A well-trained pup can provide endless companionship, loyalty, and unconditional love. The most obedient breeds can be counted on to obey the commands of their owners and are prized for this ability. Our list of the top five most obedient dog breeds includes all the well-behaved pups that are well-inclined to be fast learners.
Some dog breeds even seem to exhibit a talent for following directions and mimicking behaviors as early as the puppy stage. New research out of Hungary finds that puppies instinctively imitate human actions, even without any training or a food reward. Puppies could copy someone’s behavior for a number of reasons, according to study authors from Eötvös Loránd University. They may imitate what people do as a way of navigating new situations. They could also mimic others to learn new skills or information. An alternative explanation is that imitation breeds flattery. Impersonating another creature could be an evolutionary tactic to get into someone’s good graces and up their social standing.
It usually doesn’t take long for a dog taken in by a family or individual to form a connection with his or her new caretakers. While some dogs certainly take longer than others, most begin to pick up on gestures, cues, and commands from their owners relatively quickly. It’s generally assumed that these obedient traits must first be instilled in the dog through training, at least to some degree, but a new study conducted in India finds that even stray dogs understand and respond to human gestures. These findings suggest that dogs are born with an innate connection to humans that goes beyond stringent puppy training programs or learned commands.
After thousands of years of developing alongside humanity, the most obedient dog breeds seem to have found their happy place among their human families. Obedient dogs are often considered good dogs, and when these eager-to-please pups receive the right training they can exhibit remarkable intellect. Let us know your favorite breeds in the comments below!
The List: Most Obedient Dog Breeds, According to Canine Experts
1. Border Collie
Border Collies dominate dog shows and dog sports because of their robust build and intellect. A well-trained and fully engaged Border Collie is capable of learning many commands. World Dog Finder raves, “Our top pick is the amazing Border Collie. They have the flattering title of the most intelligent dog breed in the world, so being obedient is a part of their nature. These dogs can perform complex tasks and commands. They are fantastic competitors in different dog sports, such as agility, obedience, or herding. All of that would be impossible if they weren’t so smart and complicit.”
Reader’s Digest praises these hounds: “These agile, intelligent dogs are practically athletes when it comes to herding and are no doubt smarter than you think. So impressive are the pups that, as the story goes, onlookers at one of the first sheepdog trials, held in Wales in 1873, were amazed by the breed’s ability to follow hand signals and whistles to gather sheep into pens.”
Wag! exclaims: “This breed is doggone talented. Not only are they one of the top herding dogs of all time, they are also incredibly intelligent. They learn new skills quickly and follow through with their assignments. Collies are also very athletic and have a lot of energy. So if they don’t get enough exercise, they can get into trouble.”
2. Standard Poodle
The Poodle is as strong and intelligent as any breed. The Goody Pet says, “Their devotion to their owners is so strong that they want nothing but to please them at all times. This is why they are always keen on following commands and mastering new tricks. If you want a dog that does very well in obedience and agility training, dog shows, and the like, a Poodle will never disappoint. And with its hypoallergenic nature, having this dog around won’t leave you sneezing!”
“In his bestselling book, ‘The Intelligence of Dogs,’ neuropsychologist Stanley Coren, PhD, focuses on trainability as a marker of intelligence… Poodle: Exceptionally smart and active. Bred to retrieve things from the water. The miniature variety may have been used for truffle hunting,” describes Fetch.
Mokai elaborates, “There are many things to take into account, and every pet-parent will make their own list of priorities, but for most families, a requirement that must be in the first part of the list is obedience… [Poodles are] Intelligent, owner devoted, and eager learners. (And, what’s more, they don’t shed!). They are obedient and very smart, so these characteristics make them highly trainable.”
3. Golden Retriever
Once again, Golden Retrievers have made the list! These famous dogs are well loved in America and are lauded by our sources. A&T Trained Dogs comments, “Golden Retrievers are a popular dog breed due to their beautiful appearance, loyal companionship and friendly characteristics. They are the ideal choice for a family dog as they socialize well with both younger and older children and are not intimidating to strangers around them. They are easy to train in obedience due to their intelligence and ability to pick up commands quickly.”
The Spruce Pets adds, “Golden retrievers are popular family pets for good reason. They’re typically very affectionate, patient, and gentle, and they have an endearing enthusiasm for life. Goldens are known for being extremely eager to please. This, combined with their intelligence, means they’re very receptive to training. They also tend to be serious foodies and will do just about anything for a treat.”
“This sweet-faced breed has a gentle, playful, and loving nature. They are great family pets and love the mental stimulation of a good training session. These pups were actually bred to be hunting dogs! Determined and strong, they respond well to training and can become obedient and well-behaved pets,” details Bully Beds.
4. Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher has a reputation as a fearsome protector and vigilant guard. These dogs are so much more than sentinels: they are also bright, obedient, and eager-to-please. Newsweek explains, “These pups are expected to listen to their owners’ commands on the first try around 95 percent of the time. That’s loyalty if we’ve ever seen it…. Obedient and loving, Doberman Pinschers are known for loyalty to their families. This makes them one of the best guard dogs out of the top 39 most obedient breeds.”
“Dobermans might look fierce, but they are as obedient as any one of the breeds on this list. They were initially bred to be guard dogs, and that wouldn’t be possible if they weren’t complicit. You might be surprised Dobermans are among the 5 most intelligent dog breeds in the world, and they can remember a new command in as little as 5 repetitions. If their owners provide them with plenty of physical and mental activity, Dobies will be happy, satisfied, and obedient,” offers World Dog Finder.
“Due to their large size, consistent training from a young age is key, ensuring they learn how to follow dog commands like ‘sit,’ ‘stay’ and ‘walk’ nicely on a leash without pulling. “The key tool for keeping your dog calm is teaching them to have great owner focus,” explains Briggs. “Owner focus does not mean forcing the dog to pay attention to us humans. It means rewarding the dog for checking in with us, no matter the situation,” states Reader’s Digest.
5. German Shepherd
This list wouldn’t be complete without German Shepherd dogs. These compliant canines are also known as Alsatian dogs in many parts of the world. The Spruce Pets claims, “The German Shepherd is another highly intelligent dog that was bred to be responsive and obedient. Thus, it’s no surprise that German Shepherds are often used by law enforcement and as service dogs. These dogs are very loyal and protective of their families. And without proper training and socialization, this can turn into aggression toward strangers.”
“Often seen in police and military work, the German Shepherd is an obedient and very responsive dog. They have a ton of energy but not as high strung as a Border Collie. Thus, it is easier to deal with them if you are inexperienced with dogs. One shining quality of the GSD is their dedication to protect their families. They are always ready to defend and protect their owner from harm, which makes them a very loyal pooch to have,” relates The Goody Pet.
Wag! adds: “Due to their high intelligence, intuition, and obedient natures, German Shepherds are often used as K-9 pawlice officers, but they don’t rise to the ranks without effort. These pups undergo extensive training to become the heroes that they are. When they are off duty, German Shepherds are incredibly loyal pups that love to be around their people.”
You might also be interested in:
- World Dog Finder
- Reader’s Digest
- The Goody Pet
- A&T Trained Dogs
- The Spruce Pets
- Bully Beds
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.