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Smartest Dog Breeds

Everyone wants one of the smartest dog breeds?  Right?  Well, not so fast.  Let's look at this just a little closer.


Everyone thinks their dog is the smartest (myself included) and why not?  Your dog loves you, is devoted to you, maybe follows you everywhere?  How can he not be smart.  And, while were on the subject of smart, just exactly what does smart mean when it refers to a dog?


Everyone thinks their dog is the smartest dog breed in the whole world. But someone had to make it official! Stanley Coren PhD, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia devised a way to evaluate a variety of dog breeds and published his findings in the book, The Intelligence of Dogs.

In his experiments, dogs were taught a new command and the results were evaluated based on how quickly the dog was able to learn the command and with how much accuracy.

Coren defines three aspects of dog intelligence in the book:

Instinctive intelligence:  ability to perform the task it was developed to do such as herding, or guarding, or hunting.

Adaptive intelligence:  Ability to solve problems on their own without the help of aperson

Working and obedience intelligence:  Ability to learn from people such as in training and obedience.

The top 10 smartest dog breeds listed below were given a new command less than 5 times and achieved accuracy of at least 95% of the time.


The least intelligent dogs needed to hear the same command 80-100 times to achieve accuracy of under 25%.


The research was limited to breeds that were accepted into the AKC (American Kennel Club) and/or the CKC (Canadian Kennel Club).  


This eliminates many very smart breeds that were not included in these kennel clubs during that period of time.  A total of 131 breeds were evaluated.  


The newer version of Coren's book now includes 140 breeds.  


As of the end of 2015, the American Kennel Club recognizes a total of 184 dog breeds and the list tends to grow each year.


The Fédération Cynologique Internationale  (FCI) recognizes over 400 dog breeds.


That was 1994.  Most dog people today agree that intelligence can no be so easily defined. 


Dogs can be smart in different ways just like people: 


Many breeds were developed over centuries to do a specific job and those dogs are naturally going to learn that job faster and easier than a breed that was developed to do something different. 

Some dogs are somewhat stubborn and have a "what's in it for me?" attitude.  They may appear to be less trainable that others, but that does not make them less intelligent.

Some dogs are just plain distracted, the equivalent of canine ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).  They may be highly intelligent, but training may be more challenging because it takes longer to get their attention.


The key to intelligence is knowing what type of dog is right for you and honing in on their natural instincts and traits to devise a training program that is perfect for you and your dog. 


Do not confuse intelligence with ease of training! All dogs can be taught basic commands like sit or stay

The most intelligent dogs don't necessarily become the best pets as they often need a job or something similar to keep them busy. When they become bored then that's when they become destructive and take out their frustration on your home and furniture.


On the other hand, less intelligent dogs can often be quite happily left to their own devices, keeping themselves amused when you're not there!

Unless you are up for the challenge of keeping your smart dog engaged and busy, you might consider a different dog breed.

Even though many people have issues with this research, most experts still maintain that the top dogs in the study are very intelligent.

Top 16 Smartest Dog Breeds

Lucky for all of us, the Smartest Dog Breeds come in all sizes:  Small, Medium and Large!

Shetland Sheepdog#6: Shetland Sheepdog
Australian Cattle Dog#10: Australian Cattle Dog

More of the Smartest Dog Breeds

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