While intelligence may appear in a variety of ways in different breeds, a few breeds have continuously shown remarkable cognitive ability, making them one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world.
Here, we explore exactly which dog breeds are the most intelligent and why.
1) Border Collie
Our reigning champion, the border collie. Their ancestors were likely the result of interbreeding between local working collies and other herding breeds, resulting in a dog with an unparalleled aptitude for herding livestock.
With an exceptional herder reputation, the border collie is well-known for its intelligence, agility, and outstanding trainability.
According to the American Kennel Club: “The border collie is energetic, intelligent, keen, alert, and responsive. An intense worker of great tractability, it is affectionate towards friends but may be sensibly reserved towards strangers.
“When approached, the border collie should stand its ground. It should be alert and interested, never showing shyness, fear, dullness or resentment.”
The poodle has played many different roles in people's lives. From expert water retrievers to cherished furry friends. The breed traces its roots back to central Europe, specifically in the area that is now Germany. It was originally bred as a water dog with remarkable retrieving skills.
Not only are poodles extremely attractive pets, but they are also known for their excellent trainability. But what else makes them so intelligent? They have been documented to demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, which is a hallmark of intelligence in animals.
3) German Shepherd
Third in line when it comes to intelligence, and for good reason. German shepherds first appeared in Germany in the late 1800s. Their trainability led to German shepherds in a variety of jobs, including search and rescue, police operations, and becoming guide dogs for the blind. Originally, German shepherds were used for herding and protecting sheep. Because of their loyalty, this breed is now a much-loved family pet.
According to the Bark Post: “German shepherds are believed to have the same intelligence as a 2.5-year-old human (and the same tendency to put everything in their mouths). That said, you’ll likely see German shepherds leading the pack in canine competitions.”
4) Golden Retriever
Golden retrievers were bred to be hunting dogs, their primary duties involved obeying orders and locating prey. Golden retrievers are a breed with a strong desire to please their owners and have a willingness to learn and fulfil duties that have been produced by this selective breeding.
Due to their exceptional empathy and comprehension of human emotions, golden retrievers make wonderful therapy dogs and friends. Their great degree of intellect and emotional awareness is demonstrated by their capacity to emotionally connect with people.
According to the American Kennel Club: “Friendly, reliable, and trustworthy. Quarrelsomeness or hostility towards other dogs or people in normal situations, or an unwarranted show of timidity or nervousness, is not in keeping with Golden Retriever's character. Such actions should be penalized according to their significance.”
5) Doberman Pinscher
A very curious dog, the Doberman pinscher is often bred to be a working dog. They have been known to thrive in military and police work. They are responsive and once trained, are very well-behaved.
6) Shetland Sheepdog
Also known as a Sheltie, the Shetland sheepdog originates from Scotland. They do require more maintenance than other breeds. This is purely focusing on grooming as they have thick double coats. So, they require more trips to the groomers but fewer baths at home.
As for their intelligence, Sheltie’s are wonderful problem-solving dogs. They share a lot of characteristics as our champion – the border collie.
Territorial and loyal – these are two words often used to describe a rottweiler (or a rottie!). And, they are also bursting with affection. In 2022, rottweilers were named the seventh most popular dog breed to welcome into a home as a family pet. Not bad!
If you have a rottweiler or are thinking of bringing a rottie into your home, make sure you read our helpful guide: Top 5 Tips to Care for a Rottweiler.
8) Australian Cattle Dog
Agile and playful! The Australian cattle dog is one of the most agile breeds out there. Like many breeds in our list, the Australian cattle dog was also bred for herding.
Known to be affectionate with family, good with young children and great with other dogs, it is clear why Australian cattle dog is so well-liked. And like the rest of our list – they’re super intelligent! With excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to learn quickly, they make a wonderful addition to an active household.
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