Intelligence in dogs can be measured in many ways. Some dogs are just downright smart, some train easier than others and some are incredibly faithful. 

So when ranking the wisest dog breeds, a combination of all the characteristics as stated should be taken into account.

That’s not to say that every dog isn’t brainy in their own right, but these distinctions narrow the field down a bit.

So using that as a guide, because everyone will have their favorites, here are the wisest dog breeds that you can find.

Airedale Terrier


Called the King of Terriers, Airedales are renowned for their ability to train easily, for their overall smarts and that they are faithful to a fault. 

President Theodore Roosevelt said about Airedales, “An Airedale can do anything any other dog can do, and then lick the other dog!” John Wayne owned one called Little Duke, and he was called Big Duke, Edgar Rice Burroughs of Tarzan fame owned one, and so did Bo Derek from the movie “10.”

Border Collie


According to the American Kennel Club, this is the most intelligent dog you can find. They can even be trained to recognize hand signals, which comes in extremely handy when herding animals, which is what they were originally bred for.

They are faithful and almost aloof to anyone else except their owner, and they are some of the best dogs for athletic competitions like flying disc catching or Doggie Olympics.



Ranked second on the AKC list for overall intelligence, most people think that poodles are just for show, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Poodles were originally bred to be water dogs to chase and retrieve game.

They are incredibly obedient, and love the family that they are a part of. They are very affectionate and kid friendly, and they come in 3 sizes, toy, miniature and standard, but all of them are incredibly smart.

Australian Shepherd


Believe it or not, these dogs actually originated in the Western U.S., and although they were bred as herding dogs, they are some of the most affectionate dogs known. They absolutely adore their master and will literally follow them like a shadow.

Aussie’s love to work, so making sure they have a task to do makes them that much happier. Their athleticism is second to none.



Yes, they were bred to hunt coons, but they are so much more than that and wise beyond their years. With big floppy and soft ears, these K-9’s love to run and be active, but when it’s time to rest, they will be first on your bed.

This all-American breed, including the Black and Tan, Redbone, and the Plotthound, which has a touch of German in its genes, are vigorous and love exercise.

They are affectionate and friendly with family, and they love other pets in the house, even if it’s just to curl up and sleep with them.

About the Author

Mary Nielsen is a passionate dog lover, blogger and part-time music teacher. She started to share her ups and downs of being a pet parent to a bunch of adorable mutts. When she is not playing with them or teaching, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen.

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