Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

Updated March 23, 2017

The top 10 smartest dog breeds share a few characteristics. Most are excellent family dogs, and many are working breeds. With great intelligence comes great responsibility. These dogs need to be occupied with an active lifestyle to keep boredom away. A smart, bored dog will find ways to amuse himself at the expense of your home or yard.

Border Collie

According to the American Kennel Club, the border collie is renown for its strong work ethic and intelligence. They are most commonly seen as champions in agility contests and are hard-working farming and herding dogs. Because of their high intelligence, they do bore easily and must be kept occupied to avoid destructive behaviours.


Poodles come in a few sizes, ranging from teacup all the way to the large standard. They are also excellent for people with allergies to dogs because they do not shed. They require regular trips to the groomer to keep their fur trimmed. Poodles are also good guard dogs and respond well to training.

German Shepherd

German shepherds belong to the herding breeds and have been used as both police and rescue dogs. They are a large breed and have an average lifespan of about 10 years. Like poodles, they also make excellent guard dogs.

Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers are also a large breed, weighing between 24.9 to 34kg. They excel as hunting dogs and are also used in search and rescue. They generally get along well with other dogs and their mellow temperament tends to make them good with children.

Doberman Pinscher

Dobermans are well known as a guard dog. They have been used as both police dogs as well as military dogs during wartime.

Shetland Sheepdog

A relative of both the collie and border collie, the Shetland is also a herding breed. They are a smaller breed, standing a little more than 1 foot tall. They can be somewhat shy with people they do not know and make great guard dogs.

Labrador Retriever

Labs are one of the most popular family dogs. They range in size between 55 and 75lbs. and are water dogs. Excellent at hunting, they possess an even temperament that makes them a great addition to almost any family.


Papillons are a toy-sized breed. They do well in apartment settings because they do not require a large yard. Interestingly, some owners have had success in litter box training them as well.


Rottweilers were bred in Germany as guard dogs and have a long history as service dogs in police work. They can be territorial, but they respond well to training.

Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian cattle dog is also known as the Queensland heeler. As the name suggests, they originate from Australia and are excellent herding dogs. Similar to a border collie, they require an active lifestyle and can get themselves into trouble if they are allowed to become bored.

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About the Author

Rebecca Burdick began her freelance writing career in 2007 and currently writes for several online publications. She specializes in small business bookkeeping and financial management. Burdick studied accounting and economics at Boise State University and University of California at Riverside.