Your Guide to the World’s Smartest Dog Breeds

smarest dog breedsWe all like to think of ourselves as intelligent, and we are probably correct! Humans express their individual types of intelligence in many different forms; some of us are more analytical, some of us more creative, some have high social IQs, and for some, music, art, or athletics come naturally.

Like humans, canine intelligence manifests itself in various ways. And although all of our beloved pups are smart in their own ways, some breeds rise above the pack when it comes to intelligence. The smartest dog breeds all have traits that combine the best of their breed’s genetics along with problem solving ability and other traits that we generally think of as demonstrating intelligence.

Understanding Canine Intelligence

Canine intelligence is generally defined as the ability of a dog to learn, think, and solve problems.

According to psychologist and author Stanley Coren, it’s not necessarily that simple. Over his decades of research, Coren has identified three basic types of canine intelligence that must be measured separately in order to define a smart breed:

  • Instinctive – This refers to what a dog was bred to do, such as herding, guarding, hunting, etc.. Breeds with high instinctive intelligence can perform the duties they were bred for easily with the help of human intervention.
  • Adaptive – Adaptive intelligence measures how well a dog learns from and adapts to his or her environment. Unlike instinctive intelligence, adaptive learning ability can vary widely among individuals of the same breed.
  • Working and obedience – This type of intelligence is measured by what, and how quickly, a dog can learn through obedience training.

Smartest Dog Breeds Revealed

Based on canine intelligence studies performed among the most common breeds, the top 10 smartest dog breeds are as follows:

  1. Border collies
  2. Poodles
  3. German shepherds
  4. Golden retrievers
  5. Dobermans
  6. Shetland sheepdogs
  7. Labrador retrievers
  8. Papillons
  9. Bloodhounds
  10. Rottweilers

Don’t see your sweet pooch among this elite group? Not to worry! Intelligence is about so much more than breed. The time, effort, and commitment an owner puts into his or her pet through training, wellness efforts, and mental stimulation has a huge impact on whether or not any pet reaches his or her full potential.

It’s also important to keep in mind that every dog has a unique form of intelligence, and mixed breeds are often a wonderful combination of the intelligence factors of their lineage, minus the headaches that often come with a purebred dog.

At Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates, we love ALL of our canine patients. Please schedule an appointment, and we look forward to seeing you and your smart dog soon!