Most and Least Intelligent
Dog Breeds

Although it may be more difficult to measure intelligence in a dog than it is in a human, a rough indicator of a dog breed’s intelligence can be determined by how quickly he’s able to master a new command. On the basis of this, the Canadian and U.S. Kennel Clubs composed a list of the most intelligent and least intelligent dog breeds. Is your dog on the list?

Dog wearing glasses looking clever

Most Intelligent Dog Breeds

The Border Collie

The intelligence of the Border Collie is legendary. Even though they learn new commands very quickly, they can be difficult to train because their intelligence causes them to overanalyze simple commands. The same intelligence that allows them to learn new commands so effectively also enables them to learn the secrets of escaping from the yard, stealing food, and a variety of other less acceptable behaviors. Owning this intelligent dog breed can be a challenge.

The Poodle

Poodle owners say the best thing about this dog breed are its superior intelligence and great sense of humor. Poodles were used historically by gypsies to perform in traveling shows where they demonstrated their keen ability to carry out complex commands and do difficult tricks to the delight of their audience. This breed’s intelligence is still appreciated today by thousands of Poodle dog owners worldwide.

The German Shepherd

People who own this particular breed of dog say they’re almost human in their intelligence. Maybe this is why this breed has adapted so well to working with humans in such jobs as search and rescue, police work, guide dog work, and bomb sniffing. Easy to train and eager to please, this breed is a natural for engaging in challenging work. In fact, a German Shepherd can become bored and depressed if not constantly occupied and challenged.

The Golden Retriever

This breed of dog is easy to train and quite obedient. Golden Retrievers are often trained as guide dogs due to their ability to follow complex commands and their strong desire to please. The first three winners of the AKC Obedience Championships were all Golden Retriever dogs.

Cute dog with university hat
Can your dog master new tasks, or is he a just a bone-head?

The Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher is another dog breed that has been extensively used in human work due to the breed’s keen intelligence. It’s quite common to see the Doberman Pinscher performing tasks for the police and military as well as serving as private protection dogs.

Least Intelligent Dog Breeds

The Afghan Hound

This particular breed to dog is known to be quite sensitive and loving which may make up for some of their perceived lack of intelligence. They are tend to be rather difficult to train and have a propensity to be “disobedient” according to the trainers and breeders who work with them. With such a nice disposition, who’s worried about their lack of brains?

The Basenji

This dog breed is distinctive in its personality even if not known for its keen intelligence. Commonly known as the “barkless dog”, this dog breed makes a distinctive noise to alert its owner of impending trouble. It’s described as being almost like the sound a human makes when crying. They tend to be a challenge to train in some cases.

The Bulldog

Bulldogs are known to be both affectionate and fiercely protective of their family which makes them popular pets despite their reported lack of intelligence. They are trainable and most owners report their Bulldogs can carry out commands and perform simple tricks.

The Chow Dog

This dog is extremely loyal to its family, almost to a fault. Weary of strangers they will leap into action if they sense any ill intention on the part of visitors. Many Chow owners report their Chow dog is quite intelligent but a bit stubborn. It’s possible their stubborn tendency is mistaken for stupidity.

The Borzoi

This breed tends to be rather independent and aloof which may be misinterpreted as a lack of intelligence on the part of their owners. Dog intelligence tends to be rated on the basis of their ability to perform people pleasing behavior. The Borzoi is not as eager to please as most dog breeds.

There are many intelligent dogs of all breeds and much of a dog’s apparent intelligence is dependent upon how he is trained and treated by his owner. Hopefully this list will serve as a general guide to help you better interact with the dog breed you choose.