"I still love you, master, even though I am smarter thank you are."

“I still love you, master, even though I am smarter thank you are.”

Not every pet owner looks for the most intelligent breed when searching for a companion. Sometimes it is enough to swoon over the adorable features of a snuggly Pug face, or the giant size of a fluffy St. Bernard. But there are those who prefer to know which breeds are the quickest thinkers, with the sharpest instincts and best response times when given a command. Though these dog breeds often take greater efforts in training than their less intelligent counterparts, having a well-trained and highly intelligent dog is worth the investment.

Measuring Intelligence

In his book titled “The Intelligence of Dogs” psychology professor Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, observed the intellectual ability of dogs by analyzing several aspects of their mental capacity. Partnering with the American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club, Coren requested that seasoned Obedience Trial judges create a rank of all recognized dog breeds based on how they perform in certain areas. The dogs were measured against the following aspects of intelligence:

  • Instinctive Intelligence (how a dog performs his instinctive jobs such as guarding, herding, or retrieving, etc.).
  • Adaptive Intelligence (how a dog finds solutions on his own or in the midst of distractions).
  • Obedience and Working Intelligence (how a dog responds to human commands: his trainability, the response time and accuracy in task completion).

Though others have engaged in a certain amount of deliberation as to which dog breeds should be on that list, the general consensus derived from Coren’s study is found below.

Top Ten Smartest Dog Breeds

These breeds are ranked according to the dog’s alacrity and successful completion of a task, when given a command the first time. The below breeds responded correctly on the first command 95% of the time:

  • Border Collie
  • Poodle
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Papillion
  • Rottweiler
  • Australian Cattle Dog

NOTE: Against the same standard, the dogs with the lowest intelligence were determined to be: Chow Chow, Bulldog, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, and lastly the Afghan Hound.