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     The American Kennel Club (AKC) lists the 10 smartest dogs (click dogs).  But another article better explains how they arrived at the top 10 and provides a complete list of all the dogs tested (click  This article explains that the list was compiled by Dr. Stanley Coren in his bestselling book The Intelligence of Dogs, which is the most highly regarded book on the subject to this day.  The dogs were tested for "obedience intelligence" and following orders, or in other words, trainability. 

     Dr. Coren's book divides the dogs into six tiers and reveals why trainability is so important.  The bottom tier dogs could only learn a command "after more than 100 repetitions" and would only obey that command "around 30% of the time" (click  On the other hand, the top tier dogs, of which there are 10, could:



     WOW !!!!  Stop for a minute and think about that ....... Of the 10 most trainable dogs, you can expose them to a new simple command once, twice, three, or at the most four times ... and that dog will obey that command 95% of the time or better !  Hard to believe, I know, but you can verify what I am saying is true (click In his book, Coren states:


     As stated above, your welcome to review the entire list.  But I'm going to limit the remaining discussion to the top 7 dogs on that list, in order of obedience intelligence, or trainability.  They are:

1.  The Border Collie

     The Border Collie is the smartest dog, but according to AKC, it ranks only 38th in popularity (click  In his book, Dr.Coren explains that in addition to obedience intelligence, all dogs have an "instinctive intelligence"  which is what a dog was bred for.  AKC classifies the Border Collie as belonging to the "Herding Group"  which means that the border collie was bred to work all day "herding" animals and this "instinctive" desire to herd is born into the dog.  And therein lies the problem.  

     The people at PetMD explain that "Because of their extraordinary intelligence and high energy, it is essential to give Border Collies an occupation or purpose, or you may well find your home wrecked upon your return from a long day at work."  They continue to say "Border Collies invariably will not do well unless they are with people who are as high energy as they are"  (click 

     The Border Collie is the smartest dog.  But, unless you are a sheep herder or a farmer who needs to have his cows herded up, the Border Collie might not make the best pet.  Especially around kids, because the Border Collie is known to nip at the heels of children as they herd the kids around.  And finally, like many other dogs, the Border Collie sheds a lot.

2.  The Poodle

     The Poodle is the 2nd smartest dog and, according to AKC, is THE 7th MOST POPULAR purebred dog and for good reason (click  The Poodle is the only dog to make the 10 Smartest Dogs list which doesn't shed.  PetMD explains that "The Poodle excels at training and obedience, and also loves creative play time."  They "flourish in human company" and "can be quite effective as guard dogs, especially the standard size Poodles." (click 

     The Poodle comes in three different sizes, the toy, the miniature, and the full size Standard Poodle.  And even though they are technically the same breed, and may be similar in intelligence and trainability, they are very different dogs.  Like a lot of small dogs, the toy and miniature Poodles can be a little more hyper-active and barky.  The Standard Poodle is not hyper-active and not barky, and is a much more calm dog than the smaller varieties. 

     Now many people will say that they don't like the looks of a Poodle because they have only seen them in foo-foo hairdos.  But the groomers at dog shows go to a lot of trouble to get their Poodles to look that way.  If left alone, the Poodles' coat looks quite normal and natural, although they require to be clipped down occasionally.  Except for grooming, it is hard to find any negative information regarding the Standard Poodle.

3.  The German Sheperd

     While the German Sheperd makes the Top 10 Smartest Dogs list, coming in 3rd, it also makes another list ... "The 10 Dogs Most Likely To Bite Humans" !!! (click The 10 Dogs Most Likely To Bite Humans).  It is for this reason that we feel the German Sheperd should not be considered when looking for a family pet.

4.  The Golden Retriever

   Not only is the Golden Retriever the 4th smartest dog, it is THE 3rd MOST POPULAR purebred dog according to AKC (click  Now in order to be the 3rd most popular dog, out of 189 pure breeds, you must have some pretty good qualities.  In fact, it is hard to find any negative information regarding the Golden Retriever, other than the shedding.

     PetMD remarks that "the Golden Retriever is highly regarded for its intelligence. They can learn well over 200 commands, making them indispensable companions, both in the home and in the workplace.  Loyal, loving , and patient, with a willingness to please and a love of learning, this is a fabulous companion pet to bring into your family."  (click

5.  The Doberman Pinscher

     The Doberman makes the Top 10 Smartest Dogs list, but just like the German Sheperd, it also makes the list of "The 10 Dogs Most Likely To Bite Humans" !!! (click The 10 Dogs Most Likely To Bite Humans).  Again, it is for this reason that we feel the Doberman Pinscher should not be considered when looking for a family pet.

6.  The Shetland Sheepdog

     The Shetland Sheepdog, commonly referred to as a Sheltie, makes the list of the Top 10 Smartest Dogs, coming in 6th.  But, according to the AKC, the Sheltie only ranks as the 24th most popular dog breed (click

     As to the pros and cons of this breed, we turned to the people at who surveyed 209 real Sheltie owners.  Naturally, these owners had many fine things to say about their dogs.  However, three negative traits continually popped up ... constant BARKING ... constant SHEDDING ... and, because they belong to the same Herding Group as the Border Collie, the Sheltie nips at people and kids in their attempt to herd them (click

7.  The Labrador Retriever

     Not only does the Labrador Retriever (or Lab) come in 7th on the Top 10 Smartest Dogs list, the Labrador RANKS 1st as THE MOST POPULAR dog of all pure breeds according to AKC (click  Now you can't get to be the most popular dog, out of 189 pure breeds, unless you have some pretty good qualities.  And, like the Golden Retriever, its hard to find any negative information regarding the Labrador Retriever, except for the shedding.

     The people at PetMD point out that "the Lab is best known for its intelligence, affection, patience, and gentility, making them perfect companions for households with kids."  And "They are easily trained, and, in fact, are one of the top dogs chosen for search and rescue, assisting the disabled, and police work" (click


"learn a new command in less than 5 exposures
and obey at least 95% of the time".

"These are clearly the top breeds for intelligence
and seem to learn well even with inexperienced
or relatively inept trainers".


     To me, 3 out of the top 7 dogs listed above shine above the rest ... 1) the Standard Poodle which is the 2nd smartest and the 7th most popular, and the only non-shed dog in the whole group ... 2) the Golden Retriever which is the 4th smartest and 3rd most popular, and 3) the Labrador Retriever which is the 7th smartest and the 1st most popular dog. 

     Somewhere, at some time, someone must have said "Its too bad that there isn't a Labrador or Golden Retriever that doesn't shed".  And thus was born the Labradoodle and Goldendoodle.


labradoodle reading a book
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