15 dog breeds that learn fastest: how can they be so smart?

László Enikő

2023. July 30 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Although many dog breeds are considered to be particularly intelligent, high intelligence does not necessarily mean that the dog is well trained and quick to learn. Because some dogs are breed-specific, as their original job was to follow their own senses rather than human instructions.


What many people today consider to be a typical smart dog are whose original role required them to work closely with humans by following their commands. Other dogs, on the other hand, had to rely on their own intuition and senses (for example, when tracking while hunting), so although they also have a high level of intelligence, they are quite independent and not necessarily easy to train. They often act on instinct. Examples include robust sheepdogs, whose job is to guard the flock and protect it from predators. Although they are no doubt used to the task, they are largely instinctive and are not typically dogs who learn lots of tricks and will pitter-patter on command. Nevertheless, they are also extremely clever dogs, without whom many people would be in trouble. So the fact that a dog doesn’t listen to his owner’s words and commands doesn’t mean he isn’t very intelligent.

Here are 15 dog breeds that learn very quickly with the right training.

1.) Hungarian Vizsla

The Hungarian Vizsla is a very active, athletic breed, loves to move, play ball and chase. His stamina and work ethic impress many. When hunting, he is dutiful, clever and purposeful, and his high intelligence allows him to learn quickly.

2.) Border Collie

The Border Collie is often called a workaholic, he is so demanding and loves to be given a task. He is a quick and easy learner, highly intelligent and interested. Border Collie needs intensive training from puppyhood onwards, and mental and physical exhaustion is important. He likes to be given tasks and has a very high work rate. Therefore, he is suitable for almost all dog sports, be it agility, dog dancing, flyball, frisbee, fetch or herding.

3.) Australian Sheperd Dog

The Australian Shepherd Dog, also known as the Aussie, is a lively, friendly and hard-working dog who learns very quickly. His work is fast and accurate, but he is also energetic and precise. He loves to work with his owner and requires regular tasks. Talented and intelligent, he excels in almost all activities, be it herding, agility, frisbee, dog dancing or obedience sports.

4.) Puli

He is an extremely intelligent, people-oriented and energetic breed. For this reason he is highly recommended for various sports. These can include herding, agility, frisbee or dog dancing. Raising a Puli is relatively easy because he loves to learn new things. He is self-aware, but his owner is always his priority.

5.) Poodle

Don’t be fooled by the fancy coat, the poodle is intelligent, hard-working and eager to please. Regardless of size, he is playful and happy to learn anything his owner wants to teach him.

6.) German Shepherd Dog

There is a good reason why the German Shepherd is often used for police and military work. He is a tireless and clever dog who wants nothing more than to please his owner and trainer.

7.) Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is a friendly and loving dog, consistently topping the list of the most popular breeds, and for good reason. It is very trainable, quick to learn and eager to please.

8.) Shetland sheepdog

This beautiful herding breed is playful, affectionate and loves to learn new things, which he easily masters. He is an excellent competitor in dog sports such as agility and obedience trials.

9.) Labrador Retriever

The Labrador is also a very popular breed. This gentle and versatile hunting dog is a quick learner and loves to please his owner. His calm nature and high intelligence often make him a very useful assistance dog.

10.) Papillon

Named after his butterfly-like ears, this alert puppy is eager to please his owners. An active pet who is quick and eager to learn new things.

11.) Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is a loyal protector who cares about his family and his job, because he loves to be given a task. One of the most intelligent breeds, he is quick and easy to learn. Although he can be a very friendly dog, in the wrong hands he can take control of his owner and is not for everyone.

12.) Pumi

The pumi’s charming personality will sweep anyone off their feet. It is the ideal combination of terrier temperament and Puli intelligence. He has a playful personality, loves to exercise and needs it regularly. This dog is highly intelligent and requires mental and physical effort to remain balanced. Pumi is a hard worker and easy to train, a very intelligent breed.

13.) Australian Shepherd Dog

The Australian Shepherd is a determined and very active breed. Tireless in his work and quick to learn, he is considered a very valuable working dog in his home country. He needs to be given a task to make him a balanced and happy dog.

14.) Schnauzer

Although Schnauzers come in different sizes, their personalities are very similar. They are typically alert, energetic, tenacious and brave, but also calm and balanced companions. They are very intelligent, easy to train and excel in dog sports.

15.) English Springer Spaniel

Bred for all-day hunting, he is an energetic breed who works hard in the field but is also playful at home and loves to be given a task. The Springer Spaniel is a tireless energy bomb, used for a variety of jobs around the world, from tracking koalas to sniffing out viruses.

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