The Smartest Dog Breeds


It may seem nearly impossible to determine dog intelligence, but while it is difficult, there have been studies done to determine working intelligence in popular dog breeds. Drypet is here to show you where the dog breeds stack up in an intelligence test.

Canine psychologist Stanley Coren found that the most intelligent working dogs include the Border collie, German shepherd, and Shetland sheepdog. He calls this group the top-tier group of dogs, which tend to be the brightest working dogs capable of learning a new command in less than five exposures. These breeds also tend to be obedient and follow commands at least 95 percent of the time.

Top-tier breeds include:

1.      Border collie

2.      Poodle

3.      German shepherd

4.      Golden retriever

5.      Doberman pinscher

6.      Shetland sheepdog

7.      Labrador retriever

8.      Papillon

9.      Rottweiler

10.   Australian cattle dog

These are considered the 10 dog breeds with the highest working intelligence.

The next level of working dogs is called the second tier. These dogs tend to learn new commands in five to 15 exposures and obey around 85 percent of the time. Some of the dogs in this group are the Pembroke Welsh corgi, miniature schnauzer, Pomeranian, vizsla, and Cardigan Welsh corgi.

The third tier of working dogs are considered above-average as they tend to learn a new trick in 15 to 25 exposures. They also tend to obey commands at least 70 percent of the time. Some of the dog breeds in this group are Samoyeds, Portuguese water dogs, Dalmatians, and American Eskimo dogs.

Fourth tier working dogs are of average working intelligence. These breeds usually can learn a new trick in 25 to 40 exposures. They obey at least 50 percent of the time. Common fourth tier dog breeds are the Siberian husky, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, boxers, and dachshunds.

Dogs of fair intelligence are fifth tier breeds. Fifth tier breeds can learn new tricks in 40 to 80 repetitions, and they tend to respond to commands about 40 percent of the time. A few breeds included in this group are the Italian greyhound, French bulldog, Pug, and Great Pyrenees.

The sixth tier is reserved for the least effective working group dogs who can learn a trick after more than 100 repetitions and only obey about 30 percent of the time. Shih Tzus, beagles, and bulldogs are in the sixth tier working group.

While there are always exceptions, Coren’s data shows that the breeds in these groups fall into these categories based on information from a survey of 199 dog obedience judges. Coren stated that the responses to the survey were remarkably consistent, so he believes that the responses are fair. Check out the whole list at Science Alert to see where your dog hits on the list.