Skip to comments.Top 10 Smartest and Dumbest Dog Breeds
Posted on 04/28/2008 1:05:46 PM PDT by Clint N. Suhks
The CBS "Early Show" ran a story this week about dogs and their intelligence, or lack thereof. In the story, they shared their list of the top 10 smartest and top 10 dumbest dog breeds. These were their picks.
#10 Dumbest: The Basset Hound may be so sad-eyed because it was ranked the tenth least intelligent dog breed.
2 of 20 : #10 Smartest: The immensely trainable Australian Cattle Dog was called the tenth smartest breed.
3 of 20 : #9 Dumbest: Don't tell the Westminster Kennel Club, but Uno, the beagle who won their 131st annual dog show, belongs to the ninth least intelligent dog breed.
4 of 20 : #9 Smartest: The Rottweiler was called the ninth smartest breed. This one looks a tad surprised by the ranking.
5 of 20 : #8 Dumbest: This Mastiff hangs its head in shame over being ranked the eighth least intelligent dog breed.
6 of 20 : #8 Smartest: The Papillon, ranked eighth smartest, floats like a butterfly and knows its ABC's.
7 of 20 : #7 Dumbest: The Pekingese is more famous for its "dustmop" look when groomed correctly. This one must be getting a haircut to avoid being associated with the seventh stupidest dog breed.
8 of 20 : #7 Smartest: The most popular dog breed in the nation is also the seventh smartest: the Labrador Retriever.
9 of 20 : #6 Dumbest: We know the Bloodhound has a brain somewhere beneath all those lovable wrinkles, but the "Early Show" rankings had them pulling sixth among the dumbest breeds.
10 of 20 : #6 Smartest: The Shetland Sheepdog's agility, as shown here, helped it rank sixth smartest.
11 of 20 : #5 Dumbest: Borzois are considered the fifth least intelligent dogs.
12 of 20 : #5 Smartest: The Doberman Pinscher's intelligence is on full display here on a rescue mission.
13 of 20 : #4 Dumbest: This Chow Chow can live with being considered the fourth least intelligent breed, so long as you keep its hair nice and fluffy.
14 of 20 : #4 Smartest: Golden Retrievers were fourth on the list of smart dogs.
15 of 20 : #3 Dumbest: The Bulldog was rated the third stupidest dog breed.
16 of 20 : #3 Smartest: Loyal workhorses, the German Shepherds were ranked as the third smartest breed.
17 of 20 : #2 Dumbest: The Basenji is considered the second least intelligent dog breed, but hey, it could be worse.
18 of 20 : #2 Smartest: Love 'em or hate 'em, Poodles were ranked as the second smartest dog breed out there.
19 of 20 : #1 Dumbest: Stylish and mysteriously ancient, the Afghan Hound nonetheless merits the dubious honor of being ranked the single least intelligent dog breed.
20 of 20 : #1 Smartest: The Border Collie was ranked the single smartest dog breed. Do you think this one looks just a little bit proud of it?
I was coming here to say the exact same thing!!! Not only is she 3rd dumbest being in the world, but she looks amazingly like the afghan hound!
Basset Hounds dumb? LOL Not a chance. They’re the most expert people-trainers ever.
These would be field tests? Sorry, I’m not a regular dog person, I guess.
Only if you ask nicely.
I was agreeing with their list until this one:
#2 Dumbest: The Basenji is considered the second least intelligent dog breed, but hey, it could be worse.
I owned a Basenji and was around another for years. I found them to be extremely intelligent.
The smartest and best dog I ever had was a bearded collie.
Best dog all around, just like an American, is a mongrel mutt!
As for beagles being dumb, I have a part beagle....stoopidist dog I ever owned.
First of all, you have two different types of tests for retrievers: Hunt Tests and Field Trials. The Field Trials are the top of the pops, really you have to have a first-class dog, send him to be trained and professionally handled, and spend a lot of money to be competitive in field trials. They are a fairly technical and rarified test of a dog's ability to "mark" - i.e. see where a shot bird falls - and get there on the straightest possible line and return on the same line no matter what. Tremendously long distances - 400 yards is pretty common - and very difficult terrain.
The dogs that are bred for field trials are the absolute top of the retriever world -- very keen, very fast, very hard-headed, and VERY expensive. Not your average goofy friendly Lab, they can be very sharp and a real handful to train.
The hunt test is intended to be more of a test of the actual hunting ability of a retriever, and to create situations that as much as possible duplicate things that might happen on an actual hunt. The dog is expected to mark - on the higher levels 2 or 3 birds fall at once, as though you were in a group shooting multiple ducks, and the dog is expected to retrieve all of them, usually in reverse order though not always. The entry level is pretty simple - the dog just does "singles" - one mark at a time, two on land and two over water. On the next level, the dog has to do a "double" - two birds fall at once - and a "blind" - be directed by whistle and hand signal to a bird that he did not see fall (again, just as though you were hunting in company and another hunter shot a bird while you and your dog were looking someplace else.) On the HRCH level, the dog is expected to "honor" another dog, that is, sit still and calm while a bird is shot right under his nose and let the other dog get it, as well as ignore a "diversion bird" - a bird that is hand thrown right in front of him as he returns with a retrieve - and so forth. The distances are reasonable (120 yards or so for a mark and 75 yards for a blind is about as much as the dogs will be asked to do) and the terrain is what you might meet in the field -- fields, open water, the occasional "stick pond" i.e. flooded timber or a flooded cornfield.
To complicate matters, there are two associations that do hunt tests. The Hunting Retriever Club, which is part of the United Kennel Club, pioneered the hunt tests, and then the AKC got on the bandwagon because the hunt tests are much more popular than the field trials. In HRC, the levels are Started (SHR), Seasoned (HR) and Finished (HRCH). A dog that has made its HRCH has done some fancy retrieving under difficult conditions. If your dog gets a certain number of qualifying points you can go to the Grand Hunting Retriever Championship, which is held twice a year at various locations in the country. Our local UKC club just finished sponsoring the Grand last weekend. That is a big, big deal -- kind of puts our club on the map.
In AKC, the levels are Junior Hunter (JH), Senior Hunter (SH) and Master Hunter (MH). The received wisdom is that SHR is easier than JH, and my personal experience bears that out. My older dog is well trained enough that she could pass a Seasoned test now, I took her on a lark to an AKC test and ran her in JH. She handled it with aplomb, but she has a LOT of experience and this is supposed to be a novice dog event but it wasn't. Out of 32 dogs that started on Saturday, only 19 went on to the water test, and quite a number flunked the water.
Friend of mine says that the UKC judges WANT your dog to pass, while the AKC judges delight in flunking you.
Please put me back on your ping list. Thanks.
I owned a full-blooded Chow Chow for 12 years. He had everything figured out. Stubborn is not stupid. He was a purple tongued devil and proud of it. LOL
“Friend of mine says that the UKC judges WANT your dog to pass, while the AKC judges delight in flunking you.”
Doesn’t speak much about AKC judges, does it? When you boil down all the twists and turns and variations, there’s really only one thing being tested: obedience.
If I told my mini doxie not to go for a piece of meat I’d dropped on the floor, I might survive to tell it but I’d be scarred for life.
I will vouch for the Border Collie’s intelligence. My dear departed Barney knew his left from his right and he would have been able to tie shoelaces had he been born with opposable thumbs. It took exactly one “slip-up” (less than 15 minutes) for him to figure out the back door led to his bathroom, he could chase down a frisbee as far as I could throw it and then would leap 6 feet in the air to catch it. He also would carry his frisbee back into the house and put it away in the closet when we were done. He also helped keep me in pretty good shape too! ;-)
Without a doubt, Barney was the most awesome animal I have ever known. Currently though, I have a black lab who is pretty darned smart in her own right. Not quite as smart as the BC, but close. She has an uncanny ability to speak using only her eyes. She’s a lover.
Now... on the other end of the spectrum, the wife has a mini dachshund. Grrrrr... That girl’s ‘bout as sharp as a bowling ball. It’s a good thing she’s cute...
Ability can be trained to some extent, but the basics have to be inborn. The dog needs good eyesight and depth perception (to lock on the duck and see where it falls), a good memory, a good nose to sniff out the duck once he's in the area of the fall, and the ability to triangulate (figure out how a duck is drifting in the water with wind and current, and meet it at some point). Plus he has to have that elusive quality termed "style" or "drive" - he has to retrieve like that duck is the most important thing in the world and he can't wait to bring his prize to you.
Obedience is really important though, especially in the higher levels. The dog has to look where you tell him to to watch for the mark. And you can get away with a dog pulling to the line in Started, but in Seasoned he better be at heel and solid as a rock (no leashes or collars allowed after Started). And handling to a blind requires that the dog trust you absolutely -- my Chocolate in training still looks at me like, "Wait a sec. You are trying to tell me where a duck is? You with your pitiful nose? Who the heck is the bird dog here, anyhow?"
I think the AKC judges just make the tests too difficult for inexperienced dogs. Nothing in the tests I went to was unfair, exactly, it just required too much savvy on the part of the dog. Things like asking the dog to run to a mark uphill (slows him down) into a tree line (makes it hard to see the duck against the dark background) on the other side of a ditch (a natural boundary or 'stopper' for most dogs). An experienced dog knows he has to run harder uphill to travel the same distance, knows what a duck looks like against a dark background, and knows that a ditch or a fencerow is not a boundary. The worst mark, though, was a "live flyer" - that is, they had gunners in the field who actually shot a duck - that was shot over an overgrown mound of dirt that somebody had bulldozed up in the corner of a partially mown hayfield. Because you never know exactly where a live flyer is going to come down (the ducks that are already deceased and thrown out of catapults to the accompaniment of blank gunfire always land within around a six feet circle target area), the marks landed in top of, behind, beside, and in front of this 6 or 8 foot tall mound of weeds and dirt. So the dogs didn't get the same mark -- the ones who had their duck land BEHIND the mound were really at a disadvantage. Most young dogs don't know to go around something and have a look behind.
My dog got a 'gimme' on that one -- her mallard landed on the front face of the mound, in a clear patch, with the white breast feathers up and ruffled. Might as well have been a large neon sign flashing DUCK * DUCK * DUCK .
Even large neon probably wouldn’t help Buster. The best thing he has going is that nose of his. I bet your Chocolate is awesome! I love those but I get Weimeraners and Labs confused. Hubs and I were rodeo volunteers and saw lots of them both. Great hunters. Very pricey, as you said. About $1200 each when we left 5 years ago.
great dogs. Love them. Right outside Las Vegas we’ve got a guy with a sheep ranch. Only a dozen or two head. But he makes money letting people bring their dogs from Las Vegas out to his ranch and he trains them to herd sheep.
Mostly, the dogs already know how to do this. But you need to help them define the line between herdee and prey for the dog who frequently will attack first instead of just nipping and driving the sheep.
Other than driving a sled dog team onto of a glacier in Alaska, my favorite experience with a dog is watching them herd. Hard to beat and you get to see what your dog has inside him/her. Hell, I just discovered that one of my Westhighland Terriers could track and hunt! You don’t know what your dog has in him until you put him in the right situation.
The Weimaraner is a bird dog, not a retriever. They do look a little like a very pale Chocolate Lab, but the head and body are different. Field Labs are very lean and look something like a Weim, and in fact some unscrupulous people are selling "Silver Labs" and "Charcoal Labs" that are actually Weim/Lab crosses. So it's quite reasonable to confuse them.
If you get a top flight field Lab you can expect to pay $1500 and UP. And for the offspring of a National Field Champion, well, the sky's the limit. I heard that the pups out of Lottie (3XNFC/AFC Candlewood Tanks A Lot) were going for $5,000 apiece, but I never confirmed that with her breeder. I bought a pup from Lottie's breeder, but from a less royal bloodline and much less expensive!
I’m sure you’re right about Buster. He has a nasty bark and he’s very, very fast. I’m guessing his bloodline isn’t too great due to one ear being slightly out of line and both ears seem a little short, to me. That and he’s 11.5 lbs. whereas minis should be less than 9 lbs.
I’m thinking the dog behind us must be a yellow lab. He’s huge. The Weimeraners I’ve seen that I knew were ‘good’ were just a bit shorter but not as bulky, more graceful for lack of a better way to put it. Some labs I’ve seen would outweigh Weimeraners by at least 10-20 lbs.
I like big dogs but I’m allergic to dogs. Buster’s coat is very soft and he’s sensitive to even one flea so he’s good for me.
I have probably the smallest Lab I've ever seen - she's 20 inches at the shoulder and 45 pounds soaking wet. That AKC hunt test we went to there were probably 250 dogs, and any Lab there could have given her 20 pounds or more. A friend of mine keeps trying to buy a small Lab, but all his dogs just grow like weeds - the smallest one is 95 pounds!
Aren’t the paws supposed to help you tell their adult size?
My vet says that the best indication is to look at the wrist joint just above the front paws. The larger that joint, the larger the dog will be full grown. Apparently that joint does not change in size very much from a pup to a full grown dog.
You can sort of see it in this series:
Just under one year
18 months. Here she's clearly got her full growth and will only fill out a little. You can see that her wrist joints were never "knobby" and even as a puppy were only slightly larger in proportion to the leg than they are when she is full grown.
And that tallies with her being a smallish (65 pound) Lab. That's the bottom of the range of the standard. My Chocolate is way undersized (her wrist joints were always small, too).
Shelley at about 16 weeks
Love the pix! Especially just under a year, surrounded by something she shredded! LOL!
Something about Kleenex she really likes. When nobody's looking, she will gallop upstairs to our bedroom, leap on the middle of the bed, and tear the Kleenex box limb from limb and chew up all the pieces.
We put a hard plastic box over the Kleenex, and that stopped the wholesale destruction. She can only pull them out the top one at a time and make small amounts of confetti!
I gotta argue with putting Bassets on the dumb dog list.
For a while, we had our dogs confined to part of the house by using one of those wireless fence systems. (The antennae wire was under the floor.) Our Basset, Bear, learned the first time that the collar meant business when the fast beeping started. (It took our Lab a few jolts to get that concept.) But Bear also learned that the slow beeps were merely a warning. Furthermore, he learned that the collar would issue that warning beep at the end of the hallway. So, Bear would sit at the end of the hall at 6AM with the collar beeping to wake us up. He used that collar as a pager.
I believe you are spot on in your analysis and comparison. Hunt Tests are pass fail and Field Trials are Beauty Contests. I never did any AKC events because they were too far away, with the exception of my CGC all my titles were from the UKC. I don't remember the Blinds for HRCH being only 75 yards, I thought they were 100 yards...shorter for water. But it's been 12 years since I was running the circuit so I may be wrong.
We have a point of agreement.
I forgot about the triples, too! There was actually a quad in a Finished test last year . . . . my dog has a good memory, but I don't know if she could do that.
We were really excited about the Grand, and the whole club joined in to help. I was a banquet flunky, which meant stuffing 350 gimme bags with goodies, setting up tables and raffle prizes and the silent auction, and selling an incredible number of shirts and hats with the club logo on them! We had 3 whole tables full of shirts in all sizes, several hundred of them, and sold every last one. I was in charge of the Shirt Table, so I was very pleased with our performance. We sold the last shirt right before everybody sat down to the banquet - it was a 4X and it was hanging on the market, but a very large fellow came in and bought it and was highly pleased to get it!
So right and I challange Aussie Cattle dogs being 10th on the smartest list. They are so smart it’s scary. They are usually one step ahead of you and can be stubborn so you have to be on your toes as they have pretty much already figured out what you are going to do or say before you do or say. LOL
I wouldn’t get right next to one and tell him he is dumb.
I know a couple that do very well on field trial. After all the poodle is a water dog.
Well, they’re too dumb to know that I was talking to them, but I get your point, yea they’re mean too.
LOL Have you ever thought they don’t want to talk to you?
Look up Charles Eisemann. I think that is his name. He was GSD trainer that was remarkable.
i don’t agree that border collies r the smartest. my friend has a border collie/blue heeler mix and he’s a dumbass.
That is why you should have another Basenji. Our little one tricks us all the time and has a vocabulary she recognizes words such as walk, food, bone, outside, off, shmackos, dog park and shower as well as her training which was very simple to do all you have to do is to be patient. We taught her sit, down, shake, talk, over (roll over), stay and leave it. They are a lot of work but are worth it as I am sure you know! :D
I’ve only owned one Dachshund in my entire life. I’m almost 60 and had no use at all for them in the past and they did not much like me.
The female miniature part longhair Doxie I own now hated me as only a dachshund can. Took me a month and a half to become buddies with her.
She’s been with me for over two years. She is THE smartest dog I have ever owned and I have owned many dogs. Some of them were very smart, she has topped them.
Once she got over her hatred of me it was like she was trying to make it up to me for all that barking. Oh yes, she is spoiled but she has spoiled me in return. She’s spoiled but does not act it.
If i were to go by a dog intelligence guide I once had, according to it she would rate as being somewhat stupid. If my wife looks at her and says “Are you hungry” she licks her lips to answer yes. If I say that phrase she won’t respond, but if I say “Truck ride!” within seconds you will hear the scrambling of little toenails on the tile. If the wife says that she will not respond.
She knows our habits and personalities better than we do and adapts accordingly. There have been times she responded appropriately to whole sentences that had none of the keywords. To be honest I believe those occurances to be just accidents but there are times I am not so sure about that conclusion.
Before her my wife and I had sworn we would never own another dog. This dog belonged to my neighbor. They got into a divorce, the man moved out, and two weeks later she got it in her little head that I was going to be her new owner. That’s just how it turned out too.