Smartest Dogs

June 21, 2008 · Print This Article

Yesterday, we presented the list compiled by the CBS Early Show as the ten dumbest dogs. As promised, today we have their list of the ten smartest dogs. They are listed below, from the 10th smartest to the overall smartest breed of dog. Here’s the disclaimer: These were picked by someone at CBS, and I don’t necessarily agree.

10.  Australian Cattle Dog

9.  Rottweiler

8.  Papillon

7.  Labrador Retriever

6.  Shetland Sheepdog

5.  Doberman Pinscher

4.  Golden Retriever

3.  German Shepherd

2.  Poodle

1.  Border Collie

Send me a note with how smart your dog is, and how he should have been on this list!  You can e-mail me at, or simply post a comment below.

Until next time,

Good day, and good dog!


45 Responses to “Smartest Dogs”

  1. frank on June 21st, 2008 9:22 pm

    A lot of people think Siberian Huskies (my breed) are not very bright since they don’t always obey too well or too promptly.

    It’s not stupidity, just stubbornness!

    When I tell Katie to come, she’ll look at me for a while and then come on her own terms. I heard a tale that they were bred to disobey a dumb command, like running out onto thin ice. Could be.

  2. Kristin on July 26th, 2008 7:41 pm

    I do not know where these peoleget their info…..
    But I can only assume they have never been around an Australian
    They will out smart / out do any of these breeds on this list.
    It just amazes me what they consider to be smart….

  3. Brooke on July 31st, 2008 4:16 pm

    I have a Chihuahua who is the smartest dog I think I have ever met… And it has nothing to do with obedience or any of those things… She just knows what’s up.

    But I really think that all dogs are intelligent. I think they know a lot more than people do at least.

  4. cassie on August 2nd, 2008 2:31 pm


  5. Donna - Dogs on August 2nd, 2008 9:48 pm

    We all think we have the smartest dog alive. I had a Sheltie that I thought was extremely intelligent. That breed does not make any list as being one of the smartest dogs. My point is that generally there are certain breeds that are genetically predisposed to being smart but like us humans individual dogs due to maybe their environment or other factors are very quick on the uptake.

    Stanely Coren, professor of psychology and author of numerous books on dog behaviour – including “The Intelligence of Dogs”says “the average dog understands about 165 words including
    signs and signals. “Super Dogs” can understand as many as 250 words. The smartest being the Border Collie followed by the German Shepherd and Golden Retriever. Dogs have the
    intelligence of a two year old human and Super Dogs that of a two and a half year old.

    This is one expert opinion, what do you think?

  6. shelley in Boston on August 10th, 2008 12:26 pm

    Keeshonds are right up there in the 2 1/2 year old human intelligence catagorie … some are extremely intelligent. The are commonly called the Dutch Barge dogs. If you have ever known a Keeshond, you will never forget it. The seem to break down into two catagories… the charming and smart or the somber and brilliant. – I once had a beagle mix who was pretty sharp…and I have known a few border collies – however, the Keeshonds are right up there with the Border collies.

  7. Matt on August 25th, 2008 7:38 pm

    I have two dogs the first being a Neapolitan Mastiff and the second being a staffy cross. They are both very intelligent in very different ways.
    The Neo is stubborn and can appear dumb, however he has been caught. We would wake in the morning to find him lying on the kids beds with them in it or not. We had caught him many times trying to sneak in to the rooms so we removed the door handles and turned them upside down so you have to lift the handle to open the doors, he sussed this out the first night of doing so. I was awake late the next night and he came in to our room and I pretended I was sleeping, he looked at me then the mrs and stood for a bit, he then left the room and I heard a door open, I could see his shadow in the hall as he stood at the kids room door. But he didn’t enter, he came back to our room, again looked at us and stood watching for a good 5 minutes. He then left our room and entered the kids after to him ensuring that we were asleep. Now that is genius! An over grown fox in disguise!!!

    The staffie cross we rescued at 10 weeks as a companion for the neo. At around 20 weeks I tested him with a ball and within 20 minutes he mastered the following. Sit, (ball thrown) leave, get it, here and drop. What I would also like to say is that he does bare a good deal of similarity to an Amstaff although I have never met a more loving and loyal and obedient dog in my life.

  8. Jack Sterling on October 3rd, 2008 3:55 am

    It seems none of you good doggie people have heard of a TRD..

    The Thai Ridgeback Dog is much smarter than a Border Collie.. What me to prove it?? Come visit me at my TRD RANCH in Northern Thailand to see all 50 of my super smart TRD..

    See us all at

  9. The Dog Lady on October 4th, 2008 7:06 am

    Jack – Thanks for sharing! The dogs on your site are beautiful. I’ve never heard of Thai Ridgebacks, but now I’ll have to do some research.

  10. Kim on October 24th, 2008 10:25 am

    I was a proud owner of a beautiful female sheltie for 14 yrs. This dog was by far the smartest animal I have ever owned. She could be taught just about anything. She truly acted more like a human in many ways. Friends,family & strangers were amazed at her abilities. This dog was truly unbelievable! I have had several dogs over the years from Old english sheepdog,German shepard, boxer & even a pom. None of these even came close to the super smarts of our sheltie. God Bless her soul.
    It is my personal opinion, the beautiful Sheltie dog should rate very high on the smartest dog list.

  11. Beth on October 24th, 2008 5:09 pm

    Kim – Thanks for sharing your story!

  12. Linda Lee on October 29th, 2008 3:53 pm

    I have a Basset named Monty and he is very smart when he wants to be or should I say when he wants something.

  13. Kim on December 9th, 2008 4:20 pm


    The Sheltie is routinely ranked as one of the most intelligent breeds – including on this list. Shetland Sheepdog is # 6

  14. Les on December 18th, 2008 9:32 pm

    Oh yes – I totally agree! Shelties have been the ONLY love of my life in the past 33 years. Sad to say:-(( I “lost ” ( SOB!)2 of my precious sheltie furdaughters last year – and I am very grateful that I found breeder Dawn Borcon online so that I could once again have the most loveable – and imho too – intelligent !- furbaby in my life. One other comment – I think that shelties also help to keep us thin:-) Walking any one of my five shelties( in the past 30+ years) for me has been better exercise than a treadmill:-)

  15. Laura on December 28th, 2008 8:09 pm

    Good morning,
    I think the Australian Shepherd is one of the smartest dog that should have been added to the list.
    Reason is that I had an Aussie and taught her to turn lights on and off and get a water bottle(only water) out of the refrigerator for my elder mom. She also could bring the phone and the remote to my mother when she dropped it. Or when my mom asked her to find by using the name. I also a taught her to find my son by asking her to find him by his saying his name. They make get service dogs. I taught her the things just to see if she could do it and some things only took 5 to 15 minutes to teach her. I have 5 Aussie now, as we say in the Aussie world you just can’t have one.
    I don’t think Aussie get the recantation they deserve for their highly intelligence, their honesty, and the willing to please!
    I think it’s sad when these certain Kennel Clubs don’t give this breed the recantation they deserve! I wish they would give this breed a chance, after all the are a AMERICAN BREED.
    Thank You,

  16. Laura on January 6th, 2009 8:49 pm

    I think the English Bulldog should be on that list. They say they are stubborn by nature, which they are to some extent, but I fully believe if they are trained correctly they can be the best out there. I have an almost 5 month bully that was purchased 11/25/08. He is already housebroken, sits on command, gives high five, down and roll over. How many collies do that at 4 months..

  17. Noa Stark on February 22nd, 2009 12:04 am

    All dogs have their points of intelligence. American Staffordshire terriers are overly smart. Great Pyrenees are overly smart. Border Collies are overly smart. German Shephards are overly smart. Akitas are overly smart. Australian Shephards are stupid and vicious. Chihuahuas are stupid and mean. Dachsunds are not real bright and have the potential to be vicious. Dogs who are bred are less intelligent than those who are adopted from pounds. If adopted they have better social skills, and can adapt more quickly, a key to canine intelligence.

  18. Nancy Ohannessian on June 4th, 2009 11:31 pm

    My companion is a 7 year old Rat Terrier. I do not think that she knows that she is a d-o-g. I never told her anyway.
    I think that she is very intelligent. From what I understand, development of intelligence also has to do with the type of interaction with humans that they have had..not just breed.
    But her understanding of and use of emotion is unnerving. At times I have to wonder if she IS a dog.

  19. Jessie on June 8th, 2009 7:49 pm

    NO DOG BREED IS “STUPID AND VICIOUS” and to say that is just plain ignorant. With that said, I have a Border Collie/ Australian shepherd mix and i have NEVER been around a smarter dog. Hands down. He is truly amazing. So i am in complete agreement that the Aussies are not given nearly enough credit by kennel clubs. I am of the STRONG opinion that my dog has the best of the best when it comes to smarts in his genes.

  20. tramp on June 12th, 2009 7:50 am

    no dumb dogs just dumb pepole

  21. tramp on June 12th, 2009 7:51 am

    yea i cant spell

  22. Telling it on June 23rd, 2009 3:00 pm

    I dont really think tht smartness should be judged on how easy they are to train. I think it should be judged on their overall personality. Like German shepherds for an example. My german shepherd is beyond smart. But not because training him is a breeze, Its because one day he had a good sized rock in his mouth. I wandered what he was doing with it until he put it in the grass and laid on it, then he started to scratch himself with this rock. I was amazed because not even i wouldve thought to do that. So its not about trainability, its about their overall personality

  23. Caryl on July 16th, 2009 5:48 am

    We have a Jack Russell mix, rescued from the local animal shelter, that’spretty smart. When he was a puppy, he would steal a sock from the laundry. Of course, we would take it away. He got wise to us very quickly, and stole 2 socks. One to hide behind the pillow on the sofa, and one to give up to us. No wonder he gave one up so quickly! He had another in reserve!

  24. Love My Aussie on August 10th, 2009 7:23 am

    I know we all think our dogs are the smartest, but seriously, Aussies have always been considered one of the smartest breeds and have the closest level of intelligence to a Border Collie. How did they miss this list? I’d really like to know. I have had German shepherds, a poodle, and a Golden Retriever that I especially adored, but my Aussie is by far the smartest! I have never had a Border Collie, but I have been around them at various obedience and agility classes to agree with their #1 ranking on the list for intelligence. But the list stops there! Aussies should be right up there with them. I would like to also add that Aussies are not only extremely intelligent, but they are much easier to live with! Border collies are not friendly, and if you look at other rankings, they are not considered to be good with children. Aussies make wonderful companions for the whole family.

  25. Cheyenne on September 29th, 2009 2:45 pm

    i have a year old boxer.
    and at times i belive he is not very bright.
    but he listens to my dad very well.
    anything he ays that dog will do.
    like this one time;
    we were havong hot dogs and there was one on my coffee table,
    my dog walked up to it,
    my dad said. leave it.
    and the dog did not touch it.
    he didnt even look at it again.
    and how you can just sit there and name breeds
    of dogs you think are smart is just stupid,
    its not the breed,
    it just depends on the dog.
    and if you could really name the smartest dogs,
    a golden retriver would not be one of them.
    i am sure there are a couple smart ones,
    but mostly.
    they are not very smart at all.
    so yeah.

  26. Tosh Benneyworth on January 5th, 2010 11:17 pm

    I adopted an 8 month old parti-colored poodle from a shelter 4 years ago. He is very intelligent, has a great sense of humor, but what impresses me the most is his social skills. His behavior is uniquely tailored to the person he is a interacting with. With me he is soulful and quiet.With my partner he is very playful and verbal. With my 20 month old great-niece, who gently pats him and says “puppy!” and “kiss” and then puckers up he is a gentle lover, very carefully giving her just one lick on her cheek. I have NEVER heard this dog growl or seen him snap in the 4 years I have had him. Sometimes, if I hop in the shower a little late in the morning, especially if I put on and then removed shoes and if he thought we were going out and then was disappointed he will very carefully find my discarded pajama bottoms and soak them with pee. BUT if I am sleeping in he will cuddle for hours and put off toileting until I’m really awake even if it’s noon! He is eight lbs of pure love and has such a great personality.
    A cautionary tale though for owners of wee doggies. One day this summer we were playing off leash in the back yard when a large shadow passed over us and then returned. A large hawk seemed to be scoping him out for a meal. I immediately scooped little pup into my arms. Today someone told me that a man living in Minnesota, where there are many eagles, came upon a fallen tree after a storm. In the tree was a large eagle’s nest. On investigation he found 8 little dog collars, many with the pet owners contact information in the eagles nest. Apparently eagles will catch, kill and eat little doggies if they can get them! And I thought I was being a little silly! Has anyone else heard of such a thing?

  27. Elena on January 15th, 2010 10:54 pm

    I am sorry, but the Border Collie will forever be #1 on the list for good reason. If you are skeptical, go see them in action and you will understand why. I’ve had 2, and honestly, the breed is almost too smart for their own good.

    The Australian Shepherd deserves more credit than it is obviously given though. I had one for 16 years before she died. My father marked our 135 acre property line for survey one day. Lady and me followed him all the way around. Lady from that point on after she accompanied us to the bus stop in the morning patrolled that whole property line every day. (Dad followed her once to figure out what she was doing.) And she knew exactly when the bus dropped us off b/c Dad watched her go get my horse and the two of them would walk down to the fence line at the bus stop every afternoon. (One day Mom picked us up from school, and at around 5 o’clock Mom yelled at me to go get Lady b/c she was still waiting at the bus stop looking up and down the road. She was on her patrol when we’d gotten home and didn’t realize we were in the house with Mom.) She did many incredible things over the years, and almost treated me like her pup rather than her owner. She saved my life several times.

    I think the breed deserves more credit. But, a lot of people seem to dismiss them. I’ve never understood why.

  28. carolyngail on January 19th, 2010 3:04 pm

    I agree on the German Shepherd and the Sheltie, but some of the all-time smartest dogs are missing : Collie, Shih Tzu and Schnauzers, all of which I’ve had as pets. Schnauzers have been dubbed the “dog with the human brain” and they don’t come much smarter.

  29. Brett on January 26th, 2010 6:12 am

    All breeds have their intelligent ones and their goofy ones. As far as tasks go, some breeds are better at A while others are better at B. And there are many stubborn dogs who know exactly what they’re doing when they’re ‘not listening.’

  30. Onnalee Graham on February 16th, 2010 11:46 pm

    I rescued an old Beagle
    She goes in and out with me.
    What can be the use of her
    Is sometimes hard to see.

    Retired from chasing rabbits;
    All squirrels she ignores.
    Eats anything that she can find
    And when she sleeps–she SNORES!

  31. JoAnn C. on February 17th, 2010 7:36 pm

    To Onnalee….I think I adopted your dog’s brother!! He too eats anything he finds & he snores so loud that you can hear him from two rooms away but I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

  32. Onnalee Graham on February 17th, 2010 10:59 pm

    “Brittany’s” specialties are what another colleague termed as “finding ‘hidden treasures,'” usually under snow berms. This was more worrisome when we lived in and walked through a city park as she was uncanny at finding pork-chop and/or (worse) chicken bones. One wonders about some people’s up-bringing.

  33. Marcella on March 3rd, 2010 6:30 pm

    I have to say and agree with some people schnauzers and Australian shepherds
    should be counted on this list they are extremely smart I have lived with schnauzers all my life and have been around Aussies. But i do agree on border collies ranking they are very smart. I have 3 schnauzers right now and they are extremely smart if I even talk about sitting Camy sits and i say down she lies down she even knows the command kisses! shes still young though she also is learning agility! In my opinion schnauzers and Aussies should be on this list. I recommend schnauzers to any family they just want to be a part of the family.

    Schnauzers Rock!

  34. Golden Angie on June 9th, 2010 4:53 am

    Golden retrievers are #1 for me.

  35. Dog Sneezing on July 24th, 2010 11:25 pm

    I guess this list is overall however if you take individual dogs I would have to say the Shetland sheepdog is ahead of the German Shepherd. Grew up with them and the sheltie was just a smarter dog then the shepherds.

  36. veterinarian clinic on October 27th, 2010 11:22 pm

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  37. veterinary questions on November 2nd, 2010 2:07 am

    I love Shih-tzu! How come they’re not on the list? Well there are aside form those on the list, there are smart animals out there. I also love the Golden retriever!

  38. veterinary questions on November 2nd, 2010 11:17 am

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  39. veterinary information on November 2nd, 2010 8:04 pm

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  40. Karen on November 16th, 2010 5:35 pm

    Interesting list. I’d bet any dog owner would say they’ve got the smartest dog. Where’s the Yorkshire Terrier??!

  41. Katherine on September 25th, 2011 12:09 pm

    I remember when the Collie itself was considered the smartest. The thing is they are using who will obey the best. okay the collie is mischievous, but dang it is smart. They once tried to breed the collie and the German shepherd together for the military, because they wanted the intelligence of a Collie and the ability to take commands of the shepherd to kill.
    My collies have figured out how to open locked fences, trick people out of their seats and walked me to and from school as a child and out fox the canine catchers. i think a different set of criteria needs to be used for this. Now no who is on top we all love and think our breeds are the smartest. Kathy

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  45. Golden Retriever on June 1st, 2013 2:59 pm

    Actually i think everyone wants to have smartest dog.I also want a smart dog and he should have been Golden Retriever with the list of 4.





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