Special Report

The Smartest Dog Breeds in America

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The Briard is named after the French dairy region of Brie, where farmers needed capable herding dogs and guardians. Thomas Jefferson had Briards at Monticello. He wrote, “Their extraordinary sagacity renders them extremely valuable, capable of being taught almost any duty that may be required of them.”

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The Chinook was first bred by adventurer and polar explorer Arthur Treadwell Walden in New Hampshire. He wanted to breed his own line of sled dogs and used a mastiff/St. Bernard mix and a Greenland husky as parents. The Chinook is known for intelligence, patience, and eagerness to please.

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Doberman Pinscher

This dog was first bred by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a German tax collector who wanted a dog to protect him in his sometimes dangerous job. As well as being one of the smartest breeds, the Doberman often ranks highly in obedience and trainability. That makes it popular with police and military forces around the world.

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German Shepherd

The German shepherd is the second most registered breed by the AKC. Originally bred for herding sheep, it has become the first choice for many roles because of its intelligence, trainability, and obedience. German shepherd roles include disability assistance, search and rescue, and police and military work.

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Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers aren’t just smart but have a great work ethic too. They are often used as guide dogs, in search and rescue, and – as their name suggests – for hunting. Their many other endearing characteristics, including patience and playfulness, make them great pets.