By Josh Weiss-Roessler
Pack Leaders always want to believe that their dog is the smartest on the block, and while this may be true, a smart dog can come in many forms.
Of course, a smart dog is just potential without a human willing to put in the time and effort to train and channel the dog’s intelligence. While all dogs are trainable, it’s important to understand your dog’s inherent abilities in order to know how to motivate him and bring out his natural intelligence.
Here is a list of the 10 smartest dog breeds. Is your dog one of them?
The Border collie is energetic, affectionate, and — of course — smart. A Border collie dog is a true working dog excelling in sheep herding, athleticism, agility, and cuddling. Border collies are also known for their “herding eye,” an intense gaze used to stare down and herd other animals.
The poodle is the seventh most popular dog breed and for good reason. Poodles not only are very smart, but they’re also proud, active dogs, with the added benefit of being hypoallergenic. Because of their high intelligence, poodles can be easily trained to track, hunt, retrieve, and obey. In fact, poodles are the national dog of France where they were first used as retrievers.
It’s no surprise that a German shepherd is the second most popular dog breed because they’re courageous, confident, and smart. They are excellent all-purpose workers and are used in a number of specialized situations as police dogs or service dogs. German shepherds don’t always give affection lightly, but they are fiercely loyal family dogs that are great with kids.
Golden retrievers are intelligent, friendly, and devoted sporting dogs. Goldens take their jobs to heart and try to be the best at what they do, whether it’s hunting, serving as a seeing-eye dog, working in search-and-rescue, or simply being a loving companion.
Besides strength, endurance, and speed, Doberman pinschers have the smarts necessary to retain training in order to be an in-demand police dog or war dog. There is even a bronze Doberman pinscher statue titled “Always Faithful” at the National War Dog Cemetery in Guam to honor the dogs — mostly Dobermans — that were killed in service during the Second Battle of Guam in 1944.
The Shetland sheepdog is basically a miniature working collie. They are playful and intelligent herding dogs that love to learn new tricks and play with kids. Shelties are affectionate and loyal with their families. But they’re also great watchdogs because they are reserved towards strangers and have a tendency to bark at people.
Besides being intelligent, gentle, and family-friendly, Labrador retrievers are also the most popular dog breed in the United States. Because Labs want to please their Pack Leader, they are excellent guide dogs and rescue dogs.
The papillon is an alert, friendly, and happy dog. Papillon means “butterfly” in French, and the papillon was given this name because of its butterfly-like ears. Papillons aren’t shy or aggressive and are especially fast and versatile little athletes that can be trained to do all kinds of tricks.
Bloodhounds are known for their long wrinkled faces and big droopy ears, but they’re also known for being independent, inquisitive, and friendly. As far as intelligence, bloodhounds have been recognized for their determination and scenting power as far back as the third century.
The Rottweiler is a loyal, loving, confident guard dog who wants to work. Because of this, Rottweilers are best suited to be service dogs, police dogs, herders, therapy dogs, devoted companions, or obedience competitors.