Smart Dog Breeds (Complete Information)

Recent studies indicate that smart dog breeds are no longer in the eye of the beholder. In the past, many owners would determine how smart their dog was by how well they completed a task or obeyed a command. Hey! Who is going to own up to have a dumb dog?

Breeds developed hundreds of years ago primarily emphasized sight and smell. They tend to score “less intelligent” in dog IQ tests. They tend to rely more on instinct. Let’s face it, it’s not their fault.

But, dogs bred in more recent times, tend to score much higher on IQ tests. Some suggest that the reason for this, is that these breeds have been trained to be more responsive to humans and their needs.

smart dog breeds

So, what makes smart dog breeds?

It seems that even the average dog has the smarts of a 2 year old human. The Alpha in the pack, a little higher. It can be trained to respond to basic commands such as sit and stay.

Depending on what it was bred for, it may exhibit traits that on the surface suggest the dog is a bit of a dull lamp. But that’s not fair. Hunters, herders, and retrievers for example, may reflect behavior that looks distracted but in effect, they are quite focused on the task at hand.

 According to neuro-psychologist Stanley Coren, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia, the smarter dogs didn’t need a command repeated more than 5 times for it to absorb it’s meaning and obey. In fact, these dogs obeyed the command 95% of the time or more. 

Now, let’s take a look at which smart dog breeds bring home the A+ report cards:

  • Border Collie:  No surprise here. Everybody knows that this breed is the Einstein of the dog world. Ever watch this collie work it’s magic on a herd of sheep?
  • Poodle:  Although, to some, cut to look dumb, this is one of the most intelligent dog you could own. Something you may not know about this breed is that they were bred to be a retriever.
  • German Shepherd: This breed is most known for it’s involvement in law enforcement and the military. They are also a fantastic family dog, great with kids and very loyal.
  • Golden Retriever:  Beautiful and intelligent! Just not fair. A hunter by breed, they are wonderful companions and have found effective roles as rescuers and guide dogs.
  • Doberman Pinscher:  A great protector although somewhat intimidating. Can be very large and fast. Also used in law enforcement. They are one of the most common of breeds.
  • Shetland Sheepdog: This is a herding dog. Duh! A smaller version of the Collie. It’s a long haired working dog. They are verbal, excitable and very energetic.
  • Labrador Retriever:  This breed was originally bred to retrieve fishing nets and has somewhat unique webbed paws. They are very loving, playful and gentle dogs.
  • Papillon:  The breed was named because of it butterfly look. They are very alert dog. It has the ability to learn very quickly. Great companions and wonderful family dogs.
  • Rottweiler:  This is a powerful breed that dates back to the Roman Empire. Primarily a herding and stock protection dog who loves to work. Owners consider them incredible companions.
  • Australian Cattle Dog:  Herding dog that loves to work. It is muscular but compact and can be very agile. It is very smart but can be independent in temperament.

Well, there you have it. The top smart dog breeds. We should keep in mind, that being a smart dog doesn’t inherently mean that it’s a good companion or a family protector. Yes, they may quickly learn and understand a command, but not necessarily obey it.

Smart dog breeds still require effective training, a loving home environment and healthful care.

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