These Are the 25 Smartest Dog Breeds, According to Science

It goes without saying that all dogs are adorable. But as anyone who’s spent two minutes with a beagle knows, some breeds are just a little goofier than others. So when it comes to obedience and training, which dogs are the leaders of the pack? Psychologist and University of British Columbia professor Stanley Coren surveyed 200 dog-obedience judges to find the smartest dog breeds in his book The Intelligence of Dogs. Here are the 25 dogs that he says are best in show when it comes to working intelligence (i.e., learning commands).

What Dog Breed Should You Get Based on Your Personality Type?

smartest dog breeds border collie
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1. Border Collie

According to Coren, these dogs are able to learn a new command in under five seconds and follow it at least 95 percent of the time.

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2. Poodle

Second place on Coren’s list of smartest pups, these hypoallergenic dogs are also great family pets.

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3. German Shepherd

There’s a reason why these guys make great crime-fighting pals—they’re obedient and alert (and handsome, too).

smartest dog breeds golden retriever
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4. Golden Retriever

The ultimate family-friendly dog, these pooches are loyal, whip smart and very patient.

smartest dog breeds dobermann pinscher
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5. Doberman Pinscher

Playful and fun-loving, this breed is easy to train and fiercely loyal.

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6. Shetland Sheepdog

Hey, only a highly intelligent breed would be able to raise a pig. (If you don’t get this Babe reference, please go rent the movie immediately.)

smartest dog breeds labrador retriever
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7. Labrador Retriever

The most popular dog breed in America is also one of the smartest. Great with families, these guys are loving and loyal.

smartest dog breeds papillon
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8. Papillon

Named after the French word for “butterfly” (just look at those sweet, pointed ears), this toy breed is intelligent, energetic and friendly.

smartest dog breeds rottweiler
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9. Rottweiler

Fans of children’s book Good Dog, Carl won’t be surprised to discover that rotties are fearless, devoted and confident. (And also very obedient, according to Coren.)

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10. Australian Cattle Dog

No wonder these canines are such excellent work dogs. But even without cows to herd, this breed makes great companions thanks to their obedience, loyalty and protective nature.

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11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

We wouldn’t expect anything less from Her Majesty’s favorite breed.

smartest dog breeds miniature schnauzer
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12. Miniature Schnauzer

Full of energy, these friendly pups are fast learners and sociable (and they have the best mustaches).

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13. English Springer Spaniel

Affectionate, athletic and attentive, these tail-waggers were bred as hunting dogs.

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14. Belgian Tervuren

Ideal watchdogs, these pooches are highly trainable and have boundless energy.

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15. Schipperke

From the Belgian region of Flanders, this breed is curious, confident and clever. (Although these small pups definitely think they’re bigger than they are.)

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16. Belgian Sheepdog

Those Belgians really know a thing or two about smart pooches, don’t they?

smartest dog breeds collie
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17. Collie

Well, duh—have you never seen Lassie before?

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18. Keeshond

Outgoing and playful, this sturdy breed is known for the markings around their eyes that looks like glasses.

smartest dog breeds german shorthaired pointer
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19. German Shorthaired Pointer

Cooperative and trainable, these pups are popular hunting dogs so they need plenty of exercise.

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20. Flat-coated Retriever

Great with kids, this friendly breed is also a popular therapy dog.

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21. English Cocker Spaniel

With their soft and luxurious coat, these guys love being friendly with kids, adults and even other pups.

smartest dog breeds standard schnauzer
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22. Standard Schnauzer

Devoted, loving and playful, these guys are also hypoallergenic.

smartest dog breeds brittany spaniel
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23. Brittany

Known as sensitive souls who are very clever and attentive.

smartest dog breeds cocker spaniel
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24. Cocker Spaniel

Thanks to a certain fictional female dog, the cocker spaniel has a lot to live up to.

smartest dog breeds nova scotia duck tolling retriever
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25. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

If you’re looking for a dog that loves to play fetch, then look no further than this smarty-pants.

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Alexia Dellner

Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...
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