11 Smartest dog breeds in the world, their characteristics and History with pictures

smart dog breeds

11 smartest dog breeds in the world and their characteristics.

Dogs have been one of man’s oldest and closest animal companions. We have more than 400 breeds of dog worldwide although only 178 are officially recognized

Each breed exhibit different levels of smartness in their reactions and behavior.

To accurately rank the smartest dog breeds, several abilities such as the ability to learn a new command in fewer repetition.

The ability to obey command on the first attempt, word comprehension, problem-solving abilities of each dog breed.

Ability to reason, communicate with humans and other animals, their responsiveness to training.

Ability to predict human behaviour and finally, their ability to remember incidents were evaluated by Stanley Coren using over 200 different breeds of dogs.

Stanley Coren is an American psychology professor and writer on the intelligence, mental abilities and history of dogs, author of  The Intelligence of Dogs.

Top 11 Smartest dog breeds in the world

  1. Poodle Dogs
  2. German shepherd.
  3. Golden retriever.
  4. Doberman pinscher
  5. Shetland sheepdog
  6. Labrador retriever.
  7. Papillon
  8. Rottweiler
  9. Australian cattle dog.
  • Border collie

smartest dog breeds
Border collie

The Border collie is the smartest dog breed in the world, originated from the Anglo-Scottish border region.

They are a medium-sized dog that is highly intelligent, extremely energetic and athletic.

Their body is slightly longer than their tail. They have a long head with their eyes standing erect.

Border Collie dog breeds are known for their hard-working and herding ability.

They were formally bred for herding purposes, especially for sheep.

Characteristics of the Border collie dog breed.

They are very friendly when cared for, have a high level of affection and demand attention, they are kid-friendly.

They love to exercise frequently, have a high energy level and are good for protection because of their high tendency to bark

They are teachable, always ready to learn new thing and can learn a new command in under five repetitions, they are capable of doing any type of job when trained.

  • Poodle Dogs

smart dogs
Poodle Dogs

The Poodle dogs even though are called the French Dogs originated from Germany as water dogs.

They are among the most popular and smartest dog breeds in the world.

The Poodle dogs are highly intelligent, hardworking and energetic dogs with good temperament.

The breed is divided into four varieties based on size;

  1. The Standard Poodle
  2. Medium Poodle
  3. Miniature Poodle and
  4. The Toy Poodle, although the Medium Poodle variety is not universally recognized.

 Characteristics of the Poodle Dog breed

The Poodles are cute with unique hair coats, they are very smart and takes the silver medal in the ranking of smart dogs.

They are teachable and therefore can be trained to perform any task. some varieties such as the Miniature and toy poodles are good swimmers and hunters.

Due to their coast and shedding, they are regarded as  hypoallergenic dog breeds.

  • German shepherd.

smart dog breeds
German shepherd

The German Shepherd is a breed of medium to a large-sized working dog that originated from Germany.

According to the FCI, the breed’s English language name is German Shepherd Dog. They are obedient and protective.

German Shepherd is intelligent and has so much energy, their over-protective nature can sometimes be misunderstood as being too anxious.

They are always ready to work and get involved in activities.

They are fast learners and therefore picks up training fast.

They thrive on performing tasks for their humans.

Characteristics of the German shepherd.

The German Shepherd  is Large in size, athletic, slightly wavy or straight outer coat; tan and black or red and black colouring.

They are characterized by their high level of loyalty, confidence, courage and well-muscled body, they are always alert and full of life.

They can learn commands fast and are always willing to put their life on the line in defense of loved ones.

They make good pets and can be counted on for protection.

They are often utilized as police dogs, service dogs or agility dogs due to their high trainability and commitment.

  • Golden retriever.

Golden Retriever
Golden retriever

The Golden Retriever is one of the smartest dog breeds in the world, it is ranked fourth worldwide.

It is a medium-large gun dog that was bred to retrieve shot waterfowl.

The name “retriever” refers to the breed’s ability to retrieve shot game undamaged due to their soft mouth

The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States.

They are  friendly, tolerant, this makes them great family pets.

Their high level of intelligence makes them highly capable working dogs.

Characteristics of Golden Retriever

They are sturdy, muscular dog of medium size, popular for their dense, lustrous coat of gold that gives the breed its name “Golden Retriever”.

They have a broad head, dark cute eyes, short ears, and straight muzzle, they love food and go as far as being overweight if you fail to watch their rate of consumption.

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They have long-coated with a dense inner coat, this provides them with adequate warmth in the outdoors.

Golden Retriever in motion
Golden Retriever in motion

The coat is also water-repellant, they move smoothly with a powerful gait. they are usually shades of gold or cream in colour.

  •           Doberman pinscher

most intelligent dogs in the world

Ranked fifth smartest dog breeds in the world, the Dobermann is a medium-large breed of domestic dog that was originally developed  by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann around 1890.

Karl is a tax collector from Germany. The Dobermann has a long muzzle. It stands on its pads and is not usually heavy-footed.

Their gait is usually even, ears cropped and posted with the tail docked.

Characteristics of Doberman pinscher

One of their notable characteristics is their long muzzle, they have markings all over the body on the chest, above the eyes, muzzle, paws/legs and underneath the tail.

They are huge people-pleasers and are excellent in training, not forgetting, they are fast learners.

Dobermann dogs are known to be intelligent, they are among the most intelligent dog breeds worldwide, they are always alert and tenaciously loyal companions.

This is one reason they are mostly used as guard dogs or for defense.

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Their loyalty and devotion comes with how well they are taken care of and the level of training given to them.

They are strong, and sometimes can be stubborn especially when they feel less cared for.

Other characters of Doberman include;

  • Temperament: Alert, Energetic, Fearless, Intelligent, Loyal, Obedient
  • Colour: Mostly Black and Red and tan
  • Height: 61 cm – 66 cm (Female) · 70 cm (Male)
  •   Shetland sheepdog

Shetland sheepdog
Shetland sheepdog

This is a breed of herding dog that originated in the Shetland Islands of Scotland.

They were formally called Shetland Collie, this caused controversy amongst Rough Collie breeders of the time, and the breed’s name was changed.

Characteristics of Shetland sheepdog

Rated 6th on the list of smartest dog breeds in the world, the Shetland sheepdog is known for its alertness, always watching its environment.

They are always ready to learn and get on with tasks, eager to learn or waiting for a signal from you to engage in a task.

Shelties are very observant and good at reading people, they easily understand signals and behaviours that are expected of them.

“They could understand a new command in fewer than five repetitions and would obey a command the first time it was given 95% of the time or better.”

They appreciate great bond with their owners and show high responsiveness to training.

They are naturally cute and lovable with standing hairs on their body.

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If you love dogs as pet, then, you will love to have this smart dog breed.

  1. Labrador retriever.

Labrador retriever

Originated from the United Kingdom, the Labrador Retriever is a medium-large gun dog that was developed from imported Canadian fishing dogs.

The Labrador dog breed is one of the most popular dog breeds in several countries in the world, particularly in the Western world.

Characteristics of the Labrador retriever

They are strongly built, medium-sized dog, very athletic and well balanced.

The Labrador retriever has a short, dense, weather-resistant coat.

They have an “otter” tail; a clean-cut head and a broad back skull, they also have powerful jaws; and friendly-looking eyes.

They are one of the most intelligent dogs in the world, seventh in the ranking, they are very expressive and often show their desires and display good temperament.

The Labrador Retriever hair is usually short and straight, with their tail quite broad and strong.

They tend to shed hair biannually or regularly throughout the year especially in temperate climates.

Some Labrador Retrievers shed considerably; though, each dog is different so they may display different shedding behaviour.

  • Papillon


The Papillon is also called the Continental Toy Spaniel, this is a breed of the spaniel type of dog. it is one of the oldest of toy spaniels.

The name “Papillon” is derived from the characteristic butterfly-like look of the long and fringed hair on their ears.

Characteristics of the Papillon breed

Occupying the 8th position on the smartest dog breeds worldwide, the Papillons are known as companion dogs, if you are not always at home, then, this dog is not for you.

They love to be where humans are, this breed loves to be shown much care and affection.

The Papillons are very intelligent and learn new tricks easily. These dogs can be very sociable with children and strangers but are generally reserved around new people.

The Papillons also get along well with other pets.

Aside from their love for affection, they are good watchdogs and will easily alert the owner of any change in the environment.

They have a single-coated fur and therefore are sensitive to cold temperature.

  • Rottweiler


The Rottweiler is a breed of domestic dog, they are medium-to-large or large.

They known in German as Rottweiler Metzgerhund, meaning Rottweil butchers’ dogs,

This is because their main use was to herd livestock and pull carts laden with butchered meat to market.

The Rottweiler was among the earliest police dogs and also served in the military.

They are also good guardian dogs at home and among friends.

Characteristics of Rottweiler

The Rottweilers are strong and passionate about their owner, they have a double coat and shed heavily in the spring and the fall.

They have heavy muscle. They move with strength and so much stamina.

They have an instinct to protect their families and loved ones and can be ferocious in doing so.

When they are not properly trained or cared for, Rottweilers can become dangerous bullies rather than the companionable guardians they’re meant to be.

So, to get the best out of Rottweilers, they must be carefully bred and trained to be calm, learn a good temperament and avoid being overly protective.

As an owner, Rottweilers require extensive socialization and training from early puppyhood from you, this becomes part of them as they grow.

Rottweilers require a couple of minutes to play daily, they can become troublesome when you fail to play with them.

They can get overweight if their food intake isn’t monitored

  • Australian cattle dog.

smart dogs
Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is a breed of herding dog originally developed in Australia.

They were formally called the Australian Heeler but later changed to Australia Cattle Dog.

They were used majorly to drive cattle over long distances across rough terrain. They are medium-sized, short-coated dog.

Characteristics of Australian Cattle Dog

One of the smartest dog breeds in the world, the Australian Cattle Dog breed can be the friendliest of companion dogs.

They are very passionate about their owner and are too quick to judge incidents and defend the owner.

Australian Cattle Dog occurs in two main colour forms, either brown or black hair distributed fairly evenly through a white coat.

The Australian Cattle Dog is energetic and intelligent and loves challenging tasks and training.

It is easy to groom and maintain, this is due to their attachment to the owner, they are ever ready to do as the owner says.

They are strongly built, has a muscular and compact body that displays strength. They have a broad skull.

They have a medium-length, deep, powerful muzzle. Their ears are pricked, small to medium and wide apart from each other, with a covering of hair on the inside.

  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh is a cattle herding dog breed that originated in Wales (Pembrokeshire precisely).

It is one of two breeds, the Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, and both descend from the line of northern spitz-type dogs.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is ranked 11th on the list of smartest dog breeds in the world and it is an excellent working dog.

Characteristics of the Pembroke Corgi

They have a lot of energy, very smart and love to exercise. The ears are erect, This breed is shorter in length than the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

They also have smaller ears and shorter leg and are a double-coated dog. They are very agile and obedient only to their owner and friends.

They love to be involved in anything that has to do with their owner and also love to follow their owner around.

Their intelligence makes them very trainable, but they can sometimes be stubborn in personality.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi dogs are lovely to be with and make good pets. You should try them.


You can test the level of smartness of your dog by examining the dog’s ability to learn a new command in a few repetitions.

It’s ability to communicate with humans and other animals, their responsiveness to training, ability to predict human behaviour.

And finally, their ability to remember incidents. Who knows your Dog may just be among the smartest dog breeds in the world.

For example, if your dog can learn a new command in fewer than five repetitions, you can consider it among the Einsteins of pups.

So, let us know in the comment box where your dog belongs.

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