Reader Survey: 5 Smartest Dog Breeds

Which dog breeds do you think are the most intelligent of them all? We posed this question to veterinary professionals a couple of years ago, and when we presented the results, many of our readers disagreed with the list ... and weren't shy about letting us know which breeds they believed should've made the top five instead.

We loved seeing the passionate debate the results sparked, which is why we recently surveyed over 600 of you via our Petwire newsletter ( feel free to subscribe if you'd like to be notified of future surveys!) to get your opinions on which breeds you believe are the brainiest. The results are in the slideshow below, and we've compared them to the answers we received from veterinary professionals in our last survey. 

While readers and veterinary professionals didn't agree on all the breeds on the list, there are some significant similarities between the results.

Readers' Picks: The Smartest Dog Breeds

Three Golden Retrievers Sitting Outdoors

Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography

No. 5: Golden Retriever

Veterinarians and Vetstreet readers agree that the Golden Retriever has both beauty and brains. This typically friendly breed is one of the darlings of the service dog world, partly due to his charming personality, but his reputed intelligence is also certainly a factor.

Poodle Laying on Carpet

Leesia Teh, Animal Photography

No. 4: Poodle

Our readers picked the Poodle as the fourth smartest dog breed — and for good reason. The Poodle is known for often having quite the Einstein brain, along with a sunny disposition and seemingly endless energy. Veterinary professionals, however, selected the Australian Shepherd as #4. 

Labrador Retriever Running Outdoors in Grass

Anna Pozzi, Animal Photography

No. 3: Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever was voted the third smartest dog breed by our readers, and we understand why — Labs are generally quite versatile, energetic and eager to please. When you pair that with the breed's reputation for having an above-average intellect, you've got one heck of a dog. No wonder the Lab has been the most popular dog breed in America for 24 years! But the veterinary professionals we surveyed didn't exactly agree — they believe the Poodle deserves the No. 3 spot.

German Shepherd Standing in Grass

Leesia Teh, Animal Photography

No. 2: German Shepherd

With the German Shepherd, the readers and veterinary professionals surveyed once again found common ground, with both groups selecting this breed as the second smartest dog breed around. And is it any wonder? This member of the herding group has often proven himself adaptable and clever enough to manage just about any job. He's usually loyal, fearless and athletic, making him a great dog for obedience, agility, service work, military service and more.

Border Collie

Anna Pozzi, Animal Photography

No. 1: Border Collie

It's not surprising that the dog who received the most votes by both groups is the Border Collie. Often considered the world's best herding dog, the breed tends to have an intense, workaholic nature and incredible focus. She can be remarkably bright and has a reputation for picking up on commands with ease. In fact, it can be challenging for inexperienced owners to stay a step ahead of her during training. It's also vital to keep the BC occupied and busy with a job or else all that energy and focus can go into less desirable behaviors, like nuisance barking.

Please tell us what you think of the results of our reader survey. Were your favorite breeds included? If not, tell us which dogs you think should have made the final list!

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