Border Collies, Poodles and German Shepherds Top 'Smartest Working Dogs' List, See If Your Favorite Breed Made the Cut

As you may have noticed, dog intelligence has been the subject of many scientific news stories as of late. Whether they’re smarter than cats or brainier than raccoons is up for debate, tongues are undoubtedly wagging on this topic.

So, think you’ve got a clever canine on your hands? Business Insider reported on the work of dog psychologist Stanley Coren. Expert and author of The Intelligence of Dogs: Canine Consciousness and Capabilities, plus many more popular pup tomes, he says man’s best friend possesses many different types of smarts: adaptive intelligence (i.e., figuring stuff out), working intelligence (i.e. following orders), instinctive intelligence (i.e. innate talent), as well as spatial intelligence, kinesthetic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence and other categories.

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That said, his aforementioned book showcases the extensive survey results of 199 dog obedience judges. Although there are always exceptions (notably Staffordshire bull terriers and Afghan hounds, for instance), the findings were mostly quite consistent. According to Coren, dog breeds can be separated into six tiers,

Top tier: These are the most intelligent working dogs, who “tend to learn a new command in less than five exposures and obey at least 95 percent of the time.”

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

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Second tier: Coren says these are “excellent working dogs, who tend to learn a new command in five to 15 exposures and obey at least 85 percent of the time.”

11. Pembroke Welsh corgi

12. Miniature schnauzer

13. English Springer Spaniel

14. Belgian Tervuren

15. Schipperke, Belgian sheepdog

16. Collie, Keeshond

17. German short-haired pointer

18. Flat-coated retriever, English Cocker Spaniel, Standard schnauzer

19. Brittany Spaniel

20. Cocker Spaniel, Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever

21. Weimaraner

22. Belgian Malinois, Bernese mountain dog

23. Pomeranian

24. Irish Water Spaniel

25. Vizsla

26. Cardigan Welsh corgi

Third tier: According to Coren, these are “above-average working dogs, who tend to learn a new trick in 15 to 25 repetitions and obey at least 70 percent of the time.”

27. Chesapeake Bay retriever, Puli, Yorkshire terrier

28. Giant schnauzer, Portuguese water dog

29. Airedale, Bouv 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. American Eskimo dog, Cairn terrier, Kerry blue terrier, Irish setter

36. Norwegian elkhound

37. Affenpinscher, Silky terrier, Miniature pinscher, English setter, Pharaoh hound, Clumber Spaniel

38. Norwich terrier

39. Dalmatian

Fourth tier: Coren says these pups are “average working dogs, who tend to learn a new trick in 25 to 40 repetitions and obey at least 50 percent of the time.”

40. Soft-coated wheaten terrier, Bedlington terrier, Smooth-haired 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-and-tan coonhound, American Water Spaniel

45. Siberian husky, Bichon Frise, English Toy Spaniel

46. Tibetan Spaniel, English foxhound, Otterhound, American foxhound, Greyhound, Harrier, Parson Russel terrier, Wirehaired pointing griffon

47. West Highland white terrier, Havanese, Scottish deerhound

48. Boxer, Great Dane

49. Dachshund, Staffordshire bull terrier, Shiba Inu

50. Malamute

51. Whippet, Chinese shar-pei, Wirehaired fox terrier

52. Rhodesian ridgeback

53. Ibizan hound, Welsh terrier, Irish terrier

54. Boston terrier, Akita

Fifth tier: These are the “fair working dogs,’ says Coren, “who tend to learn a new trick in 40 to 80 repetitions and respond about 40 percent of the time.”

55. Skye terrier

56. Norfolk terrier, Sealyham terrier

57. Pug

58. French bulldog

59. Brussels griffon, Maltese terrier

60. Italian greyhound

61. Chinese crested

62. Dandie Dinmont terrier, Vendeen, Tibetan terrier, Japanese chin, Lakeland terrier

63. Old English sheepdog

64. Great Pyrenees

65. Scottish terrier, Saint Bernard

66. Bull terrier, Petite Basset Griffon

67. Chihuahua

68. Lhasa apso

69. Bullmastiff

Sixth tier: And finally, the least effective working dogs, as listed in Coren’s book, “who may learn a new trick after more than 100 repetitions and obey around 30 percent of the time.”

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

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