The 20 Smartest Dog Breeds In The World

When it comes to intelligence in dogs, it’s not just about their ability to follow commands or perform tricks. It’s about their aptitude for understanding and responding to their environment, their ability to solve problems, and even their capacity for empathy. Some breeds have been specifically developed over generations to exhibit high levels of intelligence for certain tasks, whether that’s herding, hunting, or companionship.

While all dogs have their own unique intelligence and charm, there are certain breeds that tend to stand out in terms of mental prowess. In this article, we’ll explore the top 20 smartest dog breeds, diving into their unique qualities, inherent skills, and the reasons behind their impressive cognitive abilities.

Border Collie

The Border Collie is an extremely intelligent, energetic breed, often ranked as the smartest dog breed in the world. These dogs are bred for working, especially herding sheep, and have a strong desire to work and please their owners. Their high intelligence makes them quick learners and problem solvers, but they also require lots of mental and physical stimulation to keep them happy. They are known to excel in obedience, agility, and other dog sports. With their strong work ethic, Border Collies are best suited for active families or individuals who can provide them with a job to do.


Often stereotyped for their elegant, showy appearance, Poodles are actually one of the most intelligent dog breeds. They are highly trainable, quick learners, and adapt well to various situations. Poodles come in three sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy, but all share the same level of intelligence and eagerness to please their owners. They excel in various dog sports, including obedience, agility, and tracking. Their hypoallergenic coats are a bonus for people with allergies. They are good-natured, sociable dogs who get along well with children and other pets.

German Shepherd

Known for their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility, German Shepherds are widely used as service and working dogs. They are often seen in roles such as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and guide dogs for the blind. Their strong protective instincts make them excellent guard dogs. They are active, enjoy having a job to do, and require lots of exercise. German Shepherds are known for their strong bonds with family members and are excellent with children when properly socialized. Their intelligence makes them quick learners and they excel in various dog sports.

Golden Retriever

One of the most popular dog breeds, Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly and tolerant attitudes. The Golden Retriever is a medium-sized dog breed that is known for its gentle and affectionate nature. They are a popular pet and are one of the most registered breeds in several Western countries.

Doberman Pinscher

Dobermans are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and strong protective instincts. Despite their reputation, Dobermans are affectionate, friendly, and extremely loyal to their families.

Shetland Sheepdog

They are very loyal to their families, and while they can be reserved around strangers, they are excellent with children. Shelties require regular mental and physical exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

Labrador Retriever

Known for their friendly nature and intelligence, Labradors are the most popular breed in the United States. They are eager to please, making them highly trainable and a top choice for service dog work.


They are friendly, outgoing, and get along well with other animals. Despite their delicate appearance, they are sturdy dogs and love to play and run. They require regular mental stimulation and exercise, but their small size makes them suitable for apartment living.


Rottweilers form strong bonds with their families and are very protective of them. They require regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. While they can be reserved with strangers, they are usually affectionate with their families. Despite their size, they are quite agile and excel in various dog sports.

Australian Cattle Dog

Also known as the Blue Heeler, the Australian Cattle Dog is a high-energy, intelligent breed. Bred to herd cattle in Australia, these dogs are independent, hard-working, and have a strong desire to work. They are quick learners and very adaptable, but also require lots of physical and mental stimulation.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Despite their short legs and small size, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are highly intelligent and active dogs. They were originally bred for herding and still have a strong instinct to do so.

Miniature Schnauzer

They are lively, energetic, and quick learners, excelling in obedience, agility, and terrier trials. Schnauzers are known for their spirited personalities and their strong desire to be a part of the family activities. They are good with children and other animals, and their small size makes them suitable for apartment living.

English Springer Spaniel

Springer Spaniels are known for their friendly nature and love of play, making them great family pets. They are quick learners and do well in various dog sports like obedience, agility, and tracking.

Belgian Tervuren

They are known for their versatility and are often used as police and service dogs. Tervurens are quick learners and very adaptable. They require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, as they are high-energy dogs with a strong drive to work.


hese small dogs were originally bred for hunting vermin on ships and canals, earning them the nickname “little captains”. Schipperkes are agile, active, and require regular exercise. They have an independent streak but are also very loyal to their families.

Belgian Malinois

Malinois form strong bonds with their handlers and are protective of their families. They can be reserved with strangers and require early socialization. Despite their working dog heritage, they can also make loyal and affectionate family pets.


Collies are excellent with children and other animals, making them great family pets. They require regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. They have a distinctive look and are often associated with the famous dog “Lassie”.


hey are quick learners and do well in obedience and agility trials. Keeshonds are known for their strong attachment to their families and their desire to be involved in family activities.


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