Dogs may be man's best friend, but they're also so much more than that. While you might think all dogs are the same, they can have many different characteristics, temperaments, and skills simply depending on their breed.
Some dogs are born workers, for instance, while others were bred simply to decorate your lap. Of course, when choosing a dog to welcome into your home, it's important to know what attributes matter the most to you as a potential owner. We can all agree, however, that brains definitely top most lists! If you're looking for a clever dog, check out 20 of the smartest dogs breeds, as compiled by psychologist Stanley Coren in his 1994 book, The Psychology of Dogs. They might surprise you!
1. Border collie: There are plenty of smart dog breeds out there, but few come close to this guy. The border collie was bred to solve complex problems independently from a human. There's almost no task they can't figure out!
2. Poodle: This national dog of France is a one of the smartest breeds around! Because they're so darn smart, they have been popular members of circuses for years. In the 1800s, you could expect to see them under the big tent dressed as people acting out elaborate scenes.
3. German shepherd: The German shepherd loves people and being challenged with new tasks and behaviors to learn. If you want a dog who can perform a lot of tricks—and acquire those tricks early—then look no further than this breed.
4. Golden retriever: These dogs are so intelligent that you can often spot them working with police or emergency rescue teams because of their amazing ability to track and locate. It doesn't hurt that they're really cute, too!
5. Doberman Pinscher: This dog might look intimidating (and that's kind of the point!), but there's a lot to them. They were bred to work primarily as a guard dogs because of their keen sense of smell. Don't worry, though; if they're socialized young, they're smart enough to tell the difference between a bad guy and a friend.
6. Shetland sheepdog: While every single type of dog requires lots of physical exercise, the Shetland sheepdog also requires a lot of mental stimulation. Puzzles, games, and plenty of training keep this dog happy and spry.
7. Labrador retriever: Descended originally from the St. John's water dog, this breed is a brilliant fishing dog and is still used in different parts of the world to help with all sorts of water-based activities. They are quick to learn, and even quicker to cuddle.
8. Papillon: Don't let this dog's fancy appearance fool you—she's more than just good looks! In fact, the papillon is a frequent favorite in dog intelligence competitions, particularly when it comes to demonstrating obedience skills.
9. Rottweiler: When it comes to intelligence, this guy has it in spades! Not only does this breed of dog make for an ideal family companion, but they also serve in the military and for the police. Their intelligence makes them a joy to train.
10. Australian cattle dog: This dog is so smart that living with them can actually be a little bit of a hassle if you aren't super rigorous with their training. They need lots of stimulation to make sure that they stay feeling happy and fulfilled.
11. Pembroke Welsh corgi: In spite of their relatively diminutive stature, these corgis are very good watchdogs. They take protecting their families very seriously and are happier with a job to do than they are with sitting around all day.
12. Miniature Schnauzer: This dog breed is very intelligent and she runs very, very fast! If you are looking for a dog you think you'd like to enter into competition, look no further. They thrive under obedience training and love to go for long runs.
13. English springer spaniel: One of the most wonderful things about this breed is how their intelligence mixes with their amiability. They love learning and showing off, particularly if they get to show off what they can do for people who give them head scratches!
14. Belgian Tervuren: These guys are very smart and protective of their families. They are also total escape artists, which can be a hassle, particularly because they do not trust strangers. So, any good Samaritans trying to help catch them might be in for rough ride...
15. Schipperke: These dogs are intelligent, curious, and very active. Because of their intelligence and their bonds with their owners, they prefer to be with people, not living in a kennel. Also, like many smart dogs, they can be pretty stubborn!