Ever wondered whether your dog is smart or not? If he’s a fast learner, behaves well without being instructed to and helps in daily jobs, he must certainly be. But how do you determine a dog’s intelligence and is it connected to its breed after all?

Many will tell you that, yes, a dog’s intelligence is connected to its breed. And this may be only partially true. In fact, only these criteria:

  • The ability to learn a new command after it is repeated less than five times
  • An obedience rate of 95% after a given command

have been used to rank the top 5 smart dog breeds, which are:

1. The Border Collie

bordercollieWhy do Border Collies rank high? The answer is simple and can be found in their personality traits. In fact, Border Collies enjoy playing games, learning tricks, retrieving objects and of course the human’s company. Among others, these are the reasons why we regard them as very smart dogs.

 2. Poodles

poodlePoodles are so versatile that they can even be trained in acrobatics exercises! Such a breed is characterized by the ability to learn tricks, movements, and tasks very quickly.

3. The German Shepherd

germanshepherdGerman Shepherds are wonderful human companions as they are very cheerful dogs. Sometimes involved in group therapy, German Shepherds are also very good at adapting quickly to environmental changes.

4. The Golden Retriever

goldenretrieverGolden Retrievers are among those dogs with excellent communication skills, and capable of recreating a very happy household’s atmosphere. Also, these dogs are very versatile: one of their capabilities is to lead. This is why they are sometimes employed as herding or guard dogs.

 5. The Doberman Pinscher

dobermanDoberman Pinschers are bred for different scopes (therapy, search, rescue or as guard dogs) and are generally alert, fast and agile.

But obedience is not all that matters

Intelligence is a broad concept. Theorists generally categorize the intelligence of dogs into 3 dimensions:

  1. Obedience intelligence: the dog’s capability to understand humans’ instructions
  2. Instinctive intelligence: the scope a dog is bred for (e.g.: herding, guarding, helping people with special needs, being good companions to us and our families)
  3. Adaptive intelligence: how much a dog can learn by himself/herself 

Breed or not breed?

Intelligence, we have learned, is not one-dimensional. In fact, the top five breeds which represent the most intelligent dogs only seem to fulfill the dimension of obedience intelligence. This is why it is not the breed itself that determines if a dog is smart or not but the criteria you select to define a dog’s intelligence.

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