The smartest dog breeds in the world

Author picture Jessica

How do you pick the top 'smartest' dog breeds?

There are many ways to measure the intelligence of a dog, whether or not it is one of these 'smartest' dog breeds. For example, some breeds have acute scent or hearing abilities, whilst others are excellent at agility or training. Then again, other breeds are brilliant escape artists or always know how to find the hidden treats, which are important skills themselves!

Border Collie puppies - one black and white, one brown and white

In our list of the smartest dog breeds, we mainly focus on training and obedience as the main factors for intelligence. But it’s important to remember that every dog has something to offer and can be trained with positivity and patience.

The top 10 smartest dog breeds

There are MANY dog breeds that are known for being very smart, however, dog trainers regularly list the following breeds as the brainiest!

Border Collie 

These iconic working dogs are fast, agile and super smart. It’s no wonder they are seen working alongside farmers from morning to night.

Australian Kelpie 

Similar to the Australian Cattle Dog, these working dogs are born and bred for enduring the harsh Aussie climate. Therefore, they are a staple feature of working farms around the world.

Golden Retriever 

You can’t think of service dogs without thinking of Golden Retrievers. They are gentle, loyal and great at obedience training.

Labrador Retriever 

One of the world’s most popular dog breeds, Labradors are also known in their roles as service and therapy dogs. Furthermore, they are very friendly and great for families. 


The poodle is not only very smart but also a low-shedding breed. Therefore, it is often cross-bred with other dog breeds.

German Shepherd dog

German Shepherd 

These dogs fit perfectly into their role in police forces around the world with good reason. Notably, they are eager to work, strong, super smart and fast learners.


Rottweilers traditionally lead cattle to market in ancient times. As a result, they are strong, confident dogs that need to be well trained. However, they will reward you with loyalty and obedience.

Doberman Pinscher 

This breed originated as a loyal guard dog. As such, they require early socialisation. However, they love to be physically and mentally challenged in training.

Shetland Sheepdog

The smaller relative of the Collie, Shetland Sheepdogs often win obedience championships. Their nimble build and intelligence make them perfect herding dogs.  

Australian Cattle Dog 

British settlers originally bred these hardy dogs (also known as Blue and Red Heelers) for herding in the harsh Aussie climate. As such, they are hard-working and super smart.

Australian Cattle Dog - Red Heeler

If you own one of these smart dog breeds, note that with intelligence comes responsibility. Indeed, as a pet owner, you must keep your dog mentally engaged with training and socialisation. Failing to do so can lead to boredom, which can lead to problem behaviours such as digging and chewing.

Lastly, do you need someone to give your dog a walk and stimulating training session while you are at work? Contact one of our experienced pet sitters.