How do I know if my dog ​​is smart?

Have you ever wondered how smart your dog is? Does your four-legged friend seem to get into all sorts of trouble, or does he seem smart enough to avoid disaster from the get-go?

In this guide, we’re going to cover the whole subject of canine intelligence, and if you’ve ever thought you might own one of the dumbest dogs in the world, you might be surprised at the results!

The intelligence of dogs from Stanley Coran

Stanley Coran conducted what is probably the best known research on canine intelligence. He surveyed over 200 dog obedience judges to determine which types of dogs they ranked as the smartest. The judges evaluated this by considering how quickly each of the 120 breeds could learn a new behavior.

The results for the ten most intelligent races were:

1. Border Collies

Bred for hundreds of years for their hardworking ability and high intelligence, it’s no surprise that these breeding professionals have worked their way to the top of the table. Not only is the Border Collie an excellent herding dog, but they also top the leagues in dog sports such as agility and obedience.

2. Poodle

Some people might be surprised to see the poodle in second place, but you shouldn’t let this fancy grooming doubt that it breeds intelligence. Originally bred as working dogs, the role of poodles was to retrieve ducks from water. Now they are known for their incredible problem-solving skills and for being a great entertainer who loves to be the center of attention.

3. German Shepherd

A true working dog, the German Shepherd (GSD) is well known for being an excellent choice for military and police service. From detecting explosives to hunting criminals, they are a race as brave as they are loyal. The GSD is also known to be an excellent service and therapy dog.

4. Golden retriever

One of the most popular breeds, and it’s also on the top ten smarts list! With a long history of working from a hunting dog to guide dog and search and rescue, the Golden Retriever can turn to just about anything! Intelligent and affectionate, it’s no wonder they make such brilliant companions.

5. Dobermann

Bred as a tax collector’s guardian, the Doberman is well known for its protective nature, but it’s also incredibly intelligent. With speed and stamina, he is a true canine athlete who makes an excellent work companion.

6. Shetland Sheepdog

Another herding breed, the Shetland Sheepdog has many of the same attributes as the Border Collie, just in a smaller body! Highly intelligent and agile, they make great pets for active families. However, expect to share the sofa with them at the end of the day; it is a very affectionate breed that enjoys being with its owners.

7. Labrador retriever

Back to hunting breeds, the Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog breed in the United States for decades. This is another breed that is well known for its working abilities, especially as sniffer dogs and service dogs. Their gentle nature combined with their intelligence make them a fantastic all-around breed.

8. Butterfly

Intelligent and agile, the Butterfly excels in agility, where its speed and intelligence often allow it to reach the top podiums. Although no taller than 11 inches, this is a breed that will enjoy a full day on the trails and be ready for a game when you get home! Proving that size is no barrier to intelligence, the Butterfly enters the top ten at number eight.

9. Rottweiler

With a strong desire to work, the Rottweiler can take on a wide range of roles from herder to guard dog and service in the police. However, this breed also has a softer side to its nature. This means that they also make excellent therapy and assistance dogs as well as being a loving companion.

10. Australian Cattle Dog

Last in our top ten, the Australian Cattle Dog is a real workhorse. Bred to work in harsh conditions and to herd livestock, this breed is both courageous and very protective of its family and home. Be warned that the Australian Cattle Dog needs an outlet for that energy, so canine sports and training are an absolute minimum.

The breeds that ended up at the bottom of the list were:

  • Borzoi
  • Chow chow
  • Bulldog
  • basenji
  • Afghan Hound

But is there a difference between intelligence and trainability?

Many owners rate their dog’s intelligence by the number of tricks it knows or its obedience. But is this really an accurate way to determine your dog’s IQ? Because intelligence and trainability are two very different things.

drive capacity

Trainability is how quickly your dog learns a new behavior. Maybe it’s how quickly they learned to sit each time you asked them, or how many repetitions they had to do before linking the word “sit” to getting into a sitting position. .


If your dog suddenly found himself alone in the wild, would he survive? Would they be able to find a place to shelter from the cold? Could they hunt for food and then follow a scent trail to find their way home?

Many would argue that these are the real indications of intelligence rather than a dog just doing what it’s told!

Which dog is easier to own, high trainability or high intelligence?

For most households, a dog with high levels of trainability is easier to live with than a dog with high intelligence but low trainability.

High intelligence but low trainability

These are the dogs that are very driven by instinct. They include dogs that are led by their noses and greyhounds that can spot a rabbit or squirrel from a mile away. Both of these skills are amazing, but they can be difficult to overcome when teaching reliable recall.

High intelligence and high trainability

These seem like the dogs that would make perfect companions in any home. But there may be a downside to this high level of intelligence. This is because these types of dogs need owners who are committed to dog training or sports. otherwise, these active minds are heading for trouble.

Breeds that fall into this category include the Border Collie, Belgian Malinois, and Australian Cattle Dog. They are not dogs for the faint hearted and owners should do a lot of research on the breed before making a life commitment.

This article originally appeared on

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