Home | The 10 Most Intelligent Dog Breeds, with brief overviews & fun facts!

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The 10 Most Intelligent Dog Breeds, with brief overviews & fun facts!

Ranked below are the 10 smartest, brightest, sharpest dogs, among the 339 breeds recognized by the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale). Which is also the largest registry of dog breeds that is internationally accepted. The 10 most intelligent dog breeds are listed in a descending order with their IQ shooting up as you scroll down..

Let’s get rolling..


Ranked 10th among the 10 most intelligent dog breeds- Australian Cattle Dog.

This might turn out to be surprising as a coveted rank holder in our list of the 10 most intelligent dog breeds, but the breed ranks 10th in Stanley Coren’s ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’. And is rated as one of the sharpest dogs ranked by obedience command train-ability (among many others). The Australian origin Dog is also known as the ‘Queensland Heeler’, ‘Blue Heeler’, ‘Red Heeler’, and/or ‘Hall’s Heeler’.

Early in the 19th century, these medium sized herding dogs were used to herd the active and unruly cattle in the wide open plains of Australia. Which was something they excelled at, due to their smart, hardy, energetic and independent temperament.

They are so intelligent and organized that some are even known to put their toys back into place at the end of their play!

An interesting fact would be that an Australian Cattle Dog named ‘Bluey’ had lived from 1910 to 1939, giving it the Guinness World Record for the longest canine life span. Which is of 29 years, whereas the average is about 12-15 years only!


Ranked 9th among the 10 most intelligent dog breeds- Rottweiler.

Originating in Germany, this medium to large sized dog is confident, bold, alert and fiercely loyal. A formidable guard dog, the Rottweiler is a popular choice for its ability to protect due to its strength, agility and endurance. It’s expression reflects the Rottweiler at its best — noble, alert and self-assured.

The name is derived from the small town of Rottweil, Germany. The Rottweiler nearly went extinct in the 1800’s.

But today it has come back in popularity and is used as a police dog, guard dog, herd dog, and tracker.


Ranked 8th among the 10 most intelligent dog breeds- Papillon.

Also known as ‘Butterfly Dog’, ‘Squirrel Dog’, ‘Continental Toy Spaniel’, etc. this cute, happy and friendly dog is small, dainty and elegant. It’s gait is quick, easy and graceful and coat is long, silky and flowing. It’s hallmark characteristic is it’s butterfly like ears.

But they’re way more smarter, tougher and braver than they seem! Ferociously protective of what’s theirs, they are true companions and watch dogs who can also be litter trained.

Historically, the dwarf spaniel of the 16th century, depicted in many paintings by the Masters of that era, is the dog that came to be known as the Papillon. Although the Papillon owes it’s name and much of it’s breed development to the French, it was Spain and Italy that gave rise to it’s popularity.


Ranked 7th among the 10 most intelligent dog breeds- Labrador Retriever.

Standing tall on rank 7th in our 10 most intelligent dog breeds list, is none other than the most popular dog breed in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Do we even need an introduction for the ‘Labradors’ or ‘Labs’?

Originally from Canada these sweet-faced, lovable, smart, friendly and outgoing dogs not only bond with the entire family but socialize with the neighbor dogs and humans as well.

Their easygoing personality should however not be mistaken for low energy as they are enthusiastic athletes who need plenty of exercise to keep fit. Their favorite sports comprise of swimming as they are specially designed with webbed feet and an otter like tail for this very purpose! (Also worthy of mention would be their tirelessly wagging tails signalling this breed’s innate eagerness and enthusiasm for almost everything!)

Labs originated in Newfoundland. Their founding breed was the St. John’s water dog, which was used by the fishermen of the 16th century for retrieval purposes such as pulling in nets from the waters, etc. They were also used as hunting dogs as they helped retrieve the dead birds or animals back to their masters.

Today these extremely intelligent dogs are a favorite for a variety of services. Ranging from hunting, tracking and detection (they have a great sense of smell which helps them excel in the Police department in sniffing out bombs, clues and criminals), to disability-assistance and therapy work (for the blind, depressed and autistic patients.)


Ranked 6th among the 10 most intelligent dog breeds- Shetland Sheepdog.

The Shetland Sheepdog, also known as the ‘Sheltie’ or ‘Miniature Collie’, is a breed of herding dog that originated in the Shetland Islands, Scotland and were used to herd and guard the sheep flocks in the 17th century.
Their temperament can be described as affectionate, friendly, gentle, intelligent and lively. The Sheltie is extremely bright, sensitive and willing to please. This combination makes them very obedient and quick to learn.
They are also utterly devoted to their family and are excellent with children. They’re reserved and often timid toward strangers. Also being protective and alert watchdogs, this breed tends to bark a lot.

Ranked 5th among the 10 most intelligent dog breeds- Doberman Pinscher.

Also known as ‘Dobermann’ or ‘Dobe’ this sleek yet powerful breed, possesses both a magnificent physique and keen intelligence, making it one of dog-kind’s noblemen. This incomparably fearless and vigilant breed is one among the world’s finest protection dogs. The Doberman Pinscher is an intelligent and capable guardian, ever on alert, ready to protect it’s family or home.

The Doberman Pinscher was bred in Germany in the late nineteenth century, almost exclusively as the work of one man—Louis Dobermann who was a tax collector and sought to breed an alert guard dog for personal protection.

Today apart from being a pet and show dog it is also a popular guard and police dog and is the official combat dog of the U.S. Marines!


Ranked 4th among the 10 most intelligent dog breeds- Golden Retriever.

Stealing the 4th position in the 10 most intelligent dog breeds ‘cute’alogue is the adorable ‘Goldie’! A Golden Retriever is friendly, calm, compliant and compatible with people and other dogs. ‘Goldens’ are particularly good with children. Their friendly temperament is reflected in their kindly expression.

Originating in the Scottish Highlands in the late 1800s, the Golden Retriever was developed by crossing the original yellow Flat-Coated Retriever with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel.

The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular breeds known today, not only as family companions but for obedience competitions, hunting and tracking, as a bird-dog on both land and in water, narcotics detection, service dog for the disabled, a guide for the blind and as a therapy dog too!


Rank 3rd among the 10 most intelligent dog breeds- German Shepherd.

Generally considered the finest all-purpose Canine worker, the wolf look alike German Shepherd Dog is also popular as ‘GSD’ or ‘Alsatian’. It is a large, agile, muscular dog of noble character and high intelligence. GSDs are extremely faithful, and brave. They will not think twice about giving their lives for their human pack.

The breed was named ‘Deutscher Schäferhund’ by Von Stephanitz, literally translating to “German Shepherd Dog”. The breed was so named due to it’s original purpose of assisting shepherds in herding and protecting sheep.

Today, the German Shepherd apart from being a popular family companion and show dog is also so intelligent and learns so readily that it has been used as a guard dog, in police work, as a guide for the blind, in search and rescue service, and in the military. His fine nose can sniff out drugs and intruders, and can alert handlers to the presence of underground mines in time to avoid detonation, or gas leaks in a pipe buried 15 feet underground!


Ranked 5th among the 10 most intelligent dog breeds- Doberman Pinscher.
Whether ‘Standard’, ‘Miniature’, or ‘Toy’, either black, white, or apricot, the Poodle stands proudly among Dogdom’s true aristocrats. Beneath the curly, hypoallergenic coat is an elegant athlete and companion for all reasons and seasons.

It is controversial of where the dog was officially developed and no one really knows the breed’s true country of origin. France has taken a claim on the origin, but the AKC gives the honor to Germany, while others have claimed it to be Denmark. But what is certain is that the dog was a descendant of the now-extinct French Water Dog.

The hunters in Germany and France used the Poodle as a gun-dog and as a retriever of waterfowl and to sniff out truffles laying underground in the woods. The French started using the breed as a circus performer because of the dog’s high intelligence and train-ability.

In the 18th century smaller poodles came to be very popular with the royal people. They have also long been regarded as mere poofy, sissy, girly dogs. But today it’s best to forget all the old stereotypes because all they actually are, are eager, athletic, and wickedly smart “real dogs” of remarkable versatility!

Aaand the award for the most intelligent dog breed on earth goes to..


Rank 1st among the 10 most intelligent dog breeds- Border Collie.
The topper of the 10 most intelligent dog breeds roll, is this genius, gem of a dog, the Border Collie! A remarkably bright workaholic, the Border Collie or ‘Scottish Sheepdog’ is an amazing dog topping the charts in the intelligence department! Dog competitions are right up their alley, where they are commonly used and often win. For those who wish to reach high levels in dog sports, the Border Collie is a gift from heaven.

The Border Collie was originally called the “Scotch Sheep Dog” and originated along the borders of Scotland and England. It is a descendant from dogs used by the Vikings to herd reindeer. Named a “workaholic” for it’s sheer drive and love for working, the Border Collie has an eye that can hypnotize cattle. It can master any type of herd by crouching down and mesmerizing the animals with it’s intense stare.

One of the most trainable breeds, the Border Collie is a frequent high performer in obedience, agility, Fly-ball, Frisbee trials and other trick performances. They also serve well in police work, in search and rescue and narcotics and bomb detection. Some Border Collies have been trained very successfully as guide dogs for the blind and as general assistance to the handicapped.

The Border Collie is highly energetic with great stamina, so much that if not challenged daily they can become destructive. They cannot be left alone for too long with nothing to do, if they have not been exercised to the point where they are both mentally and physically tired. A bored Border Collie will not make a good pet. As it can become neurotic and may start using it’s escape artist talents, among other behavioral problems.

Before winding up here’s a mind blowing FUN FACT for you!

Finding it too hard to believe? Here’s proof! Check her out acing her tests in the video below..

Spellbound? Told ya! ?

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One comment

  1. Paul Handover says:

    Called by to leave my thanks for your recent decision to follow Learning from Dogs. Thank you!

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