and compact schedules. Previously, he was a farm dog with a jam-packed routine.

Athleticism and versatility describe a Belgian Tervuren. He is the most handsome member among the four Belgian sheepdogs. You tread into unending humor with a Tervuren by your side. They momentarily learn your tricks and commands.

15. Belgian Sheepdog:

Belgian Shepherd

Height: 22’’-26’’
Weight: 45-75 Pounds
Lifespan: 12-14 Years
Group: Herding

Here comes another herding group member into the most intelligent dog club. This smart dog takes no time to capture your training. His extraordinary intelligence demands an experienced owner.

You must plan in advance to keep him busy as his endless energy requires continuous jobs. Sports and agility are a breeze if you have this dog. Belgium has gifted the world with this multi-talented dog.


If you do not find your dog in this list of the most intelligent dogs, there is no point to be disappointed. The smartest dogs require plenty of jobs and companionship which is quite awkward for a busy person. They are usually hard-working dogs and in the absence of tasks, their behavior goes nuts.

Be a proud owner of a smart dog only when you have time. Their high level of energy asks for more attention, work, and company. Rather, be happy with your current pet. Ultimately, the most intelligent dogs are often the most difficult to handle.

5 Replies to “A Complete List of 15 Most Intelligent Dogs”

  • While the Brits may have had their reasons some 70+ years ago for referring to the German Shepherd as an Alsatian, it would be incorrect for North Americans to follow suit, since in this hemisphere there is already a breed of Husky known as the Alsatian. It is found primarily in northwestern Canada and Alaska. Further, referring to something originating in the former Alsace region might more usefully be considered French rather than German. To avoid saying the word ‘German’ by substituting a word having a strong French connotation seems fruitlessly obscurantist. I wonder if the Belgian Sheepdog would be amused by the Brits’ impertinence in this regard…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *