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The 5 Smartest Dog Breeds

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: January 19, 2017
The 5 Smartest Dog Breeds

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Stanley Coren is the author of The Intelligence of Dogs; a book which analyses the different types of canine intelligence and ranks them in order of work and obedience. Although published in 1994, the book remains a global reference for those looking for a dog capable of learning easily, developing skills and responding to orders.

There are many intelligent dog breeds, but some of them are truly brilliant. Regardless of what this ranking of the 5 smartest dog breeds in the world says, though, you must remember that a dog's breed is no indicator of intelligence, training and mental stimulation, which are all key factors that will make your dog more or less smart. And, of course, this approach doesn't include mixed-breed dogs, who can be just as clever.

If you want to adopt a dog that's easy to train and willing to learn, take a look at our AnimalWised guide to the 5 smartest dog breeds in the world.

You may also be interested in: The List of Smartest Dog Breeds by Stanley Coren

1. Border Collie

The Border Collie is considered the smartest dog breed in the world in Stanley Coren's list. They are able to take on several roles and responsibilities, as they can be trained to become guard dogs or sheep dogs, among many other things. The abilities of the Border Collie are far ranging and they never cease to surprise us.

As the Border Collie is a very active dog, they need an equally active owner who wants to do exercise with them on a daily basis. Owners who enjoy hiking, running or camping will be very pleased to have a Border Collie as their companion.

The owners need to commit time and energy to such a smart dog by pampering and mentally stimulating them every day. Some Border Collies have become famous; some examples include Chaser, capable of identifying 1,022 different toys, or Betsy, who apparently can understand over 340 words.

The 5 Smartest Dog Breeds - 1. Border Collie

2. Poodle

Second place on the list of the 5 smartest dog breeds goes to the Poodle,who is not only one of the most intelligent breeds but also the most famous type of show dog. In fact, Poodles were bred to be hunting dogs, but they have been considered excellent pets since the 15th Century.

Poodles are full of energy and are great at learning all kinds of tricks. In general, the Poodle is considered a very sociable dog that is always ready to please their owner and can be found following them around cheerfully.

In addition, the Poodle behaves brilliantly with small children with whom they can spend long periods of time doing exercise, playing and performing tricks in exchange for treats. Poodles, together with other water dogs, are among the best 10 hypoallergenic breeds for allergic families.

The 5 Smartest Dog Breeds - 2. Poodle

3. German Shepherd

Third in our list of the smartest dog breeds is the German Shepherd. Sometimes believed to be dangerous dogs, German Shepherds are actually very sensitive, intelligent and intuitive. They only tend to be dangerous if they are acting out from mistreatment or protecting their owner from perceived threats.

German Shepherds are widely used by police forces due to their agility, great olfactory ability and willingness to quickly obey orders from whoever is their master. This dog breed is a brave guard and defender that was originally bred and selected to be a working dog. As such, pleasing their owner is one of the German Shepherd's top priorities.

You should know that this breed needs to do lots of daily physical exercise if they live in an apartment or small home. Even so, the German Shepherd is a dog with an affable character who would choose the warmth of a small space together with their family over spending long hours alone in solitude.

The 5 Smartest Dog Breeds - 3. German Shepherd

4. Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are immensely popular and can be found in millions of homes around the world; they are beautiful and affable dogs, and they are also fourth in Stanley Coren's list of the smartest dog breeds in the world.

This breed was originally developed to assist in hunting and retrieving prey from the water, like the other retriever types. Golden Retrievers are energetic and excellent swimmers, and they can be trained to perform all types of tasks.

Golden Retrievers are known to assist police officers as sniffers and rescue dogs, to be wonderful companions to adults and small children and to be excellent at providing therapy services. They are tolerant, caring and can play for hours. Here you can discover the 10 things you should know about Golden Retrievers if you're thinking about adopting one.

The 5 Smartest Dog Breeds - 4. Golden Retriever

5. Doberman Pinscher

Finally there is the Doberman Pinscher; not just one of the smartest dog breeds, but one that is particularly fast at learning orders and training in general. There are many dark tales and urban legends about the Doberman Pinscher, but if you learn about their origin and history you will realize that they were bred to be loyal guard dogs, but not necessarily aggressive.

Doberman Pinscher dogs are intelligent, and also fairly peaceful and tolerant with their human family, including the little ones. They love to be part of a family, whom they consider their pack, and can develop very deep bonds with their carers. The Doberman Pinscher is a noble and beautiful dog that is always vigilant and attentive.

The 5 Smartest Dog Breeds - 5. Doberman Pinscher

These are the 5 smartest dog breeds in the world. Which one is your favorite?

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Alan
Great facts.

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