Think your dog deserves to sit at the head of the class? If your pooch is one of these breeds, you're probably right! We surveyed 122 veterinary professionals to learn which dog breeds are the smartest, and the five listed below garnered the most votes.
No. 1: Border Collie (photo credit: Nick Ridley, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com)
The Border Collie is an intense, hardworking, highly energetic dog whose ability to impose his will upon sheep is legendary. In fact, he's so good, he just might impose his will on you, too. He has astounding focus, which is a real plus in the field, but if he's left without a job to do, that focus can be a problem.
Still doubt this dog's smarts? Check out Chaser, the Border Collie who learned a thousand words!
No. 2: German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd is an adaptable, fearless dog who's a natural protector, making him a great fit for military and police work. However, even if you don't carry a badge, he's still a loyal, energetic companion. He loves spending time with his family, especially if that time is spent playing, running, hiking, working or doing something else that uses up some of that energy.
No. 3: Poodle
Don't judge the Poodle by his fancy fur and pretty face. This dog has beauty and brains, along with a serious sense of humor. Poodles are far from prissy; they're active dogs who thrive on learning and attention from those they love. Poodles are fabulous choices for agility and obedience competitions - but keep in mind that even though he's not a froufrou show dog, your Poodle will still need intense grooming.
See Also: 9 Poodle Dog Breeds
No. 4: Australian Shepherd (photo credit: NiKarin Newstrom, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com)
The Australian Shepherd is one devoted dog, and he's not afraid to show his love by leaning on your leg, sitting on your foot or finding a way into your lap (never mind the fact that he might weigh as much as 65 pounds). But he's not just a snuggle bug; he's a total braniac who excels in just about anything he puts his sharp mind to - obedience, agility, flying disc competitions, herding trials, you name it.
No. 5: Golden Retriever
The gentle Golden Retriever is a people pleaser, to be sure, but this sweet face has a big brain behind it. Originally developed to hunt, today's Goldens are fiercely devoted family dogs who need plenty of exercise in order to keep destructive tendencies at bay. Like the other smarties on this list, he's a good choice for activities that utilize his mind and body, so go ahead and sign him up for that dock diving or fly dog competition. As long as you're willing to put in the work to teach him, he'll do the rest.