There are a lot of smart dogs out there, but there are some breeds that are known for being especially smart. A dog’s intelligence can be judged by how well it understands words, solves problems, responds to training, can communicate with humans and other animals, has a good memory, and can guess what people will do. Most of the time, the smartest dog types do well in all of these areas.
1. Border Collie
People often say that the border collie is the best dog and that it does more than any other dog. Border collies were originally bred to handle sheep, but they can now do almost any job you give them. They are always ready to learn something new because they are very active, sporty, and driven. If you don’t keep them moving and working all the time, they might start doing things around the house that you don’t want them to.
- 18 to 22 inches tall
- WEIGHT: Between 28 and 48 pounds
- Physical traits: rough or smooth medium-length double coat; the body is slightly longer than it is tall; a long head that comes to a point at the nose, with ears that stand up straight and tips that curl over;
2. Australian Shepherd
The Australian shepherd is busy, friendly, and smart. Its history as a herding dog has made this breed a hard worker who likes to move around and solve problems. The Aussie learns quickly and is always looking for something new to do. If you don’t give these dogs something to do, they might get bored and angry. This breed is perfect for dog games.
- 18 to 23 inches tall
- 40 to 65 pounds
- Characteristics: Medium to long hair in blue merle, red merle, black, or red; feathering on the back of the legs; large mane around the neck.
The poodle has some of the best dog brainpower, whether it’s a toy, a tiny, or a normal size. Poodles were first used as hunting dogs, and they still work hard and are good friends. Even the hardest tricks are easy for them to learn. You can teach a poodle to balance on a ball, jump through a hoop, or work as a service dog, among other things.
- Standard height is 15 inches, tiny height is 10 to 15 inches, and toy height is 10 inches or less.
- Standard weight is 45 to 70 pounds, miniature weight is 15 to 18 pounds, and doll weight is 5 to 9 pounds.
- Physical traits: Curly, dense, single-layer hair that can be white, black, gray, brown, or apricot, among other solid colors.
4. Australian Cattle Dogs
The Australian cattle dog is a breed of dog that is very focused and driven. It bonds closely with its owner. This dog was made to herd cattle, so it is happy when it has something to do. If it doesn’t have anything to do, it might do something bad to pass the time. (e.g., destructive behavior or wandering away to explore). But cow dogs, like most smart dogs, are very good at reading people and can often guess what their owners will do next.
- 17 to 20 inches tall
- 35 to 50 pounds
- Physical traits: Strong, muscular body; short, thick double coat; wide, standing ears; small, round feet with short toes; a long tail that is held down and curves up.
5. German Shepherd
The German shepherd is a breed of dog that is loyal and protective. It has so much energy and intelligence that it can sometimes seem nervous or on edge. A job is important for a German dog. This breed can feel like it has a mission by doing something as simple as watching over and protecting children. Most of the time, these dogs learn quickly and love doing things for their owners.
- HEAD TO BOTTOM: 22 to 26 inches
- 60 to 100 pounds
- PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Large, athletic build; double coat with a thick undercoat and a dense, slightly wavy or straight outer coat; tan and black or red and black coloring.
6. Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland sheepdog is always looking around, either because it wants to learn or because it is waiting for you to tell it to do something. Shelties are very good at figuring out what people want from them and know how to act right away. They usually get along well with their owners and are very easy to train.
- 13 to 16 inches tall
- 15 to 25 pounds
- Physical traits: rough fur on the outside, soft, thick fur on the inside, a full mane, and feathers on the legs and tail.
Don’t be fooled by the papillon’s small size. This dog is more than just a lap dog. These small dogs are friendly, aware, and full of energy. They might curl up in your lap for a while, but then they will want to do something fun. The papillon is a bit stubborn, like many small dogs. But if you make teaching fun for the dog (by giving it high-value rewards), it will learn quickly.
- 8 to 11 inches tall
- 6 to 10 pounds
- Physical traits: straight, long, single-layer hair; standing ears; alert personality
The Rottweiler is very good at reading people by watching their faces and bodies. Most of the time, these dogs are very loving and fun with people they know, but with strangers, they might be calmer and more serious. Once you’ve earned their trust, Rotties are easy to train. They can learn to do many things and will always watch their surroundings to make sure everyone is safe.
- HEAD TO BOTTOM: 22 to 27 inches
- WEIGHT: Between 80 and 130 pounds
- Characteristics: It has a big, muscular body, short, rough, but shiny black hair, and rich tan markings on its face.
9. Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell terrier, like its close relative the Parson Russell terrier, is a brave, active, smart, and stubborn dog. Because these terriers are so smart and active, they do well at dog games like agility. At first, it can be hard to train them because they want to keep going. But if you keep them interested with treats, you’ll be amazed at how many complicated tricks they can learn.
- 10 to 15 inches HIGH
- 13 to 17 pounds
- The body is square and compact. The head is small and blocky, with dark almond-shaped eyes and high-set, dropped ears. The tail is thin and straight.
10. Golden Retriever
The golden retriever might look like a happy, silly dog at first glance. But goldens are smart and like to please people a lot, so they are easy to train. Because of these things, golden retrievers make great service animals. It also does well in dog games. Most importantly, the golden can learn to live in a variety of homes.
- HEAD TO BOTTOM: 21 to 24 inches
- WEIGHT: Between 55 and 75 lbs.
- Physical traits: strong, muscular body; broad head; golden hair that ranges from light to dark; friendly, smart eyes.
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