My family has raised several Golden Retrievers over the past 25 years and I would say they are very very smart dogs - they learn things instantly and you find them doing and thinking of things you wouldn’t expect. They have surprised me many times and made me wonder who is the “master” in the relationship...... :^) I wouldn’t ding labs for all-around loveability, adorability and fun, but the ones I’ve been around (quite a bit, for years at a time) did not seem nearly as clever.
Not a scientific sample to be sure, and I love labs, they’re wonderful doggies..... but I’m not at all surprised to see Golden Retrievers listed in the top 4.
We’ve had golden retrievers, a black lab, and a Welsh Corgi.
The first golden, when she was less than a year old was walking with us on a golf course at night when we dropped a flashlight. My wife, who had trained her, said, “Go find the toy!” In one minute, she was back with the flashlight and dropped it at our feet.
The second golden, was trained as a service dog, trained to scent and is exceptionally smart. He got a bottle of water and drank it by unscrewing the top. My son couldn’t believe it, and recorded it in video on his cell phone.
The black lab was also trained as a service dog. If he drops a toy or stick during our walks, he’ll go back a get it. He comes from a line of Master Hunters.
The Corgi just herds them all. She is dominant, even though she is 26 pounds and the lab is almost 90.