Canine IQ: How Smart is Your Dog?

Over 200 professional dog obedience judges ranked 110 dog breeds on the basis of their intelligence; the list below is the result. But remember, as Stanley Coren notes in his book The Intelligence of Dogs, depending upon your lifestyle, it may be more difficult to live with a more intelligent, rather than a less intelligent dog. A smart dog can prove a more challenging companion and all breeds on the list bring their own unique mix of wonderful attributes. 


Brightest Dogs

Understanding of New Commands: Less than 5 repetitions. Obey First Command: 95% of the time or better                       

1. Border Collie

2. Poodle

3. German Shepherd

4. Golden Retriever

5. Doberman Pinscher

6. Shetland Sheepdog

7. Labrador Retriever

8. Papillon

9. Rottweiler

10. Australian Cattle Dog 


Excellent Working Dogs 

Understanding of New Commands: 5 to 15 repetitions. Obey First Command: 85% of the time or better. 


11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi 

12. Miniature Schnauzer 

13. English Springer Spaniel 

14. Belgian Tervuren 

15. Schipperke Belgian Sheepdog 

16. Collie Keeshond 

17. German Shorthaired Pointer 

18. Flat-Coated Retriever, English Cocker Spaniel, Standard Schnauzer

19. Brittany

20. Cocker Spaniel

21. Weimaraner

22. Belgian Malinois, Bernese Mountain Dog

23. Pomeranian

24. Irish Water Spaniel

25. Vizsla

26. Cardigan Welsh Corgi


Above Average Working Dogs

Understanding of New Commands: 15 to 25 repetitions. Obey First Command: 70% of the time or better. 

27. Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Puli, Yorkshire Terrier 

28. Giant Schnauzer 

29. Airedale Terrier, Bouvier Des Flandres 

30. Border Terrier, Briard 

31. Welsh Springer Spaniel 

32. Manchester Terrier 

33. Samoyed 

34. Field Spaniel, Newfoundland, Australian Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Gordon Setter, Bearded Collie

35. Cairn Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Irish Setter

36. Norwegian Elkhound

37. Affenpincher, Silky Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, English Setter, Pharaoh Hound, Clumber Spaniel

38. Norwich Terrier

39. Dalmatian


Average Working/Obedience Intelligence

Understanding of New Commands: 40 to 80 repetitions. Obey First Command: 30% of the time or better.

40. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier

41. Curly-Coated Retriever, Irish Wolfhound

42. Kuvasz, Australian Shepherd

43. Saluki, Finnish Spitz, Pointer

44. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, German Wirehaired Pointer, Black & Tan Coonhound, American Water Spaniel

45. Siberian Husky, Bichon Frise, English Toy Spaniel

46. Tibetan Spaniel, English Foxhound, Otterhound, American Foxhound, Greyhound, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

47. West Highland White Terrier, Scottish Deerhound

48. Boxer, Great Dane

49. Dachshund, Stafforshire Bull Terrier

50. Alaskan Malamute

51. Whippet, Chinese Shar-pei, Wire Fox Terrier

52. Rhodesian Ridgeback

53. Ibizan Hound, Welsh Terrier, Irish Terrier

54. Boston Terrier, Akita


Fair Working/Obedience Intelligence 

Understanding of New Commands: 40 to 80 repetitions. Obey First Command: 30% of the time or better.

55. Skye Terrier

56. Norfolk Terrier, Sealyham Terrier

57. Pug

58. French Bulldog

59. Brussels Griffon, Maltese

60. Italian Greyhound

61. Chinese Crested

62. Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, Tibetan Terrier, Japanese Chin, Lakeland Terrier

63. Old English Sheepdog

64. Great Pyrenees

65. Scottish Terrier, Saint Bernard

66. Bull Terrier

67. Chihuahua

68. Lhasa Apso

69. Bullmastiff 


Lowest Degree of Working/Obedience Intelligence

Understanding of New Commands: 80 to 100 repetitions or more. Obey First Command: 25% of the time or worse.

70. Shih Tzu

71. Basset Hound

72. Mastiff, Beagle

73. Pekingese

74. Bloodhound

75. Borzoi

76. Chow Chow

77. Bulldog

78. Basenji

79. Afghan Hound


Check out our breed profiles here!



For more on dog intelligence, check out Stanley Coren's excellent book, The Intelligence of Dogs

Dogify Your Inbox

Sign up for the FREE Modern Dog Magazine newsletter & get the best of Modern Dog delivered to your inbox.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

By clicking the arrow, you agree to our web Terms of Use and Privacy & Cookie Policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.