Top 15 Smartest Dog Breeds in the World

Photo by Erkki Makkonen from Shutetrstock

Dogs are one of the most intelligent animals in the kingdom, no doubt about it, but some canines are smarter than others.

Before you start arguing that your pooch reigns supreme, what exactly does that mean? Besides their natural smarts, intelligence can come down to how easily breeds can train, their ability to understand humans, how quick of a study they are, how well they perform certain tasks, and much more.

So if you’re looking for a top dog to join your family, see if these canines pass the test.

44 thoughts on “Top 15 Smartest Dog Breeds in the World”

  1. Labradoodles are terrific. Smart, loyal, and my female understands everything and doesn’t run away. She was trained by treats and wants one for everything she does.

    1. My brother and I have a 4 year old Australian shepherd labradoodle. Oscar is very smart! He listens to me more than my brother. My brother is his buddy. When Oscar is focused on something it’s next to impossible to break his focus. Do you have any suggestions for me? I could really use some help.

  2. Surprised that the Bichon Frise breed was not included on your list. We have had three (including our 4-year-old now, Jackson) and they are amazing: very smart (almost intuitive), hyper-affectionate (towards everyone) but at the same time very protective. I once had an unleased pit bull run at me in a local park and my Bichon Frise immediately interposed himself between us and began growling in a terrifying manner. The pit bull stopped short in his tracks, turned around and began whimpering. His owner, a 20-something year-old, ran up and said “your dog your scared the heck out of mine!” I feel my dog might have just saved my life. He leashed his pit bull and they both took off running. The Bichon Frise also does something no other breed does: it is called the “Bichon Blitz” — running around frantically for about 5 minutes at lightning speed. That is part of their appeal for me — a sense of humor and playfulness. Everyone loves my Bichon Frise wherever I go, especially children and seniors. For my money, this is my favorite breed. Although all three of mine had some separation anxiety, our family really didn’t want to be separated from them either. Our current Bichon Frise is a registered service dog and is so cute, bright and cuddly, he brings a lot of joy to everyone around him.

    1. Doreen Palmer

      Hi Renee…
      We had (my daughter and I) had one… Marco was five when we got him …he was a owner surrender…love of our lives …he crossed the Rainbow Bridge at 16 yrs. old …smart, protective, loving….he too had separation anxiety when we first got him ….loved nothing more than to lay on the bed with us eating popcorn and watching movies…..as long as we were there he was happy….he taught himself things …like to walk under my daughters wheelchair without getting hurt….he knew her foot was in trouble ,,he would paw it and smell it….thanks to him she needed surgery to save her foot….he was a GREAT DOG….we miss him something terrible…

    2. I agree, Bichon Frise should have been included in the most intelligent dogs. I have two, and some times they astound me with how smart they are. My Bichon’s were so easy to train, it took about 20 minutes to teach them tricks, and they excelled at dog training. Sophie is getting old, and is having trouble jumping up on the sofa, I jokingly told her to go get her dad to help her up. To my astonishment that is what she did! My girls have also taught themselves games like hide and seek. Bella hides under the bed, until I tell her sister to find her. Sophie goes to where Bella is hiding, then Bella come out, both expecting a treat.

    3. I have my second Bichon Frise the first one never barked, but Teddy is very barky he likes to go out on deck and barks at any dog he isn’t friends with especially black Labs. He is also terrorized to go any where in the car. His teeth sometimes chatter and he drools like crazy. I have even cudddled him wrapped in a blanket while someone else drives. He is 2 1/2 and have not been able to get him to relax in car. I would like to take him to fun places and parks, but hate to see him so upset. Otherwise he is the perfect lovable obedient dog and very smart. He is playful, cute as a button and friendly to everyone he meets.

    4. The Bichon is NOT the only breed that will take a few minutes to “run around at lightning speed”- ours does the same and it brings us all a good time laugh. The ‘rum’ is done so playfully and with happy sporadic jumps and moves. This is our Pitt Bull/ Boxer mix—- 88 lbs of pure muscle that holds a tremendous amount of love and gentleness.

    5. I so agree! I have a Bicheon also and I love him to pieces, he is so smart almost like he is part human, and the Bicheon schuffel is the funniest thing I have ever seen! Kudos to all who own a Bicheon just love them up and they will always be with you.

    6. I agree!!! I have had three Bichons and they are THE BEST!!! I love them with all my heart and they love me with all their hearts!!!! They are so loyal as and lovely I have been blessed with mine!

  3. I have a Chihuahua that understands everything that I tell him. He loves to go for a ride and gets very excited. If we are going somewhere that he cannot go I I look right at him and say Poco, you are on guard duty again.
    He calms down, does a 180 and takes his guard post. Always the same place.

    1. I agree 100% I also have had poodles and now I am on my second Bichon, he us my baby and protector every thing you said I can relate with.

    2. Our little chihuahua is so smart she astonished us with her perceptibly of being our little guard dog. She try’s so hard to tell us things and we talk to her and try to figure out what she is telling us. She was so little when I brought her home I started to feed her the suggested food but she wouldn’t eat it. I gave her chopped chicken from Zaxby’s then rotisserie chicken from the grocery. She loves them both but prefers Zaxby’s. You can’t fool her. We also feed our two rescues a pit bull and a Jack Russell chicken and refrigerated food.

  4. Nice to see a Rottweiler with the tail not cut. I don’t see the point of cutting their tails off. My rottie used to love swimming. A beautiful, faithful companion dog. Needs to be their with family just like any dog to be happy.

  5. Stacy McLemore

    I don’t have one because he died but he was a grayhound/lab mix. He was playfully, protective and loving. He loved to go swimming and Chase after squirls and dig holes to get to them.

  6. No smarter and sweeter dog than Bischon Frize… OMG.. That dog was smart as a whip.. could walk w.no leash on commands. I swear she was a mindreader…Unbelievable in loving nature. Protective beyond words. loves like no no other breed I have owned…… I think it comes down to the parentage of the dogs, and the homes they end up in. I miss my Lilly every day, she died on 13 March 1. :(…..

  7. My Cocker Spaniel is very, very smart. Everything I tell her she obey me and is a sweetheart. When I brought her to my home she was 6 years already and she was abused. So I rescued her and she pays me with so much love and attention. I also have Chihuahua and a Pomeranian. The Pom is blind, deaf and can’t
    Walk. But I promised him till death do us apart. He is 16. The chi-chi, of my God, she is soooooo disobedient ? But I love them likewise. I am 70 and those 3 are my babies and my whole life.

  8. Your Bichon Frise May have its Bichon Blitz.. but the other breeds call it “Zoomies”.
    I’ve had a few breeds (Jack Russel, Dachshund, Chihuahua). This is not uncommon, but it sure is entertaining to see them so happy!

  9. I am a dog Lover , in my life time(81YRS) I have Loved Cocker Spaniels (6); German Shepherd/Collie,(1);King Charles Spaniel (1 ); Wineramern (gray ghost),(1) ;,Black Labs(2)and a beautiful crystal blue Eyed Red Sieberian Husky ,we also had Haley the one and only phanthom dog we ever had she ,was sweet and her breed did not matter we just loved her!!
    Each and everyone of our dogs were a pleasure to be with, not one of them were agressive. Presently “our in house resident dog” loves to think he can rescue my Husband when He swims underwater in our backyard pool. Rockie, soon will be 11 yrs. old.
    How to have a great dog ? “You” their Human need to be aware of where they are and what they are doing. Like children You need to teach them what good behavior is.
    The lifespan of my dogs ? most were between 10 years to 15 years one was 20. this old dog is 81.
    Loved all the photos you displayed. Really had me remembering all their great doggy smooches they gave to me, their Human Mama / or Grammie
    Will be 11yrs old healthy,happy, playfull 11year old WHO THINKS HE IS STILL A PUPPY.
    His name is Rockie

  10. Myrna VanCleave

    We had a Bichon Frise [Sarah] and a Bichon Maltese, [Rambo], Sarah was so smart. She would take the lease and walk Rambo. She did so many things that no other dog did. I would be here all day writing about her. 2012 she went to Doggie Heaven and I still miss her. All our dogs were lovely but Sarah just had that something special more any than other dogs we loved.

    1. I was raised with (by?!) Shelties & have had one throughout my life; our current blue merle is the smartest, funniest, and most intuitive one ever. He keeps me & my wife on schedule–a real help for us in our mid(?) 70’s–and can recognize all his friends in our over-50 neighborhood (420 homes). He keeps in shape by running full-speed around the furniture in the family room) including reversing twirls, and “herding” everything in the room.

  11. Definitely our Minature Schnauser is the smartest dog we have ever had, and that is over several of the breeds listed. Very social but also incredibly loyal and attached to us.

    1. We have a Bouvier girl. Very smart. Very strong willed. She’s a thinker & a herder. Quite the personality. Very different from our previous fur babies (standard poodles) but fun and loving.

  12. We have a Portuguese water dog her name is Rio .
    My dog is the best dog ever!!!
    she is everything you would want in a dog sweet ,good-natured , loving well mannered !!!

    1. Brenda Faulkner

      Brenda

      I’m with you, Loren. We have had several breeds over the years, but none of them have captured my heart like our Dobermans! ❤❤❤❤

  13. Westies are my choice of breeds. Have had five of them and like terriers they can not want to listen to you unless they understand that you are the pack leader. My one Westie has been with me since he was a baby and he is 12 now. I could not love him more then if he was truly a child. Have to remember they are like a 2 year old child so always need to know where they are. He is so smart that sometimes I can just look into his eyes and he knows what I want. My other is one who came to me at the age of 4. He was very shy when I got him as his previous home was not very loving. He is now just the best boy and he protects me like a guard dog. All my other 3 were just Joys to have and are over the rainbow being healthy and playing with their toys.

    1. We have had two Australian Shepherds that were amazing, one for brightness and the other for sensitivity. The first one was would go everywhere with me and always had my protection in her mind. One day a workman came into our house and she wouldn’t allow him to leave the landing. She was also there when some troublemakers tried to steal our car. She barked at them relentlessly and one kicked her in the teeth and we l had to have it removed after it broke in half. The car was fine, however. The second one is nine now and plays with our Bengal kitten daily. They love each other! Wonderful dog!

  14. We rescued a dog perhaps german shepard mix but only 30 lbs at one year old. She is so smart but spoiled already. She was a little trouble but now sits, and so sweet. Loves to eat.

  15. We have an eight year old Havanese from a breeder. She arrived paper trained and house broken almost immediately. She has become an emotional support dog and service dog for hearing impaired. She visits cancer patients and severely disabled adults with kisses and affection. So very smart and non aggressive. Perfect for senior citizens, families with little ones.

  16. All dogs with attention and love will be smart
    Happy, playful and no matter the breed committed to their owner if treated correctly. Stafford terriers get
    Such a bad rap. They are loyal protective and naturally Funny. They need training to teach manners. Remember any dog can hurt you under the right circumstances.

  17. you should have included the Airdale TERRIER i CURENTLY am with my 12th Airdale smart loving, faithfull protective, great family dog

  18. We have had (2) two Cavalier King Charles dogs and they are very smart and just so lovable, always wanting to snuggle right up to you and we have a couple of friends who also have them, and they also think that those dogs are just terrific.

  19. No one mentioned Pomeranians. My Cesar trained ME re: the signals he wanted to use for going out to do his business, Plus he’s very affectionate and absolutely beautiful. He’s a rescue dog, but has largely recovered from his trauma. He’s also a great watch dog. Yes pomeranians do bark if anyone approaches the house, but all in all that’s not a bad thing, particularly if you live alone. And yes, they need to be kept cool because of the thickness of their fur and the 2nd layer. A large cold packs In their bed works nicely. Cesar trained easily to heel, comes when called, etc., and he loves children., going for walks & riding in the car.

  20. We have an Airedale. This is our third. Extremely intelligent, easy to train, very protective of their family yet very friendly. Also if groomed regularly every 2 to 3 months, they don’t shed.

  21. I have had 6 English Springer Spaniels. From birth to today(79). They are loyal and loving.
    Beautiful in black and white or liver and white. They love children and protect their owners. My husband had heart problems and “Fozzie” would push him down when ever an attack was coming. He would lay by my husband at all times. When he went into the hospital with a heart attack “Fozzie” was pacing through the house looking for him. I threw some of Bud’s dirty clothes on the floor and he slept on them for 2 weeks until he came home. Bud is gone now and I have “Molly Sue”. She is a great watch dog and follows me from room to room. Molly sleeps with me and snores. I love Molly Sue!

  22. I have had poodles that were very smart and now I have a Yorkie (12lb) who just thinks she is human. She is stubborn as they all are and can ignore me when she doesn’t want to do what I want when I want. It has to be on her own terms and time. She is so darn smart but I find if you train your dogs to do whatever it is you want them to do they will do it. I trained my poodles and this Yorkie to ‘talk’. They say outside, want some, love you and numerous single words. They really do sound like the words you teach them. I find dogs are only as smart as you teach them to be!!! I’m 89 and my lap belongs to my dog, not me!!! I havee always loved dogs. They are great companions, very loving and help with lonelieness when your spouse is gone. Enjoy yours!!!

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