The Top Smartest Dog Breeds

There are many factors to consider when choosing a dog that is a good fit and smart. You have to first decide whether you want to adopt an older dog or a puppy. Depending on your preference, you still have to take the size into consideration, and you may be looking for a cute small or medium dog to cuddle with or a big dog that is smart and really gentle, at least with you, Lol. You’ll also very much want to take into consideration the dog’s health when choosing. If you want a dog that is intelligent and will respond quickly to your commands, then you should consider some of the smarter breeds.


What Makes a Smart Dog?

It’s obviously not just one, but there are several factors that contribute to the intelligence and trainability of a dog:

Breed Characteristics

Selective breeding has been done to breed different dog breeds for specific traits such as intelligence and trainability. Some breeds, such as Border Collies and Poodles, are considered to be more intelligent and easy to train.


Brain Size and Structure

Dogs with larger brains relative to their body sizes are more intelligent, as the prefrontal cortex is involved in learning, problem-solving, and memory.

Cognitive Abilities

Canines possess a variety of cognitive abilities, such as attention, memory, perception, and problem-solving skills; these abilities are what enable dogs to adapt to new situations, learn commands and understand your cues.

Socialization and Training

Early socialization, consistent training, and early age of a puppy can enhance the intelligence and responsiveness of a dog. Dogs who are exposed to a variety of new experiences and trained with positive reinforcement are more adaptable and trainable.

Individual Differences

Even within the same breed, dogs can vary in intelligence and trainability, and these differences can be attributed to factors such as genetics and early experiences.


Motivation and Engagement

Motivated and engaged dogs are more likely than not to excel at training and solving problems. Plus, dogs will stay motivated and focused during training if they receive praise and are able to express their natural instincts.

So primarily and basically, breed characteristics, cognitive ability, socialization, education, and individual differences all contribute to the intelligence of a dog and its ability to learn.

ReelNat has put together a list of the most intelligent dog breeds so you can know the options and breeds of dogs to consider when choosing a smart dog. We’ve compiled this list using his data and other information from popular dog sites.

Doberman Pinscher

Dobermans were first bred in the late nineteenth century by a German tax collector, Louis Dobermann. He wanted a medium-sized dog to be both a companion and a guard. They are fearless guardians and can hang with children.

  • Height: 24 to 28 inches
  • Weight: 60-100 pounds
  • Life expectancy 10-12 Years

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are used as police dogs, therapy dogs, and seeing-eye dogs. Obedience is a guarantee with this breed, and, of course, training is required.

  • Height: 22 to 26 inches
  • Weight: 50-90 pounds
  • Life expectancy 7-10 Years

German Shorthaired pointer

According to the American Kennel Club, German Shorthaired pointers are not only super intelligent but also highly adaptable, friendly, and sociable.

  • Height: 23-25 Inches
  • Weight: 55-70 pounds
  • Life expectancy 10 to 12 years

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever, one of the most popular family pets in America, scored an outstanding score on this intelligence test. Goldens are not only great for playing, but they also love to act like goofballs.

  • Height: 23-24 Inches
  • Weight: 65-75 pounds
  • Life expectancy 10-12 Years

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador loves to please; they are great as family pets, guide dogs or narcotic detector dogs. In America, the Labrador Retriever has also been one of the most popular dog breeds.

  • Height: 21-25 Inches
  • Weight: 55-80 pounds
  • Life expectancy 10-12 Years

Flat-Coated Retriever

The Flat-Coated retriever is a dog that loves children and other animals. Its trainability level has been categorized as being “eager to please.” Highly trainable, according to AKC, and obviously, dogs need to be mentally stimulated.

  • Height: 22-23 inches
  • Weight: 60-70 pounds
  • Life expectancy 8 to 10 years


Rottweilers are likely descendants of drover dogs from Ancient Rome; they have a rugged and dependable temperament. A Rottweiler that is well-trained and exercised will be a loyal and loving friend.

  • Height: 22 to 27 inches
  • Weight: 85-130 pounds
  • Life expectancy 8-10 Years


Cockapoos, whoodles, Goldendoodles, and a variety of other poodles are smart dogs, but breeders are still fond of the regular old poodles because they have more to offer than their hypoallergenic properties.

  • Height: 10-22 Inches
  • Weight: 6-7o pounds (depending on variety)
  • Life expectancy 12-15 Years

Border Collie

These herders are the valedictorians in the world of dogs; they ranked first in Stanley Coren’s intelligence rankings; this means that most of them can learn and follow a new command within five repetitions.

  • Height: 18-22 Inches
  • Weight: 30-55 pounds
  • Life expectancy 12-15 Years

English Springer Spaniel

The English Springer Spaniel has a friendly, outgoing personality that makes it a great candidate for training and socialization; they are also very intelligent, which makes training them a breeze. Their retrieving instinct could lead to chewing furniture, funny, right? Maybe not so funny if the furniture belongs to you, Lol.

  • Height: 19-22 Inches
  • Weight: 45-55 pounds
  • Life expectancy 12 to 14 years


The Papillon is not your typical lap dog. According to the American Kennel Club, 5-pounders often win top awards at agility competitions. Their name, which is French for “butterfly,” refers to the long, pointed ears of this breed.

Belgian Sheepdog

Belgian Sheepdogs have a reputation for being great herders, and they are also very intelligent. AKC says that they need mental stimulation and are energetic.

  • Height: 24 to 26 inches
  • Weight: 55-75 pounds
  • Life expectancy 12 to 14 years

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog is not in the top 50 of AKC popularity rankings, but this intelligent breed should not be overlooked. The high-energy, alert, curious, and friendly herders are very smart and good at tasks.

  • Height: 17-20 Inches
  • Weight: 30-50 pounds
  • Life expectancy 12-16 Years

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Belgian Tervuren Sheep shows off its intelligence, by being active dogs that need to work, and this can be intimidating for owners who don’t know what they’re doing.

  • Height: 24 to 26 inches
  • Weight: 55-75 pounds
  • Life expectancy 12 to 14 years

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These pups, which are not to be confused with Border Collies, are so intelligent that they have made it onto mainstream television. Lassie was a Collie.

  • Height: 24 to 26 inches
  • Weight: 60-75 pounds
  • Life expectancy 12 to 14 years


The Keeshond has a reputation for being a very obedient dog breed. Adopting one will give you the best of both, as they’re also energetic and playful.

  • Height: 17-18 Inches
  • Weight: 35-45 pounds
  • Life expectancy 12 to 15 years


Schipperkes is ranked 15 on Coren’s list; these dogs have a high level of energy and are also willing to learn; it doesn’t matter if they are small. The best way to ensure that the training sticks is to start as soon as possible.

  • Height: 11-13 Inches
  • Weight: 10-16 pounds
  • Life expectancy 12 to 14 years

Shetland Sheepdog

These adorable fluffballs are smaller than collies but still hold their own at herding, obedience, and agility trials. Shelties tend to herd, bark, and chase, but they are also affectionate and enjoy cuddles.

  • Height: 12-15 Inches
  • Weight: 14-20 pounds
  • Life expectancy 12-15 Years
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