Special Report

The Smartest Dog Breeds in America

Dogs are America’s most popular pets, and almost 50 million households have one or more. They are great companions and can be playmates, hard workers, herders, and guardians. But some kinds of dogs, frankly, are smarter than others — and, to put it bluntly, who wants a dumb dog? 

Smart dogs definitely have practical advantages: They’re typically easier to train and often more engaging and entertaining. The only downside, if you can call it that, is they may also need more mental stimulation.

To discover which dog breeds are considered the smartest, 24/7 Tempo consulted a list of the most intelligent canines published by the American Kennel Club (AKC). It’s a remarkably diverse assortment by any measure. There are breeds from Africa and Australia, from Alaska and the Alps. There are breeds that can hunt bears and breeds that can just about fit in your pocket. (If that idea appeals to you, see our list of smallest dog breeds in the U.S.)

Click here to see the smartest dog breeds

The dogs also span the centuries, from the Rottweiler, with a history that dates back to the Roman Empire, and the Chinook, which was bred in the early 20th century. There’s also the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka, which you may never have heard of, and which almost went extinct. And of course there’s the Labrador retriever, which serves not just as a house pet but as a guide dog and in search and rescue. It’s America’s most popular breed — suggesting that maybe we’re pretty smart, too. These are the 50 most popular dog breeds in America.