Top 10 World’s Smartest Dog Breeds

Written by AZ Animals Staff
Updated: October 5, 2021
Image Credit Anciens Huang/

Smart dogs are loads of fun. They quickly learn tricks and lifestyle routines, making them super roommates. Plus, intelligent dogs are often sensitive to their humans’ needs, making them super friends. If you’re thinking of welcoming a new dog into your life and want it to be on the smarter side of the scale, consider one of the breeds below.

#10 Smartest Dog Breed: Alaskan Klee Kai

Alaskan Klee Kais look like miniature Huskies. Plus, they’re great at agility competitions. And while they’re not the most sociable dogs on the scene, Alaskan Klee Kais are very bright. They’re also very curious, which is why owners should not let them off-leash outside. Secure, high fences in the backyard are also a must if you don’t want your Alaskan Klee Kai to go wandering off on an expedition.

How did they get their names? Klee kai is Eskimo for “little dog.”

An Alaskan Klee Kai with its tongue out.
Alaskan Klee Kais look like miniature huskies and are very bright but not that social.

Image Creditbon9/

#9 Smartest Dog Breed: Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinschers are fearless, muscular, alert, and highly intelligent. To live their best lives, Doberman Pinschers need lots of activity. Plus, it’s essential to get them trained early. An unruly Doberman may bite strangers, which can lead to expensive lawsuits and medical bills. However, they’re unshakably loyal to their humans and go above and beyond to please family members.

Click here to learn more about Doberman Pinschers, which are very strong.

A Doberman Pinscher laying on the ground, surrounded by leaves, in the forest.
The Doberman Pinschers is a fearless, muscular, alert, and highly intelligent breed.

Image CreditDragoNika/

#8 Smartest Dog Breed: Golden Retriever

In a way, Golden Retrievers are the quintessential dog breed. They’re adorable, friendly, and fill the role of “man’s best friend” perfectly. Golden Retrievers are also one of the smartest dog breeds and are very easy to train. Whether you’re a family or an individual, the highly-adaptable Golden Retriever will complement your life and add lots of joy. Just make sure you leave time for the doggy park. They need a good daily romp!

Click here to learn more about Golden Retrievers, which shed profusely.

A Golden Retriever walking through tall, dead grass with its tongue out.
Golden Retrievers are one of the smartest dog breeds and are easy to train.

Image CreditLunja/

#7 Smartest Dog Breed: Briard

Briards earned the tagline “hearts wrapped in fur” on account of their loyalty and affection toward owners. With their peek-a-boo bangs and long hair, the breed is also gorgeous. But kindness and good looks aren’t Briards’ only calling cards. The traditional herding dogs also rank among the smartest breeds.

Briards aren’t particularly outgoing with strangers. However, they keenly watch over their families’ children, whom they see as sheep that need protection.

A Briard laying in the grass with its tongue out.
Originally bred as a herding dog, Briards are loyal and affectionate towards others.

Image Credithsunny/

#6 Smartest Dog Breed: Papillon

Papillons may look fancy, but they’re far from stuck up. The chipper lapdogs are friendly, athletic, and super easy to train. And though they love their owners the most, Papillons make friends easily. Originally bred as companion dogs for royal and aristocratic women, they were a favorite breed of Marie Antoinette.

A Papillon standing on a sidewalk covered in fallen leaves.
Papillons are friendly lapdogs that are easy to train.

Image CreditAndyBir/

#5 Smartest Dog Breed: Rottweiler

Rottweilers have a fierce reputation, but the stocky, muscular guardian dogs behave superbly with their loved ones. Confident and hardworking, Rotties got their big break in ancient Rome, where they accompanied battle legions and served as herd sitters. Since they are intelligent and diligent, today’s Rottweilers frequently serve as police dogs.

Note, however, that members of the breed must be trained early. A rebellious Rottie can cause big problems.

Click here to learn more about Rottweilers, which love to chew on things.

A Rottweiler laying on a wooden bridge with its tongue out.
Rottweilers are muscular guard dogs that frequently serve as police dogs.


#4 Smartest Dog Breed: Shetland Sheepdog

Commonly called “Shelties,” Shetland Sheepdogs are obedient herding dogs originally from Scotland. Cousins to Collies, Shelties are quick, energetic, and very smart. So long as you don’t mind giving them a good brushing two or three times a week, Shetland Sheepdogs make great family pets because they’re very intuitive when it comes to human moods and needs.

A Shetland Sheepdog standing in the grass with its tongue out.
Shetland Sheepdogs are obedient herding dogs originally from Scotland.

Image Creditatiger/

#3 Smartest Dog Breed: German Shepherd

The superstar workhorse of the canine world, German Shepherds are confident, easily trainable, and eager to please their people. Typically, it only takes German Shepherds five tries to learn a new command. The breed is famous for its law enforcement work, and they also make excellent family pets.

Click here to learn more about German Shepherds, the second most popular dog breed in the United States.

A German Shepherd laying in the grass with its tongue out.
German Shepherds are easily trainable and eager to please, making them a favorite for law enforcement.

Image CreditHappy monkey/

#2 Smartest Dog Breed: Poodle

Some animals have it all: looks and brains. And such is the luck of the Poodle. The gorgeous canines are not only attractive, but they’re the second smartest dog breed. Although, Poodle owners might argue that their beloved four-paws top the intelligence list since they know when and how to chill! That’s not to say they don’t need exercise; the former hunting dogs should get out for a romp daily. But they’re not nearly as rambunctious as the smartest dog breed.

Click here to learn more about Poodles, which don’t shed much.

A brown poodle and a white poodle sitting on a rock in a park.
Poodles are a former hunting breed and the second most intelligent dog breed.

#1 Smartest Dog Breed: Border Collie

Border Collies are widely considered the smartest dog breed. They’re also incredibly energetic and need tons of exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. In short, Border Collies are not dogs for lazy people! In terms of grooming, they need good brushings about twice a week, and they do shed seasonally.

Click here to learn more about Border Collies, which can be big barkers.

A border collie lying in the grass with its tongue out.
Border collies are widely considered the most intelligent dog breed.

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And that’s our list for the smartest dog breeds. Next up: The Best Big Dog Breeds.