What Are Some of the Most Intelligent Dog Breeds in the World?

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Border collies are one of the smartest breeds of dogs in the world, along with other working breeds, including Australian cattle dogs, poodles and Labrador retrievers. However, measures of intelligence in dogs vary depending on the methods used to determine it.

The most common criteria for measuring intelligence in dogs is how easy the dog is to train. Researchers look at how quickly the dog can figure out what the trainer is asking for, how likely the dog is to repeat the action, how many commands the dog can learn and how long it can retain a learned command without reinforcement. However, these results can be skewed by the different ways that some breeds interact with people. For example, primitive breeds, such as huskies, and livestock guardian breeds, such as great Pyrenees, may be highly adaptive and adept at problem solving, but they are also bred for independence and may score low on intelligence tests that measure their response to human training.

Generally speaking, the most intelligent breeds of dog are working breeds. Herding dogs often score high. In addition to border collies and Australian cattle dogs, German shepherd dogs, Shetland sheepdogs, Australian shepherds and Rottweilers all score high. Hunting dogs, such as golden retrievers, are also very smart. Scent hounds often score low on traditional intelligence tests due to their stubbornness, but the American Kennel Club lists them as one of the most intelligent breeds due in part to their intense tracking skills.