19 Dogs That Are Smarter Than Your Average Pup

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By Jonathan Trent

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and they also come in various IQs! While some pups will be happy to lounge all day, others need constant mental stimulation to remain top of the class. If you’re looking for an intelligent pet, here are 19 of the smartest dog breeds.

Border Collie

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The border collie is renowned for its obedience, best known for being trained in herding and agility. Its high intelligence means it excels at complex commands and problem-solving skills. They’re ideal working dogs thanks to their quick intelligence and even faster learning abilities.


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Many people overlook the poodle’s intelligence, yet the poodle is highly smart and extremely easy to train. Poodles also have a keen sense of awareness, which means they learn very quickly. Bonus: they’re non-shedding and hypoallergenic, according to the American Kennel Club.

German Shepherd

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German Shepherds are often chosen to become police or military dogs and with good reason. Their high intelligence means they’re dependable in a crisis, and easy to train. These loyal pets make for both excellent family dogs and guard dogs. They’re particularly skilled at search and rescue.

Australian Cattle Dog

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According to The Spruce Pets, Australian Cattle Dogs are known for being hard-working, intelligent and loyal. Originally bred for herding cattle, their high intellect means they’re agile and determined. They also make for ideal candidates for dog sports thanks to their endurance and astuteness.

Golden Retrievers

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Golden Retrievers are amongst the most popular choices for family pets, yet they’re not only friendly and devoted. They’re also considerably intelligent. They’re skilled with retrieval games due to their high awareness, and they’re intellectual enough to take on the role of guide dog.


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The Weimaraner breed is an exceptionally intelligent one, and experienced owners will find them easy to train, according to PDSA. Their high intellect and stamina mean they’re perfect hunting dogs, with bags of energy perfectly suited for agility and obedience competitions.

Doberman Pinscher

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Dobermans are another popular guard dog breed, and they’re also praised for their sharp intellect and loyal nature. Their high capacity for learning makes them exceptional at following commands. The combination of intelligence and protective instinct makes them a formidable (yet loving) breed.


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We all know how intelligent Lassie the famous Collie was, and that’s because this breed is known for its cleverness. Their quick learning instincts and impressive herding skills make them loyal and loving family pets, particularly for working families spending a lot of time outdoors.

Shetland Sheepdog

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The Shetland Sheepdog is a miniature version of the Collie, and although they look very similar, they are two different breeds. One thing they do have in common, though, is that high intellect. Shetland Sheepdogs excel in obedience training and performing tricks, and they’re also skilled herders.

Labrador Retriever

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Labrador Retrievers are perfect family pets due to their friendly dispositions. This breed is also highly intelligent, and thanks to its keen sense of smell and quick capacity for learning, it also makes for the ideal hunting or field trial dog. Their impressive intellect also means they’re popular choices for service dogs.


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Size is no guarantee of intellectual prowess, as the Papillon proves. This breed is known for its agility and obedience, and their high intelligence makes them easy to train. They’re known for being alert and energetic, which means they love learning new tricks.


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Rottweilers are exceptionally confident and intelligent dogs. They’re often a first choice for military or police dogs, but they’re also known for being effective therapy dogs thanks to their intellect. Due to their high brain power and energy, they do require firm training to get the best out of them.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

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There’s a reason the Pembroke Welsh Corgi was particularly popular with the late queen of England, Elizabeth II, and that’s due to its high intelligence and watchful nature. This breed will always be on the lookout for learning new tricks and performing tasks, making it an exceptionally hard-working breed despite its small stature!

Miniature Schnauzer

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The Miniature Schnauzer is another small yet dependable dog breed known for its impressive intellect. This breed makes for an efficient watchdog, but also a great family pet thanks to its energetic personality. Their impressive brainpower means they’re easy to train, and particularly suited for obedience competitions.

Belgian Malinois

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The Belgian Malinois breed is often the preferred choice for military and police thanks to their exceptional intellect. This, paired with their trainable nature, makes them the perfect candidate. They’re particularly skilled at understanding complex commands and learning very quickly.

English Springer Spaniel

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English Springer Spaniels are best known for being versatile hunting dogs, with a keen intelligence as well as a keen nose. They’re also very eager to please, making for loveable companions and dogs which will willingly learn new tricks and commands.


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Vizsla are often seen in performance sports, such as tracking, retrieving and obedience, and this is thanks to that impressively high intelligence. They make for extremely loyal companions and affectionate pets, and their needy nature towards their owners means they’ll happily learn new tricks with them!


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The Keeshond was a breed originally used as a watchdog on barges, according to The Kennel Club. They made for exemplary watchdogs thanks to their keen, intellectual nature. They are very rapid learners, and this paired with their outgoing nature, makes for an intelligent and loving pet.

Bernese Mountain Dogs

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Last but definitely not least on our list of intelligent dog breeds is the Bernese Mountain Dog. They have a sterling reputation as intelligent and calm family pets. Their intelligence is also matched by their physical strength, resulting in these gentle giants being skilled learners.