Most Trainable Dogs 2020

If you’re into sports, you may want to consider adopting a dog. If you already have a dog, this article will give your dog an appraisal of how sporty and trainable it is.

Most people are afraid that having a dog in the household will only add up to the chores that they have. I mean, dogs lived in the wild. So they are not necessarily used to living like a human.

We should understand the innate nature of dogs before deciding to share a household with them. Well, you will be spending every moment of your life from now on with your canine buddy. Of course, you need to know about it!

You also have to help your dog adjust to a human way of living, more specifically according to your routine. But how are you going to make a dog adapt to human civilization?

A dog’s personality greatly depends on its breed. You need to do thorough research on your dog’s ability to adapt, trainability, and its ability to learn. If the dog refuses to learn and follow your commands, it poses a severe threat to household harmony.

Although some dogs are naturally more trainable than others, training a dog will require your undivided time, attention, and patience. It is like teaching your children to become better adults.

So without further ado, let’s have a look at the ten most trainable dog breeds of 2019!

What Classifies a Dog Breed as Trainable?

Nature made dogs as pack animals. They understand the hierarchy and social obligations.

An adult dog knows how to discipline its puppies. It will direct them about what they can do and what is forbidden. It also rewards the pups for acceptable behavior.

People have been training dogs long before they could read and write. Fighting, hunting, and cohabitating comes naturally to dogs. Having said that, all dogs are smart in essence.

Therefore, the exact meaning of ‘dog intelligence’ is difficult to define. Like the different races of humans, each dog breed contributes to the world with its unique talents.

Having a trainable and intelligent dog may look like a blessing, but it can also be challenging and tiring. When you see them bored, you have to adjust the environment up for success. Sometimes your dog may be more intelligent than you, which can be exhausting.

A dog’s intelligence is generally measured by its ability to think, understand, learn, and remember. If you see any of these traits in your dog, you are lucky.

It is important to note that some dogs may be socially smart, while others may have a strong memory. Specialized talents may vary in different breeds of dogs, so be careful how you judge their level of intelligence.

On that account, these are the traits your dog will demonstrate if it is truly intelligent.

It Aces Cognition Tests

Believe it or not, you can assess dog intelligence by using some products. Although there are many ways to test how smart your dog is, you may want to try Dognition. It tests your dog’s intellect through cognition-based games.

Furthermore, I have covered a section of this article on testing your dog’s IQ, which you will find at the end. So don’t worry, passing a cognition test doesn’t have to cost money.

It has Problem-Solving Skills

As much as you love to take care of your dog, sometimes you wish your dog would do the same for you. For example, when you’re sick, you want your dog to at least to be able to bring you some medicine from the drawer.

Some dogs can open and close the refrigerator door. It is one of the signs of intelligence. Getting something off the counter without knocking it off also confirms that your dog has problem-solving skills.

It is Able to Communicate

Animals are always communicating with us through their language. Your dog is doing the same. If you don’t realize that it is, that means you need to learn more about dog languages.

Being able to communicate needs is a sign of intelligence. Start paying attention to your dog’s reactions, and you will realize how intelligent it is.

Furthermore, smart dogs understand your moods, and it will comfort you when you’re sad. That’s high-level emotional intelligence even some humans lack.

On the other hand, when it needs attention, it also knows how to get it. Rubbing against you, bringing you a leash and lying down for some tummy rubs are signs that your dog knows how to get your attention.

It Figures Things Out Fast

Does your dog follow your commands quickly? Does it get you right away?

These are signs that your dog is highly intelligent. Sometimes it is not even related to specific breeds; some dogs can figure things out super fast.

Your dog may even mimic your actions, for instance, grabbing a tissue after you sneeze. When you sign, it sings with you. When you dance, it dances. Learning through observation is a talent, as well.

It Has Mastered the Treat-Dispensing Toys

By using treat-dispensing toys, you’ll be able to tell how intelligent your dog is. Problem solvers don’t care what challenges lie ahead. They will eventually figure out how to get the treats at whatever cost.

The quicker your dog gets the treat from the treat-dispensing toy, the smarter it is likely to be. The same can be achieved by hiding treats in different locations of the house and letting your dog find them.

But don’t assume that your dog is dumb if it is taking too long to grab the treat. Its talent lies elsewhere, that’s all.

Top Ten Most Trainable Dog Breeds

When people ask which dog breeds are smarter, what they want to know is that if they are trainable. Each dog breed has its genetic heritage and instinctive drives, which affect its trainability. Some may work better in groups, while some work better independently.

Some breeds are more trainable than others though training methods impact the outcome. These breeds are good with sports, herding, and working alongside humans. Hounds and terriers are not so trainable.

Here are the top ten most trainable dog breeds.

1. Border Collie

Border Collie, most trainable dogBorder Collie is at the top of our list of the most trainable dogs. Originally from the United Kingdom, the dog is athletic, acrobatic, and highly intelligent. Regular physical and mental exercises are essential for this breed.

A small household with no backyard is not the ideal environment for Border Collies. They need a lot of space to play and run around. These dogs learn super fast (just after five repetitions), and you have to sharpen your skills to keep up with them.

No dog breed can beat the Border Collies in obedience, herding, and agility. A workaholic, this dog breed will devote all its time and energy to work, and of course, you.

The Border Collie may live for twelve to seventeen years. Its coat color maybe chocolate, brindle, blue, white, sable, merle, red merle, gold, and red.

An adult male dog can have a weight of fourteen to twenty kilograms, and a female can weigh from twelve to nineteen kilograms. Furthermore, a male dog may reach a height of forty-eight to fifty-six centimeters, and a female may grow up to forty-six to fifty-three centimeters.

2. Poodle

poodle most trainable dogThe second on the list is the Poodle, which is energetic, loyal, and intelligent. A Poodle is highly trainable, and also good with kids. This breed could either be from France or Germany, but also believed to have descended from Asian herding dogs.

Active, alert, and intelligent, the Poodle needs obedience training, mental and physical workouts to focus its energy on productivity. It was initially known to hunt waterfowl.

It won the ‘The Best Show’ award in 1966 and 1982 at Crufts. It is a remarkable performer in circuses and sports. Eager to please and love to work, you can teach the Poodle anything you want!

Having an average life expectancy of twelve to fifteen years, the height of the Poodle can vary depending on the type. An adult Toy Poodle may measure between twenty-four and twenty-eight centimeters, a Miniature Poodle between twenty-eight and thirty-five centimeters, a Standard Poodle between forty-five to sixty centimeter, and a Medium Poodle between thirty-five to forty-five centimeters.

It may inherit any coat color, such as silver, blue, grey, black, white, cream, sable, apricot, red, and brown. Its average weight may range between forty-five to seventy pounds.

3. German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd, smartest dog

German Shepherd

You can’t make a list of smart dogs without including the German Shepherd. This dog breed has been contributing in military and police work. It is known to be versatile, reliable, and intelligent.

The German Shepherd has keen eyes and performs tasks dutifully. Throughout history, it has played many roles – herding dog, war dog, explosives and narcotics-detection dog, guard dog, and search-and-rescue dog.

As the name goes, this breed originated in Germany. A quick learner, the German Shepherd, has a well-balanced body with sturdy hindquarter and forequarter. No wonder it is the second most popular dog breed in the world by registration.

The weight of an adult male German Shepherd maybe thirty to forty kilograms and that of an adult female is twenty-two to thirty-two kilograms. The average height of a male German Shepherd is between sixty to sixty-five centimeters and that of a female is fifty-five to sixty centimeters.

The dog breed may inherit coat colors of the following shades – black, silver, red, grey, tan, and sable. According to current data, it can live for as long as thirteen years.

4. Golden Retriever

most trainable dogs - golden retrieverThe Golden Retriever is beautiful and amiable, but also eager to please and trainable. Not only is this breed trainable, but it is also suitable for people with special needs, such as visual and hearing impairments.

Being the fifth most popular dog breed in the world, the Golden Retriever is confident, reliable, and intelligent. Its origin is in Scotland, United Kingdom. It is trained to be a search-and-rescue dog, detection dog, and a hunting dog.

The first three dogs to win the AKC Obedience Champion title were Golden Retrievers. The breed has always been performing at the top in obedience, agility rings, dock jumping, field trials, and fly ball.

A dog breed that comes in beautiful shades of gold and cream, the Golden Retriever can live for up to twelve years. An adult male can weigh from thirty to thirty-four kilograms, and an adult female weighs from twenty-five to thirty-two kilograms.

The males are taller than females. The males measure between fifty-six to sixty-one centimeters tall, and the females between fifty-one to fifty-six centimeters

5. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher is one of the strongest members in the list of the most trainable dogs. This dog breed is fearless, alert, confident, obedient, intelligent, and highly trainable.

Originally from Germany, this dog has been recognized as the most intelligent dog breed in expert evaluations and experimental studies. For this reason, the Doberman Pinscher is most sought after as a guard dog, war dog, and personal defense dog.

Many experts are certain that the Doberman Pinscher is a combination of several breeds, like the German Pinscher, the Beauceron, Weimaraner, and the Rottweiler. The American Kennel Club ranks this dog breed as the twelfth most popular dog of 2012 and 2013.

The Doberman Pinscher can have blue, rust, red, fawn, black, and white coat. The average life expectancy of this dog breed is ten to thirteen years.

The average height of a male dog is sixty-six to seventy-two centimeters, and that of a female dog is sixty-one to sixty-eight centimeters. On the other hand, the weight of a male range between forty to forty-five kilograms, and that of a female between thirty-two to thirty-five kilograms.

6. Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog

Very similar to Icelandic Sheepdog, the Shetland Sheepdog is responsive, alert, active, reliable, trainable, and intelligent. This herding dog originated from the Shetland Islands of Scotland.

Its original name was Shetland Collie, but the name was changed afterward. It was bred to thrive in the harsh climate of Scotland.

Furthermore, Dr. Stanley Coren confirms that a Shetland Sheepdog can learn a new command after five repetitions and obey a command right away 95% of the time. No wonder this dog breed is ranked sixth in dog intelligence out of one hundred and thirty-eight breeds.

The Shetland Sheepdog or the Sheltie with coats of black, white, sable, blue merle, merle, and tan has a life expectancy of twelve to thirteen years. An adult weighs between six to twelve kilograms and grows up to a height of thirty-three to forty-one centimeters.

7. Labrador Retriever

Labrador RetrieverKnown as the Labrador and nicknamed as Lab, the Labrador Retriever is originally from the United Kingdom and Canada. Its body type is very muscular and strong.

Intelligence is in its genes. It can carry eggs without breaking any of them. Moreover, the Labrador Retriever is also the favorite disability assistant for people with blindness and autism.

Law enforcement agencies use the Labrador Retriever in the detection and screening work. People also prize this dog breed as hunting and sporting dogs.

This dog breed’s coat comes in cute shades of yellow, chocolate, and black. Silver Labs are a new kind that is raising a lot of controversy and curiosity, so there is no section on them.

The average height of a male dog is between fifty-seven to sixty-two centimeters, and that of a female dog is between fifty-five to sixty centimeters. A male can weigh from twenty-nine to thirty-six kilograms, and a female from twenty-five to thirty-two kilograms. It has a life expectancy of ten to fourteen years.

8. Papillon

Papillion - most trainable dogThe Papillon is also known as the Continental Toy Spaniel. It is hard to miss its butterfly ears. It could have originated in France, Spain, and Belgium.

Dr. Stanley Coren ranks the Papillon eighth as the top ten smartest dogs out of one hundred and thirty-eight breeds that he has tested. Being one of the most trainable dogs, this dog breed enjoys performing and exercise.

Breeders recommend obedience training, rally obedience, and dog agility for Papillons. Overall, this breed is a quick learner, alert, energetic, and curious.

The butterfly-eared Papillon can live for as long as fifteen years. An adult can weigh between three to four kilograms. Some of the coat colors common to this dog breed are black, white, fawn, sable, chocolate, and red.

9. Rottweiler

Rottweiler

Rottweiler

Rottweiler is a German dog. Back in the days, this dog breed would take care of the livestock and pull carts laden with meat to the market. That’s why it is known as Rottweil Metzgerhund, meaning the butcher’s dog.

This trainable dog breed is courageous, alert, confident, obedient, steady, and fearless. Because of its admirable qualities, it is most commonly used as a guard dog, a police dog, and a search-and-rescue dog.

The Rottweiler is eager to work; it observes its environment with acute alertness but stays even-tempered. It can physically influence stubborn animals, such as sheep, to do its bidding. That’s pretty smart indeed!

Since this dog breed is so energetic, it only manages to live for up to ten years. Its coat colors are limited to shades of black, mahogany, and tan.

A male dog can grow as tall as sixty-one to sixty-nine centimeters, and a female dog can grow between fifty-six to sixty-three centimeters. Meanwhile, a male can weigh as much as fifty to sixty kilograms, and a female can weigh from thirty-five to forty-eight kilograms.

10. Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

The name gave away its origin. The Australian Cattle Dog may also be known as Cattle Dog. Very trainable, dependable, and reliable, this dog breed used to drive cattle over a long distance.

Temperament-wise, the Australian Cattle Dog is obedient, protective, loyal, reliable, and cautious. It expresses love for structured training and usually succeeds in overcoming challenges.

Through adequate training, this breed has been able to excel other breeds in endurance, intelligence, athleticism, obedience competitions, agility, weight pulling, Schutzhund, and flyball. The Australian Cattle Dog has made its mark as a therapy dog, wildlife species tracker, police dog, and drug detection dog.

The coat of this dog breed may come in shades of blue and red. Its life expectancy is thirteen to fifteen years.

A male weighs about fifteen to sixteen kilograms when fully grown, and a female weighs pretty much the same. However, a male can reach a height of forty-six to fifty-one centimeters, and a female reaches up to forty-three to forty-eight centimeters.

How Smart is Your Dog?

The relationship between a dog’s trainability and intelligence has already been established. Other than all the factors discussed previously, your dog may give off simple cues in everyday lives that can also indicate signs of high intelligence.

A smart dog not only knows how to follow commands, but it also knows when to look to you for instructions. It knows that there are rules in human society, and specific activities may upset its owner. Hence, to protect the interest of its owner, it looks to him or her for guidance.

It may also remember routes to the park, the vet’s clinic, and other favorite places. Recognizing direction is another sign of extreme intelligence in dogs.

Making you do its bidding is not something a dumb dog can do. If it can predict your reaction to its actions, your dog is super smart. An example is when your dog bumps its head on your hand for scratches.

Most of the top trainable dogs in this article are sharp enough to learn tricks after only a few tries. They can also sense danger before you, so they prevent you from getting into a situation like that. As an example, a bright dog may act cautiously before passing the crosswalk with you.

Not only can clever dogs remember the route to their favorite locations, but also your daily routine. When it sees you packing your bag, it knows that you’re leaving. It also knows what time you will be back.

Some dogs love to escape, and they don’t need your help to figure out which doors are open and which ones are closed. Signs of high intelligence doesn’t even stop there; some dogs can also recall commands from a year ago!

Types of Intelligence

According to dog intelligence expert, Dr. Stanley Coren, its intelligence can be classified into three groups – instinct intelligence, adaptive intelligence, and working and obedience intelligence. Let’s elaborate on each of the groups.

Instinct Intelligence

How instinctive a dog greatly depends on its breed. Companion dogs understand human emotions and respond to different moods accordingly.

Pointers can point out the location of birds by merely sniffing. Hounds are expert trackers, and guard dogs protect people and properties with everything they have.

Adaptive Intelligence

Adaptive intelligence can manifest differently in dogs, and it is not according to its breed. Some of the examples of adaptive intelligence are solving new problems and learning from the environment.

Working and Obedience Intelligence

Working and obedience intelligence is like school-learning ability. Here the dog demonstrates its ability to follow instructions and carry out tasks properly.

How to Test Your Dog’s Intelligence

Now through a series of mini-tests, you can analyze your dog’s potential in the intelligence department. Expect your dog to be confused when you randomly start doing weird things with it.

You have to keep repeating the tasks until it gets it. Give clues if you must.

The most trainable dogs in our list are all highly intelligent dogs. So this group of dog breeds may naturally score higher than other dog breeds.

Even if your dog scores poorly in the IQ test, you can check out the section afterward, where we discuss how your dog can improve its score.

Toss a Towel

Let your dog smell a towel, then toss it over its head. Count the time it takes your dog to get free by using a stopwatch. If it takes 30 seconds or less to get free, it scores 3 points.

If it takes more than 30 seconds but less than 120 seconds, it scores 2 points. If it takes more than that time frame, or it doesn’t even try to get rid of the towel, your dog needs training.

Plastic Cups Game

Place some treats under a plastic cup and show your dog. Then ask the dog to leave the room for 30 seconds, which is when you will bring two more plastic cups.

The treat is hiding under one of the cups. Call your dog back into the room and ask it to find which cup has the treat. Give it 3 points if it can point at the container that is hiding the treat in the first try.

2 points if it takes 2 minutes to find it. No points if it fails.

Hide Treats under the Towel

Place some treats on the floor and make sure your dog sees it. Then hide the treats with a towel.

Give your dog 3 points if it can reach the treat in 30 seconds or less. 2 points if it takes between 30 to 60 seconds. It scores a 0 if nothing happens.

What’s Under the Couch

This time leave the treats under the couch where your dog won’t be able to reach the treats with its muzzle. It has to use its paws to get the treats.

4 points if it succeeds within 2 minutes. 3 points if it takes 3 minutes. 2 points if it uses its paws, but fails anyway.

Score Chart

Your dog is an absolute genius if it scores between 10 and 12! It is sufficiently intelligent if it gets a score of 7, 8, or 9. Sorry to say, any points less than that means you need to train your dog appropriately.

How to Improve Your Dog’s IQ

Your dog likely scored less than average in the IQ tests above because it was confused about what it was supposed to do. Repetition can solve this problem.

As you repeat the tests with your dog, it will understand that it is a game and that it has to do something to pass the test. So keep repeating and training your dog with exciting experiments!

Here are some of the ways you can help your dog improve its IQ.

Keep Training

Training is the most effective when it is young. It is harder to teach an older dog compared to a puppy.

You must practice physical manipulation every day to let your dog get used to the adaptation process. Keep teaching new tricks so that its brain can thrive!

Let It Socialize

You must let your dog socialize with people, dogs, and other animals. Let it gain more knowledge about its environment. It will learn by observing other living beings.

For instance, you will often notice a dog that has been living with humans for a long time to start sitting and laying down like humans. It learned by observance.

Expose It to Tests and Problems

If you leave your dog at home and don’t play with it, its IQ won’t expand. You have to play with your dog, use complex toys, and assign real-life problems to it so that it can learn from the experiences.

Take it outdoors and give it tasks so that it feels useful. More importantly, show it what it should do so it can copy you.

Give Praise

Don’t take your dog’s efforts for granted. Your dog is following your commands only because it wants your admiration.

It has no reason to try to pass an IQ test unless it makes its owner happy. Therefore, when you see your dog doing well, praise it.

Take your dog with you to trips and other dog-safe activities. Your dog will learn from the adventure the two of you have together.

Intelligence can be improved. So, don’t give up!

Long Story Short

We have no doubt that dogs are exceptionally intelligent, even more so than humans or apes. Dogs have the ability to understand the emotions of other living beings just by sniffing. They can sniff and know if a person has cancer or not.

Countless dogs have contributed in the modern world that we have created. We should not forget that.

Therefore, even if your dog is not doing so well in the IQ test, it is not an accurate demonstration of its true talents. Keep researching and you will find more ways to test your dog’s intelligence.

If your dog is not listed in our top ten most trainable dogs, it is still a genius. You don’t need us to confirm that, you already know.

Related Post: A Complete Guide: Teddy Bear Dog Breeds

16 Comments
  1. Thanks for your list. There seems to me something new. 14 to 20 may be changed. Otherwise, it’s the same as like before. Some dogs have become popular newly. May be the training system just enhance their working ability and have done some important changes in their behavior. Amazing post top 20 most trainable dogs. Thanks Cobbe!

    • Why do you think that? It’s the standard list of most trainable dogs. But I will revise the list. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Have you ever adopt a Lhasa Apso dog? I had a Lhasa dog. They are not listed in a most trainable dog list or easily trainable dog list rather they are listed as ‘least’ intelligent dog. To tell the truth they are smarter than a common people. Also they are manipulative and street smart. You should try a Lhasa dog. They are also very smart.

  3. I think making a list on most trainable dog is a bit difficult. Dog owner should know the tactics how to train the dog. I know some dog are very intelligent, but they will not easily trainable if the trainer has a good skill. There are a lot of dogs who are easily trainable but they are not listed by any one. If they once get listed as smartest they will get the trends as well as the most easily trainable dog breeds.

  4. I have a Cavalier King Charles which is one of the smartest dogs in the world. He is almost a human being. He can dance with me. He is very friendly and funny!

  5. I think this is the best post on most intelligent dog breeds. Thanks Josh Cobbe! I have adopted a new dog this year and I am very watchful to my dog. I am very confident that I can train the dog easily. Because it’s a Border Collie and its comes first at the most trainable dogs list. I was little bit scared of dogs because I was attacked by a Dachshund when I was a boy of 11 years old. But now I am not afraid at all. After seeing some pretty dog show and Cesar’s show on TV I am quite confident. Thanks for such an awesome post. Keep it up!

  6. I have a Doberman pinscher he is unbelievably intelligent. He is a very smart dog and can understand the training steps easily. I only have to say three times when introducing him a new command, but every time with an exciting treat. After that she recognizes the command permanently! I also have a springer X Border Collie, he is 8 month now and he is also very smart.

  7. Excellent blog you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really love to be a
    part of community where I can get comments from other experienced individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thanks!

  8. Thank you, I have just been looking for info approximately this subject for
    a long time and yours is the greatest I have found out till now.
    But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you positive
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  9. Hi Josh! I had a good training season with you last week. You are very good trainer. I was did not think that my dog is from one of the most trainable dog breeds but you made it most trainable. You are a genius guy!!

  10. Reply
    18 Biggest Dogs in the World In 2019 September 3, 2019 at 11:04 pm

    […] if you have a fascination towards big dogs as pets, you can also check our article on the large dog breeds those who become really large […]

  11. My golden was easy to train however I think for most dogs it comes down to the owner’s patience and persistence. You can’t try to train for a few days, then stop then start again. Understanding your dog’s personality is so important. I know my dog is a home body and doesn’t like to be in strange places so when I travel and we stay over with friends or family, I bring his bed from home and a few familiar toys. If we are flying, I will send some money ahead and ask they buy his brand of food. That makes a big difference.

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