8 Intelligent Dog Breeds That Excel in Training

Every dog is intelligent. In fact, Cathy’s Canines, an expert with over 30 years of experience in dog training in Phoenix, AZ, believes that any dog, irrespective of their breed, is clever and can display any required level of intelligence if given the time to catch up.

However, if you’re an aspiring pet parent looking to own their first dog, you may not have all the time and patience in the world to dedicate to training your soon-to-be furry friend; perhaps that’s why you’re reading this blog to choose the perfect breed that fits your lifestyle and can quickly learn and adapt while providing you with all the love a furry companion can give.

To assist you in making an informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of dog breeds known for their intelligence, quick learning abilities, ease of training, and intrinsic qualities that make them loving furry companions.

Border Collie

Let’s kick things off with the Border Collie. These energetic and agile dogs are not only known for their striking looks but also for their remarkable problem-solving skills.

Get yourself a Border Collie, and you’ll find that she can quickly know her way around your home in hours and memorize the names of items in your house. In fact, their high level of intelligence and eagerness to please their parents make this dog breed a favorite among dog trainers and enthusiasts alike.

Their major drawback is that they were initially bred as herding dogs, and the sight of kids or other pets can trigger this instinct.

So, if you’re the kind of pet owner who likes calm-headed dogs, then a Border Collie may not be for you because they’re always restless and energetic.

German Shepherd

You may not have known this until now, but German Shepherds are not only intelligent but also a loyal and versatile breed that doubles down as a workaholic. This breed will serve as your playmate, follow your instructions, and protect you while you sleep at night.

In fact, there’s literally nothing a German Shepherd can’t do, and there are a whole lot of reasons why you’ll eventually fall in love with them.

Their intelligence, strong work ethic, and loyalty make them a fantastic choice for first-time pet parents like you looking for a trainable and devoted companion.


Don’t let the fluffy coat and elegant demeanor fool you—poodles are not just a pretty face. These dogs are renowned for their intelligence and trainability.

All three varieties of this breed—Standard, Miniature, and Toy poodles—consistently rank highly in intelligence tests (though the standard is the smartest) and are obedient to your instructions.

Poodles thrive on mental stimulation and enjoy the challenge of learning tricks and tasks. Whether you’re teaching them basic obedience or elaborate tricks, poodles will impress you with their eagerness to learn and perform. Plus, their hypoallergenic coat makes them an excellent choice if you suffer from allergies.

Golden Retriever

You may have probably come across a Golden Retriever before and found them to be friendly creatures with a gentle temperament, but did you know they’re also highly intelligent? These dogs excel in various activities, from retrieving to agility, thanks to their keen intelligence and eagerness to please.

Their trainability and friendliness make them an ideal choice if you hope to get an obedient dog that will adapt effortlessly to your lifestyle and environment.

Doberman Pinscher

If you’re seeking a combination of intelligence and loyalty, the Doberman Pinscher might be the perfect fit. These sleek and powerful dogs are not only known for their guarding abilities but also for their sharp intellect.

Dobies are quick learners, and over time, you’ll discover that they respond well and quickly to training. Their intelligence, combined with a confident and obedient nature, makes them a standout choice for first-time pet owners looking for a vigilant yet trainable furry friend.

Shetland Sheepdog

You’re probably wondering, “A Shetland Sheepdog? But they’re small creatures.” Yeah, they are small, but don’t judge a book by its cover—the Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie, is a small package with a big brain.

Shelties are known for their obedience and agility, often excelling in competitive dog sports. Plus, their friendly and gentle disposition, coupled with their intelligence, makes them a trainable and affectionate companion to have.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are popular dogs, and for a good reason—they’re not just adorable, they’re also incredibly intelligent. Labs are known for their friendly demeanor and adaptability, making them a favorite choice for first-time pet parents like you (especially if you have a family).

Their intelligence shines in various activities, from retrieving to search and rescue missions, and they’re quick learners who thrive on positive reinforcement.

As long as you’re willing to reinforce their good behaviors through treats and compliments like “good dog!” this breed will surely make you fall in love with their intelligence and eagerness to please you.

Australian Shepherd

Last but certainly not least on this list is the Australian Shepherd, a breed you’ll come to love for its intelligence and boundless energy. Aussies (as they are fondly called) are a resilient breed that you’ll find yourself adoring because of their obedience and intelligence.

Just like the Border Collie, this breed is known to have high energy levels and is only suitable for you if you’re looking for an active companion that will come around every now and then while you’re doing your laundry or reading a book.

Wrapping Up

Dogs are our friends and companions, and having the most intelligent of them as a pet (especially as a first-time pet owner) can make all the difference. So, choose any from this list that fits your needs and lifestyle, and be kind enough to share with your friends who are planning to get a dog soon.

Brenda Thompson

Brenda Thompson is an expert in dog behavior with over a decade of experience, and she is also passionate about working with cats and birds. In addition to contributing pet content to petdogplanet.com, she is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. Brenda received her Bachelor of Science in Biological and Biomedical Sciences & Philosophy from Colorado College in 2014. She has taken classes in writing and remote animal behavior consulting, as well as courses on how to manage aggressive dogs and litter box issues. In 2016, she obtained her dog behavior consulting certification and joined the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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