There are plenty of smart dogs out there, but some breeds are especially known for their high levels of intelligence. Dogs are generally considered to have the intelligence level of toddlers.

The smartest dog breeds, regardless of size or origin, all have that one thing in common: how quickly they can understand commands and how quickly they follow them. In the very smartest of dog breeds, hand signals and verbal commands can be trained simultaneously and used interchangeably, usually with no difference in response time. So if you’re looking for dogs who can follow your commands with precision, or just an affable family pet who can roll over for a treat.

Who is the smartest dog in the world?

The smartest dog in the world is a Border Collie called Chaser. Not only does she know the name of all her 1,000 unique toys, she knows a huge amount of words and brings things when asked. Apparently, she has the cognition and development of a toddler. How’s that for a clever dog breed?

Here are 9 of the smartest dog breeds.

Border Collie. Photo: Pinterest
Border Collie. Photo: Pinterest

Border Collie

The Border Collie is a breed of dog first bred in Scotland for the purpose of herding livestock and various farm animals ( Border Collies are incredibly smart and are often cited as the most intelligent breed of dog in the world due to their ability to solve complex problems, and to obey multiple commands. The breed is well-known for its black and white coat, medium build, and abundance of energy. The Border Collie is also known for its exceptionally long lifespan, living upwards of 17 years.

Because of their ability to learn quickly, this breed requires exceptional levels of mental stimulation (on a daily basis), along with daily exercise to satisfy its high levels of energy. For this reason, the Border Collie is often best-suited for the outdoors as they quickly become bored inside enclosed areas.

Without proper care and stimulation, the collie is known to become distressed or frustrated. For owners that are up to the challenge though, the Border Collie makes for an excellent companion for both children and adults, alike. As a result of its exceptional intelligence, the Border Collie is also well-suited for both dog sports and shows and often excels in actions/events requiring speed and agility.

Border Collie - Breed Sumarry

HEIGHT: 18 to 22 inches

WEIGHT: 28 to 48 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Rough or smooth medium-length double coat; body is slightly longer than it is tall; long head that comes to a point at the nose with ears standing erect and tips curling over


Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

Some animals have it all: looks and brains. And such is the luck of the Poodle. The gorgeous canines are not only attractive, but they’re the second smartest dog breed. Although, Poodle owners might argue that their beloved four-paws top the intelligence list since they know when and how to chill! That’s not to say they don’t need exercise; the former hunting dogs should get out for a romp daily. But they’re not nearly as rambunctious as the smartest dog breed.

Nowadays you can adopt cockapoos, whoodles and goldendoodles, to name a few, but breeders love regular ol' poodles for more than just their hypoallergenic qualities. The curly coated cuties also took the silver medal for working intelligence in Coren's survey.

Poodle - Breed Sumarry

HEIGHT: Standard: 15 inches; miniature: 10 to 15 inches; toy: 10 inches and under

WEIGHT: Standard: 45 to 70 pounds; miniature: 15 to 18 pounds; toy: 5 to 9 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Curly, dense, single-layer coat that may be one of many solid colors, including white, black, gray, brown, and apricot

German Shepherd

Photo: rover
Photo: rover

The German shepherd was standardized by breeder Captain Max von Stephanitz in 1889 with a goal of “utility and intelligence.” The modern German shepherd dog is well-known for its ability to learn commands for many different tasks—which is one reason why these beloved dogs rate so high in intelligence.

Known for athleticism, loyalty, and confidence, German shepherds can be wonderful family dogs as well as skilled herders, military canines, and assistance dogs.

The superstar workhorse of the canine world, German Shepherds are confident, easily trainable, and eager to please their people. Typically, it only takes German Shepherds five tries to learn a new command. The breed is famous for its law enforcement work, and they also make excellent family pets.

Breed Sumarry German Shepherd

HEIGHT: 22 to 26 inches

WEIGHT: 60 to 100 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Large, athletic build; double coat comprised of a thick undercoat and a dense, slightly wavy or straight outer coat; tan and black or red and black coloring

Golden Retriever

Photo: American Kennel Club
Photo: American Kennel Club

Breed Sumarry Golden Retriever

HEIGHT: 21 to 24 inches

WEIGHT: 55 to 75 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Sturdy, muscular frame; broad head; light to dark golden coat; friendly and intelligent eyes

The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular breeds of dog in the United States, and is well-known for its intelligence, learning capacity, loyalty, and friendly disposition. The retriever was originally bred to accompany hunters, particularly bird hunters, as the dog’s soft mouth allowed it to retrieve game without damaging its outer components. In more modern times, however, the Golden Retriever is a popular choice for families as thedog’s gentle nature makes it an excellent companion for children (

The dog is also well-known for its long golden coats, as well as its relatively large body (reaching upwards of 75 pounds). Similar to German Shepherds in intelligence, it has been found that the Golden Retriever is capable of learning a new command with less than five repetitions of an action (

The retriever’s intelligence is also considered “adaptive,” in that the dog possesses the ability to learn new things on its own without assistance (learning from various mistakes until it perfects particular actions). It is also believed that the Golden Retriever is capable of understanding human emotions to a degree, as the breed is known to both cuddle and “kiss” when its owners display sad dispositions ( It is estimated that retrievers are capable of learning over 200 different commands in their lifetime, making them one of the smartest dog breeds in existence.

Dogs learn best with positive reinforcement, such as a treat or praise. When you make training seem like a fun game, a dog is more likely to stay engaged for longer and learn what you're trying to teach it.

READ MORE: How Often Should You Take Your Dogs To The Vet?

Doberman Pinscher

Photo: DogTime
Photo: DogTime

The Doberman pinscher was originally bred by a German tax collector for protection on his rounds. In WWII, they were trained to guard sleeping troops, lead soldiers through the jungle, and give warning barks if there were enemies hiding close by.

Modern Dobermans are far less aggressive and make wonderful family dogs that love to play. Muscular in build, they’re renown for their loyalty and fearlessness and are one of the most recognized guard dogs.

Shetland Sheepdog

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

Smaller than collies, these adorable fluffballs hold their own in herding, agility, and obedience trials. Consequently, Shelties do tend to bark, chase, and herd, but their affectionate nature and love for cuddles will erase any hard feelings.

Commonly called “Shelties,” Shetland Sheepdogs are obedient herding dogs originally from Scotland. Cousins to Collies, Shelties are quick, energetic, and very smart. So long as you don’t mind giving them a good brushing two or three times a week, Shetland Sheepdogs make great family pets because they’re very intuitive when it comes to human moods and needs.

Labrador Retriever

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

The most popular dog breed in the U.S., the Labrador retriever is named for the cold waters off Newfoundland where they were first bred. A short thick coat, webbed feet, and a heavy tail help this intelligent dog swim long distances in cold water.

Labs love to please, whether it's as guide dogs, narcotic detection dogs, or just everyday family pets. Americans have accordingly made them the most popular breed in the country for a whopping 27 years in a row.

Breeds to Avoid

If you are expecting your dog to learn complicated tricks or reliably engage in a job, then there are some dog breeds you might want to avoid. It's not that these breeds are dumb. They just might be hard to train or tend to have an independent, stubborn streak. Some breeds that are often difficult learners include the Afghan hound and Pekingese. Dogs that are generally more aloof and independent include the basenji, borzoi, and shiba inu.


Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Espee

The Papillon is a small but incredibly smart breed of dogs believed to have originated in either France or Belgium. Reaching only 11-inches tall and approximately 10-pounds in weight, the Papillon makes up for this small size with its remarkable intelligence and capacity for learning.

Similar to the Chihuahua, the Papillon is well-known for its bravery, and are often described as “big dogs in little bodies” due to their self-assurance and feistiness ( As a result, the Papillon makes for a great companion, as they form close bonds to their owners. Although a great pet for families, experts agree that the Papillon should always be supervised around small children, as their small size makes them extremely delicate and prone to injury.

Aside from their companionship and loyalty, the Papillon is perhaps “the most responsive and obedient of the toy breeds,” and is capable of learning new commands with only a few repetitions. As a result, mental stimulation is a must for this breed, as owners should devise games and tasks that actively engage the Papillon’s mind to prevent boredom and frustration.


Photo: Chotot
Photo: Chotot

Breed Sumarry - Rottweiler

HEIGHT: 22 to 27 inches

WEIGHT: 80 to 130 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Large, muscular body; short, somewhat coarse but shiny black coat; clearly defined rich tan facial markings

Ancient Roman cattle herders, cart pullers, and guardians, rottweilers are renowned for gentleness with family and friends, and strength and bravery in defending them. These dogs can be quite silly and playful, despite their size.

They were one of the first breeds used as guide dogs and are still used in some search and rescue missions. Thorough training and socialization is an absolute must for puppies to mature into solid canine citizens.

All dogs are good and pure and brilliant but some are, well, slightly smarter than others. Certain breeds, such as Collies and Labrador Retrievers, are known for their intelligence and for their ability to serve as guides and help with police and military work. Above is a list of the 10 smartest dog breeds. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to add them to the comment section below and don't forget to follow KnowInsdiers for more interesting news. Thank you for tuning in!

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