Monday, April 2, 2012

The Easiest Dog Breeds to Train

By Linda Cole

If you're willing to put in the time and commitment needed to train your dog, any canine can and will learn. However, some breeds are easier to train than others. A dog’s intelligence plays a role in training, but so does a willingness to pay attention so they can learn. Keep in mind, though, each dog is an individual and the ability to learn depends on how committed you are and the method you use to train them. All of the dog breeds on the list below are highly intelligent; it's their eagerness and ability to learn that makes them among the easiest breeds to train.

The Border Collie, as you may know, is considered at the top of the list in intelligence. He has an eagerness and need to learn as much as he can. A Border Collie’s mind is always going, and he is capable of learning so much more than most owners realize. He loves competition and excels in agility, sheepdog trials, Frisbee competitions and obedience. If you're looking for a happy, smart and energetic dog, this is a great breed –but only if you know what you're getting into. Border Collies are for owners who understand the dog's work ethic and need for lots of exercise which keeps them from developing behavior problems.

The Poodle was bred as a water dog and the traditional cut wasn't meant to be for show. The purpose of the “Poodle cut” was first done by hunters to help protect the dog's joints when he was in the water. The hair is left around the joints and specific parts of the body to protect vital organs from the cold water. The Poodle is ranked in the second spot behind the Border Collie in intelligence and does very well in obedience training as well as agility, hunting, tracking, rally, and in the show ring.

The German Shepherd is probably the most versatile working dog of all of the breeds. An athletic, loyal, and powerful dog, the GSD has the heart and intelligence to excel at a variety of jobs. They are used as seeing eye dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs, in search and rescue, mine detection, avalanche rescue, on bomb squads, drug detection, guard dogs, for herding, protection, in police work and for tracking. This dog is also exceptional at agility, Schutzhund, herding, Frisbee, obedience training, flyball and endurance.

The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dogs around. Their easy personality makes them a favorite for families, and this dog gets along well with kids and other pets in the home. Like the German Shepherd, the Golden Retriever has a variety of jobs they are well suited for; they can easily be trained as a therapy dog, guide dog, in drug detection, hunting and tracking, service dog, and as a bird dog on land and in the water. They do well in obedience and can even excel at agility.

The Doberman Pinscher is built for endurance and speed, and was developed by Louis Dobermann, a tax collector in Germany. To protect himself while on his rounds, Louis decided he needed a watchdog capable of intimidating and handling the thugs and thieves he encountered, so he created the Doberman Pinscher. This is an affectionate, loyal, tolerant and determined dog that excels in police and military work, as a watchdog, guard dog, tracking, therapy work, search and rescue, obedience and Schutzhund.

The Labrador Retriever is another one of the most popular breeds in the country. They are warm, loving, loyal, patient, eager to please and very intelligent. Like the other breeds already mentioned, Labs excel in police and military work, drug detection, as guide dogs, service dogs, search and rescue, hunting, tracking, retrieving, as watchdogs, in agility, carting, sledding, obedience and field trials.

The Rottweiler can be an intimidating dog, and he will defend the ones he loves with courage, a fierce determination and confidence. Although powerful, the Rottie is even tempered and calm. His talents include guarding, watchdog, search and rescue, guide dog, police and military dog, herding, tracking, obedience, Schutzhund, and carting.

The easiest dog breeds to train are also in the top 10 list in intelligence, but even a smart dog won't learn if you aren't committed to their training. All dogs can learn, it's just that some breeds need extra incentive and motivation from their owner. For example, Beagles rank low in intelligence but with the right motivation (which for a Beagle is something yummy like CANIDAE Tidnips treats!), this breed can be trained.

If you have trouble training your dog, find out what it is that motivates him. It's not that he can't learn what you're trying to teach him – you just haven't found what inspires him to care enough to want to learn.

Border Collie photo by Gerwin Filius
Labrador photo by Patrick Lew

Read more articles by Linda Cole


  1. Good list of the intelligent dogs. Australian Shepherds are very intelligent too. I have a Border Collie and they are very very energetic and need a job at all times. But they are really smart. Good post.

  2. My first dog as an adult was a German Shepard !!! Super super super smart!!!!!!! Years later I got Bambi and she was super smart too. She was part Whippet and part Lab. Now with my Weimaraner she is not as ready to try to do what I would like her to do. She has a mind of her own!!

  3. Why is Mom laughing so hard. We are smart dogs, we are just stubborn and don't see the point of a lot of those doggy rules:) Thanks for making MOm smile.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

  4. How about shelties??? They are clever and beautiful and I'm a good example!!! I can be trained easily and I'm willing to learn as long as treats are involved, tee hee!!!



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