If you’re planning on bringing a pooch into your life there are multiple things to keep in mind before you take the big step. For many, intelligence is a large factor in deciding on a potential puppy. Smarter dogs are quicker to train across many disciplines, and are less likely to be vicious with proper training. Stanley Coren, professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, has written a very helpful book entitled The Intelligence of Dogs, and listed below is a countdown of his ten smartest dog breeds. The smarter a dog, the more mindful they are of their abilities to harm. If you decide to get a smarty, it’s important to remember that they crave mental stimulation, so don’t let those brains go to waste!
10. Australian Cattle Dog
These herding dogs were originally bred to drive cattle over long distances. They come in a range of colors from blue to red, and everywhere in between. Many are known as heelers, they’re called this because when they’re herding especially problematic cattle, they’ll bite at their heels.
They may be big in size, but they aren’t ones to throw their weight around without reason. Intimidating in appearance, Rottweilers are very intelligent herding and work dogs. They were once even used to haul butcher’s carts. Smart and kind, they are now used as search and rescue, and seeing eye dogs.
Don’t let their small frame fool you, these little dogs are very intelligent. They easily pick up new tricks and are very kind towards children. Papillons are light on their feet, and will tire out anyone who dare chase them.
7. Labrador Retriever
Labs have been the most popular breed of dog for many years, for good reason. They are intelligent, kind and come in a wide range of colorings (yellow, black, and brown). Their kindness and wits make them very effective service, hunting, and/or family dogs.
6. Shetland Sheepdog
Also known as Shelties, Shetland Sheepdogs are herding dogs from Scotland. Accurately chosen, Lassie was a Shetland Sheepdog that could brave treacherous landscapes. Bonus knowledge: In all of Lassie, Timmy was never once trapped in a well.
5. Doberman Pinscher
Dobermans once reigned as the most common police dog, but are now more common in a household. Originally from Germany, these dogs are alert, smart, and very loyal.
4. Golden Retriever
Hailing from Scotland, these golden beauties range from medium to large in size. Historically they’ve been bred for their retrieval skills as gundogs. Gundogs are hunters’ companions who fetch recently killed game; Goldens are especially good at not damaging the freshly hunted animal. Don’t let their rough roots fool you, they make a great family dog; they are smart, loyal, affectionate and great with kids.
3. German Shepherd
For good reason German Shepherds are the second most popular dog breed in the U.S. Their wits, strength and obedience make them perfect for protection and police work.
Don’t let the looks fool you, poodles aren’t just for decoration, these dogs are smart, agile, and surprisingly great swimmers. Their paws are webbed and their coats are fluffy, which gives them agility and buoyancy in water. Poodles are a smart breed that have even been used in herding.
1. Border Collie
Ranking consistently well, the Border Collie has been dubbed the smartest of the smart. They are an energetic breed that shines in sheepherding. They are a great combination of brains and grace, making them fierce competitors in any dog sport. Border Collies are loyal, obedient and top out the list of the ten smartest dog breeds.
Now you’re ready to take that next step in ensuring your family and friends’ safety, by choosing the most obedient, loving, non-aggressive new addition to your family.
David Hook is an writer and recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He loves to blog about dog bite personal injury claims on behalf of Loewy Law Firm in Austin, Tx.