Pet owners often have breed requirements before adopting a dog: how easy they are to care for, how much exercise they need, how difficult are they to groom and, of course, the breed's smarts. If training and intelligence is at the top of your list, there are many smart dog breeds you can adopt that will learn quicker and will be easier to train.
Table of Contents
- 25 Smart Dog Breeds That Are Easiest To Train
- 1. Border Collie
- 2. Poodle
- 3. German Shepherd Dog
- 4. Golden Retriever
- 5. Doberman Pinscher
- 6. Shetland Sheepdog
- 7. Labrador Retriever
- 8. Papillon
- 9. Rottweiller
- 10. Australian Cattle Dog
- 11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- 12. Miniature Schnauzer
- 13. Jack Russell Terrier
- 14. Belgian Malinois
- 15. Boxer
- 16. Cane Corso
- 17. Rough Collie
- 18. Brittany Spaniel
- 19. Canadian Welsh Corgi
- 20. Belgian Tervuren
- 21. Belgian Sheepdog
- 22. Australian Shepherd
- 23. Siberian Husky
- 24. Yorkshire Terrier
- 25. Pug
Intelligence in dogs, to a certain degree, can be assessed by the dog's ability and speed at which they learn and then execute commands. This isn't just theoretical, either: unlike stubborn breeds, studies show that smart dogs are faster learners, are more effective at reading commands from humans, are more obedient and easier to train (source).
Similar research compared some well-known intelligent breeds with others and found that “less clever” breeds are more difficult to train, they aren't as good at understanding human body language and commands, they're more dominant and aggressive (source).
Smart dogs are better for first time owners that are inexperienced in caring for and training dogs. They're also better for families with kids or other animals in the household. It's more likely that any problem behavior can be easily and quickly fixed with a smart dog, which decreases risk of aggression or having to re-home your newly adopted pet.
That said, all dogs – whether they're more or less intelligent – can be trained. The only difference is the time that it may take to achieve your dog training goals. Nevertheless, if you prefer to adopt a smart breed, the below list is a good starting point.
25 Smart Dog Breeds That Are Easiest To Train
1. Border Collie
Most vets, dog owners and researchers agree that the Border Collie is the brightest dog breed (generally) out there, and the news is now out there. Originally from Scotland and England, this breed is also energetic, enabling it to handle any kind of training.
The Border Collie's abilities include problem solving and quick adoption of tricks and commands. Smart dog breeds like the Border Collie are known to grasp a command after an average of only 5 repetitions and obey it with up to 95% accuracy. Once trained, this breed makes a loyal life support partner and a most devoted companion.
The poodle comes in second among the smartest dog breeds around, courtesy of its intelligence and ability to learn commands and habits quickly. Their popular looks and their owners' tendency to groom these dogs to the extreme overshadows the poodle's intelligence.
In addition to being funny, playful and interesting pets, they are easy to train and can quickly learn to perform a variety of tasks such as herding, which makes them a very popular option on dog breed quizzes, especially with new pet owners.
3. German Shepherd Dog
Besides strength and versatility, the German Shepherd is noted for its intelligence and ability to learn new commands and tricks quickly. Independent, human-like thinking makes them ideal choices for police work training and activities such as guarding and herding. German Shepherd Dogs have long been know as one of the most popular, intelligent breeds among canines.
4. Golden Retriever
A Golden Retriever makes the list of smart dog breeds because these dogs are fun-loving animals whose playfulness makes them easy to each. Goldens are also very intelligent, which enables them to carry out tasks such as retrieving (hence the name) anything from anywhere and learning new commands and habits. Once trained, these dogs can be used for protection and dog competitions.
5. Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman breed has long been known for its intelligence, to which they add independent thinking and other traits such as quick learning, strength, speed and loyalty. All these traits combined make Doberman Pinscher dogs some of the best choices of dog breeds for police and detective work, and being a great watch dog, which is exactly what they are known for.
6. Shetland Sheepdog
Like many of the other smart dog breeds, the Shetland Sheepdog is just as playful and loyal, but also comes coupled with a high level of intelligence. It is, also, in fact one of the fastest dogs at learning and grasping new commands. This makes them really easy to train, especially for family protection, performing etc.
7. Labrador Retriever
Just like their distant cousin, the golden retriever, the Labrador is quite smart, in addition to being really alert and intuitive. The intelligence level of Labrador Retrievers makes training these dogs a quick and easy practice. Their dedication to work and commands once trained is paramount, making them good guard and rescue dogs.
One of the few small smart dog breeds on the list, the Papillon originated in France. They are known for their agility, versatility and speed, in addition to traits such as alertness and friendliness. When it comes to intelligence, probably to a lot of people's surprise, the Papillon is quite quick at learning and obeying many commands, and can be easily trained for show dog competitions and performances on stage, or agility work.
Besides confidence and strength, the Rottweiler's other traits include a high level of intelligence that renders them a quick learner, loyalty that makes them a devoted companion and obedience that makes them easy to train.
Known to some as scary dogs, Rottweiller isn't necessarily that. Once trained, they can be used as a police dog, a herder, or any other type of working canine. Rottweilers are famous guard dogs, but – alongside Pit Bulls – also are a the very top of canines that are most likely to bite people and may often be labeled as “dangerous.”
10. Australian Cattle Dog
Like the name suggests, this breed originates from Australia. Usually trained for herding animals, the Australian Cattle Dog is smart and agile, enabling them to practice for more hours without wearing out. Intelligence of Australian Cattle Dogs enables them to keep organized and very resourceful. These dogs are also noted for being easy to train and learning commands quickly.
11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
In addition to being eager to please, Corgi – this small and cute dog breed that's popular in “dog burrito” YouTube videos – is also very alert and agile. It's not something people often assume about Corgis, but it's an intelligent breed. Additional traits of Pembroke Welsh Corgis such as eagerness to learn and intelligence make them easy to train and useful in activities such as guard watching.
12. Miniature Schnauzer
In its small form, this dog breed is especially known for being very intelligent and friendly. The Miniature Schnauzer's friendliness and obedience makes them easy to train, while their alertness and spirit make them suitable for any kind of training. Miniature Schnauzer dogs can also make a wonderful addition to a family with small children. They're very friendly with children, and due to their size and eagerness to play, they can be perfect companions for your kids.
13. Jack Russell Terrier
Unlike many others on this list, Jack Russel Terrier breed is as stubborn as it is intelligent. The Jack Russell Terrier learns faster with shorter training sessions, but on the flip side, gets bored quickly. JRTs are quite energetic and are noted for sticking with routine and structure once trained. They need a lot of exercise and space for running around, which makes them perfect for active dog owners. However, you will need patience with these dogs – not due to their intelligence but due to their character and ADHD characteristics.
14. Belgian Malinois
Among some of the world's the smartest dog breeds is the Belgian Malinois, also known for its work ethic and energy. Both factors complement this breed's ability to learn, and they grasp commands quickly, making them fit for police work, search and rescue operations and sports training.
While GSDs are known to be the go-to canine for police work, the U.S. Secret Service uses Belgian Malinois dogs to guard the White House, which should tell us something. Many other countries also choose these canines as the first choice for law enforcement and other jobs.
Originally from Germany, the Boxer is popular today for not only being great around kids but also for being quite a smart and very talented breed. The breed's playfulness allows them to learn new tricks easily, while their intelligence guarantees their chances of remembering and obeying commands. Boxers are known to make very good guard dogs once trained, and have long been perfect guardians and companions to kids at home.
16. Cane Corso
This lean, sturdy dog is commonly bred for protection and hunting, courtesy of their strong territorial instincts and generally the way Cane Corso looks. However, this is one of the most smart dog breeds out there. Intelligence is another of the Cane Corso's character traits, making them a good police dog, and to this they add a couple of others including strength and the ability to learn commands faster.
17. Rough Collie
Rough Collie breeds are known to possess a high level of intelligence; the kind that allows them to learn new tricks easily and think independently most of the times. There's a good reason why Rough Collie was chosen to play the part of Lassie in the TV show, as they have long been known to be intelligent.
Rough Collies also happen to be loyal and grow close with their owners, increasing their sensitivity toward his/her needs. Collies are one of the smart dog breeds we have around today, and they also make a great family pet.
18. Brittany Spaniel
Brittany is mostly famous among hunters as one of the best gun dogs around. But the sweet nature of this dog breed adds more spice to their character. They are a gentle mixture, in addition to some other traits, of intelligence, agility and adaptability. Brittany Spaniels are very attentive and watchful, which enables them grasp things faster and makes them easy to train. They are a perfect fit for hunting, retrieving and performance sports.
19. Canadian Welsh Corgi
Just like the Pembroke Welsh Corgi which I've mentioned above, the Canadian Welsh Corgi breed is noted for its companionship, intelligence and obedience. These traits enable them to grasp commands quickly and follow them accordingly.
All Corgis are similar in their character and train-ability. These dogs are also athletic, which in addition to the other traits makes them perfect for tracking, guard watching and sports training. It doesn't hurt that any Corgi is a cute Corgi.
20. Belgian Tervuren
This breed is not only intelligent; it is also very observant, quite alert and naturally vigilant. The Belgian Tervuren easily bonds with others – both dogs and humans – allowing for easier training and quicker grasping of dog training commands. Like many other smart dog breeds on this list, Belgian Tervuren make a very good guard dog or watch dog once properly trained, which will not be a difficult task with their intelligence.
21. Belgian Sheepdog
Dominant by nature, this dog breed is as loyal as it is intelligent, which, in the event of training, makes them quite easy to work with. They are also an active breed that loves as much as they protect and guard. The Belgian Sheepdog's athletic abilities make them easy to train for complex dog training commands, too.
22. Australian Shepherd
Among the traits that render this dog one of the easiest breeds to train is their intelligence, high obedience level, energy and active nature. Loved for their trainability, the Australian Shepherd is commonly used in sports and other activities such as herding. Australian Shepherd dogs are one of the oldest working breeds around. They are very good natured and are considered protective dogs.
23. Siberian Husky
Who doesn't know and love a Siberian Husky? Formerly bred for sleigh transportation, this dog breed is as strong and athletic as they come. As much as Huskies are one of the best looking dogs around, the Husky's intelligence is also noteworthy, as is their ability to learn new things when trained. With their speed and energy, the Husky is a good choice to train for dog scootering, dog hiking, amusement and other performances.
24. Yorkshire Terrier
Another of the small smart dog breeds on this list from the “little ones” section, the Yorkie is known for a number of abilities including adaptability, independent thinking and intelligence. All these traits render Yorkshire Terriers to be very easy to train, especially with praises and dog treats being dished out. This breed does require regular grooming and have a high level of maintenance requirements, so keep that in mind.
While they are not as agile as many dogs on this list, or aren't included on most clever dog breeds lists, Pugs are actually just as smart. They will learn to understand and obey commands with time as the trainer goes on. They are also very social and decidedly eager to please, which enables Pugs to learn new things faster. These dogs have a silly and charming personality that will quickly win over even the most serious pet owner.