The Top Ten Smartest Dog Breeds

If you’re looking for the biggest nerds of the dog world, we found them. These ten breeds are some of the smartest in their species, and they put their talents to good use. Read all about how these breeds use their very special brains:


They’re more than just a fancy haircut. Besides being absolutely beautiful dogs, they’re also extremely intelligent. They’re known for being able to learn a wide variety of commands and tricks. But this intelligence has to be handled carefully, because poodles have been known to start trouble if they’re not properly challenged.

German Shepherd

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It’s no coincidence that German shepherds are used by law enforcement and military groups across the world. These smarty pups can follow very specific commands and are known to be extremely loyal to their owners. They’re used as a trusted tool because their trainers know that they can count on their intelligence.

Border Collie

If you’ve seen The Super Collies on America’s Got Talent, then you know how smart these dogs can be. Their athletic ability definitely helps them complete these tricks, but their intelligence is what lets them actually learn the routines.

Golden Retriever

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Goldens are known for being the ultimate “good boys.” They’re smart, loyal, and patient, so they’re a great family dog. As their name implies, golden retrievers are great at bringing things back to their owner. But they’re no one trick puppy. Goldens can learn over 200 commands.

Labrador Retriever

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Labs are another great family dog that can also respond to many different commands. People with mobility impairments often receive labs as service animals to help them navigate the world. These dogs can grab certain objects, open doors, and help guide their owners to the correct location.

Shetland Sheepdog


Like a true sheepdog, Shelties use their intelligence for herding. They’re great farm dogs, but they also excel in agility competitions. Although they’re on the smaller side, they can hold their own with livestock because they’ve got that big herding brain.


Credit: PetGuide

These peppy little pups are snuggly and smart. Don’t let their small size fool you. These dogs have the intelligence of a much larger dog. Papillons can obviously learn basic commands, but they can also learn more difficult commands, such as learning to use a litter box. Seems like that intelligence could really come in handy.



Much like German shepherds, rottweilers are strong, smart, working dogs used by many different police forces. Although they get a bad rap, these dogs are not naturally aggressive. With the proper training and socialization, these dogs can be wonderfully loyal and smart pets.

Doberman Pinscher

Credit: Dog Breed Gallery

Dobermans are the brains and the braun. They’re known to be extremely intelligent and athletic. They’re easy to train, but they do require a lot of maintenance. Dobermans are not just content to sit in a corner. They need plenty of attention to keep up their impressive mental and physical abilities.



Bloodhounds might not have your typical intelligence when it comes to learning special tricks, but they’re masters in one field in particular: scent. A bloodhound’s nose is so smart that they can track a scent for miles to find the source. So while they can’t handle 200 commands like a golden, they deserve some recognition for being geniuses in their field.

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Sarah Cookson

Writer/Dog Enthusiast living in New York City. Only goes to parties in hopes there will be a dog there to hang out with. Her resolutions for 2017 were to eat healthier and pet more pups. Bet you can guess which one she stuck with.

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