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Study reveals the smartest dog breed, is your good boy on the list?
The Good Stuff
The Good Stuff

Study reveals the smartest dog breed, is your good boy on the list?

Scientists studied 13 breeds over 10 tasks to find out who was the smartest
20 January 2023 2:21PM

We Kiwis get pretty proud of our four-legged friends.
Well, now a study has come out claiming to know just what breed is the smartest! 

The study consisted of assessing 1,000 dogs of 13 different breeds and giving them 10 tasks to complete. 

The breeds taking part in the study were:
- Australian kelpie
- Australian Shepherd
- Belgian Malinois
- Border Collie
- English Cocker Spaniel
- Finnish Lapphund
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
- Hovawart
- Labrador Retriever
- Mixed Breed
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Spanish Water Dog

The dogs’ were all tested on their capacity to comprehend human gestures, their ability to detour around a transparent V-shaped fence for a food reward, and how soon they sought human assistance when they had an impossible task like trying to get food out of a sealed box. 

The dogs were awarded points based on how well they completed a task, with a maximum of 39 points. 

Coming in third with 25 points was the German breed, Hovawart

#3 Hovawart

Originating in Germany as a guard dog, the Hovawart dog breed is now a common family pet. They also have a strong presence as working dogs in search & rescue as well as security dogs.

#2 Border collies

Border Collies were developed to herd and control sheep in the territory between Scotland and England. They have boundless energy, stamina, and working drive, making them the ideal herding dog.

Through all of the tests, they established that the Belgian malinois was the most intelligent dog breed, coming in with 35 points.

#1 Belgian Malinois

While they were initially bred to be herding dogs, the Belgian Malinois is now widely used as a police and military dog, guard dog, and family pet.

The Belgian malinois stood out in many of the cognitive tasks, having very good results in a majority of the tests.

Dr Katriina Tiira, University of Helsinki, Finland

And if your breed didn't rank in the top three, they’re still a smart cookie, just maybe in different areas...

 Most breeds had their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, the Labrador retriever was very good at reading human gestures, but not so good at spatial problem-solving. Some breeds, such as the Shetland sheepdog, scored quite evenly in almost all tests.

Saara Junttila, Study co-author and PhD researcher in canine cognition at the University of Helsinki