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What are the world’s smartest dogs?

That they are cute and faithful we all already know. Our furry companions, the puppies, are already part of our lives and families. Depending on the breed, they can be very active and playful or quieter, peaceful, and affectionate. But did you also know that these are not the only differences between breeds? Some breeds are demonstrably more intelligent than others. Let’s get to know the 10 world’s smartest dogs, their breeds, and some features. Enjoy reading and have fun!

How is a dog’s intelligence measured?

You must have wondered that, right? After all, how do we know that one breed is smarter than another one? Well, there are several approaches to defining the intelligence of a dog breed. One of the most accepted is the one developed by the neuropsychologist Stanley Coren. He consulted more than 100 experts in training, as well as judges specializing in canine obedience trials to write “The Intelligence of Dogs” book. In the book, Coren listed over 100 breeds that were evaluated and determined which breeds were the smartest ones. The author makes it clear that it is not the animal’s instinctive intelligence, but the ability to learn tricks with as few repetitions as possible and respond to commands. The smartest dogs obeyed their handler’s command about 95% of the time within seconds of the command being given.

Border Collie

• 1st Place: Border Collie

The Border Collie is a herding dog, originally from the regions between Scotland and England, and its ability to anticipate the movements of the flock of sheep is something remarkable. It is considered the first on the world’s smartest dogs list. Only 5 repetitions are needed to learn a new command. They are very active dogs. They need space to run and play, that is, don’t even think about adopting a Border Collie if you live in an apartment or don’t have space in your home’s land for the dog to exercise.


• 2nd Place: Poodle

In second place on the world’s smartest dogs list, we have the very elegant and active Poodle. This cutie is of French origin and is easily recognized for its appearance, but also for the ease with which it learns tricks. As they are considered one of the most adaptable and easy-to-train breeds, they are commonly seen participating in obedience and agility contests. Oh and did you know that poodles are what we call “hypoallergenic dogs”? Exactly! They don’t cause allergies to humans, that is, if you love dogs, but are allergic, you can rest assured next to this little dog.

German Shepherd

• 3rd Place: German Shepherd

It has an imposing and striking look, in addition to being muscular and having a dense coat that protects it from rain and other weather. Besides that, it has a reliable personality and a balanced temperament. Its agility and learning ability makes it perfect for various “jobs”, so to speak. Among some of them are: police service, search and rescue, animal-assisted therapy, and guide and assistance work for the handicapped. No wonder it ranks third on the world’s smartest dogs list. Originally from Germany, as its name suggests, the German Shepherd is loyal, protective, and affectionate with its family. All these qualities make it one of the most appreciated breeds in the canine world.

world's smartest dogs
Golden Retriever

• 4th Place: Golden Retriever

The docile and friendly Golden Retriever ranks fourth on the world’s smartest dogs list. This handsome playful hails from late 19th century Scotland. It is known to be affectionate, social, and welcoming, and does very well with children. This breed is also widely used in services such as search and rescue, guide dogs, and animal-assisted therapy.

world's smartest dogs
Doberman Pinscher

• 5th Place: Doberman Pinscher

Brave, strong, fast, as well as elegant, and always seeming to be vigilant and attentive. This is the Doberman, a dog originally from Germany. Its short, shiny, black coat and its imposing, athletic posture make it a striking-looking dog. They are excellent guard dogs and protectors. Despite appearing aggressive, Dobermans, when taught from a young age to socialize, become very friendly and affectionate with their family.

world's smartest dogs
Shetland Sheepdog

• 6th Place: Shetland Sheepdog

Also known as the Sheltie, this small sheepdog originates from the Scottish Shetland Islands. Despite its size, it is known for its energy and efficiency when herding a flock. On top of that, it’s still beautiful with that thick, soft coat and that captivating gaze. These dogs have a strong desire to please their humans, as a result, they become very obedient and are great for animal-assisted therapy.

world's smartest dogs
Labrador Retriever – Image: OutdoorLife

• 7th Place: Labrador Retriever

This dog has a muscular, athletic body and an expressive head, along with a dense coat that is extremely weather resistant. They are excellent swimmers and runners, as well as being kind and friendly with both humans and other animals. Search and rescue, strength work and service dogs are some of the activities they perform with ease due to their great intelligence. They originate from Newfoundland, Canada, and rank seventh on the world’s smartest dogs list.

world's smartest dogs
Papillon os Continental Toy Spaniel

• 8th Place: Papillon or Continental Toy Spaniel

These elegant dogs, originally from France, have one of the most striking physical features: their large and distinctive ears. Their coat is long and silky and they are highly receptive to training and service commands. Although small, they are brave, alert, and protective of their family. Very social with other animals and children, they easily adapt to indoor environments, being dogs that can live peacefully in apartments. For all these reasons and many more that we haven’t listed here, they are one of the most beloved and popular small-breed dogs in the world, as well as one of the smartest too.

world's smartest dogs

• 9th Place: Rottweiler

In addition to the appearance that draws attention to the powerful size, they are excellent family companions, protectors, loyal, and dedicated. With proper and consistent training from a young age, they can become gentle, affectionate, and very patient with children. Originally from Rottweil Town, Germany, they are widely used as guard dogs, service dogs, and search and rescue dogs.

Australian Cattle Dog – Image: InfoEscola

• 10th Place: Australian Cattle Dog

This little dog is not a big fan of strange people or big movements, however, it is highly smart and resistant. Originally from Australia, it helped with the handling and driving of livestock, demonstrating remarkable herding skills. No wonder it is on the world’s smartest dogs list. Their physical structure is robust and athletic and they have a short and dense coat with spots on the body. They are very active dogs and need space to exercise, so they are not a good option if you live in an apartment or house without a patio.

world's smartest dogs
beloved mutts


If before knowing about canine intelligence we were already in love with them, now then our love has increased, if that is possible, right?! Did you like to know the 10 world’s smartest dogs list? We here at Proto Animal love to write about them. Despite everything we’ve seen in this article, it’s important to remember that each dog is unique and we shouldn’t forget the mutt dogs! Because these glorious representatives of the canine world do not have an identifiable breed, they bring genetic characteristics from different lineages. This results in a surprising diversity of factors, such as the intelligence degree, protection of their family, and many others. They are loving, docile dogs, recognized for their resistance, adaptability, and ability to become beloved members of our families.

Before buying a purebred dog, always remember the many affectionate puppies that await adoption on the streets and at animal protection NGOs.

Until next time