Most Trainable Dogs: Top 5 Obedient Breeds, According To Canine Experts

For dog lovers, nothing beats the adoration of a faithful canine cohort. The bond that some people are able to develop with their pets can allow dogs to grow into highly trained and capable pups. From simple tricks and commands to life saving service training, our list of the top five most trainable dog breeds highlights some truly smart dogs.

Ever wonder why dogs love us so much? It’s in their blood, literally. Researchers have found a genetic difference between dogs and wolves that explains why man’s best friend is so full of love. Thousands of years ago, early humans tried to feed wild wolves to use them to hunt and for protection. Some of the wolves took the free food and became the ancestors of domesticated dogs. The wolves that spurned early humans’ food stayed wild.

Dogs undoubtedly have a positive impact on the lives of their owners, but studies also indicate that they may be beneficial for neighborhoods has well.  Researchers from Ohio State University have found that neighborhoods which are home to more dogs also experience less crime — including murder and assault. Researchers say you don’t have to have an actual “watchdog” to keep your streets safe. Their results suggest that more people walking their dogs puts more “eyes on the street,” which discourages criminals from committing both violent and non-violent crimes.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) registry currently lists 200 recognized breeds. To narrow it down, we turned to expert sources to learn about the top five most trainable dog breeds. Each of the canines on our list show that when it comes to training dogs, owners get out what they put in. The time and dedication that it takes to train a pet can result in numerous physical and mental health benefits. Let us know your favorite doggies in the comments below!

long-coated black and white dog during daytime
Border Collie (Photo by Baptist Standaert on Unsplash)

The List: Most Trainable Dog Breeds, According to Experts

1. Border Collie

Border Collie owners will attest that these bright dogs can be smart and personable. “Originally from Scotland and England, this breed is also energetic, enabling it to handle any kind of training. The Border Collie’s abilities include problem solving and quick adoption of tricks and commands. Smart dog breeds like the Border Collie are known to grasp a command after an average of only 5 repetitions and obey it with up to 95% accuracy,” expounds Top Dog Tips.

black and white border collie
Border Collie (Photo by Will Gardiner on Unsplash)

“The Border Collie is famous for its herding and agility talents — many breed enthusiasts consider this dog the best herder in the animal world. Its bi-colored coat most often comes in black and white, but other colors also exist, and with a smooth (short) or rough (long) texture. Because of its high intelligence and never-ending energy, frequent exercise and mental stimulation is a must for this breed,” adds Hepper Blog.

“The Border Collie is a whip-smart workaholic. They learn remarkably fast, and you might find them looking at you as if to say, ‘Is that all you wanted?’ Sharpen your skills to keep up with this highly trainable breed,” posits AKC.

2. German Shepherd

German Shepherds are recognized as a strong breed for commands and working. “This extraordinary dog is number one on our list. While perhaps lacking the sheer brilliance and problem-solving ability of the Border Collie or cleverness of the Poodle, the German Shepherd Dog has no peer in versatility. No other breed is a herding dog, drug dog, attack dog, guide dog for the blind, and movie star. Where is the Poodle or Border Collie equivalent of Rin Tin Tin? You don’t see Poodles herding sheep or Border Collies guarding military installations. The German Shepherd is a shining star, combining steadiness of temper, firmness of purpose, and unswerving loyalty,” according to Nylabone.

black and tan german shepherd on green grass field during daytime
German Shepherd (Photo by Anna Dudkova on Unsplash)

“It’s no wonder the German Shepherd is the top pick for police, military, guide dogs and other service requirements. Their high intelligence, steady temperament and sheer loyalty makes this breed is easy to train and determined to learn,” writes KVH.

“These canine wonders are often used by the military and police because they’re super, trainable, athletic, loyal, courageous, and the list goes on. German Shepherds also make great family dogs,” explains Dog Gone Fun.

3. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever are an especially well-loved breed in America. “Golden retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds because they are affectionate, fiercely loyal, and easy to train. One reason why they are one of the most trainable dog breeds is because they have been bred to please people. Originally, the golden retriever dog breed was a hunting dog and strived to be the best human companion to their owners while out on the hunt. Today, most golden retrievers can be found at the park or in the backyard more often than on the hunting ground, but this passion to please their owners is still there. Their sunny disposition and loyal nature makes them a great family dog,” writes PetLabCo.

adult brown Golden retriever with Star & Stripes scarf lying on green grass
Golden Retriever (Photo by Martin Castro on Unsplash)

“Golden Retrievers have for a long time been among the most popular dog breeds of all time, and this is largely due to their high intelligence. They are very easy to train both in terms of basic obedience and special skills. Golden retrievers are also fantastic starter pets if you want the perfect combination of an affectionate, gentle dog with a fun and goofy side. There will never be a dull moment in that home,” adds The Goody Pet.

“Although he’s better at pure obedience work, the Golden lags a bit in real world field trialing and hunting events. But for everyday smarts and excellent social skills, we’d put the Golden on top,” writes Nylabone

4. Standard Poodle

Some people might automatically think of toy poodles as a great pet while forgetting that the standard poodle is an amazing breed. “Poodles are known for their curly hair and regal demeanor. But don’t let their good looks fool you. This breed is far mor than just eye candy. They also happen to be incredibly smart. And underneath that wooly fur is a very athletic dog. And speaking of fur, the poodle’s fur is hypoallergenic, so people with allergies who are looking for a very trainable dog have found their match,” exclaims Pet Insurance Review.

brown curly coated dog on brown textile
Brown poodle (Photo by Bianca Ackermann on Unsplash)

“Poodles are also extremely intelligent, and they’re eager to try almost anything, as long as it’s with their human. Poodles make excellent service dogs, agility dogs, and they also win lots of ribbons in the obedience ring. Since Poodles were originally bred as water retrievers, they’ll probably love Dock Diving as well. If you’re looking for a versatile and trainable new pup, definitely consider the Poodle. They’ll defy your expectations, again and again,” writes tevrapet.

“The poodle comes in second among the smartest dog breeds around, courtesy of its intelligence and ability to learn commands and habits quickly. Their popular looks and their owners’ tendency to groom these dogs to the extreme overshadows the poodle’s intelligence,” states Top Dog Tips.

5. Labrador Retriever

Retrievers are so-named because of their lineage history as hunting, fishing, and birding hounds. This breed craves human interaction and can display remarkable intelligence and personality. “Like golden retrievers, labs are a popular family dog because they are one of the most trainable dog breeds. They were also bred to help with duck hunting and still have those loyal, active characteristics. They enjoy being active and doing tricks for their humans, such as swimming to retrieve toys!” raves PetLabCo.

brown short coated dog sitting on gray carpet
Brown lab (Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash)

“As America’s most popular dog breed, the Labrador Retriever is a household name. While it’s most famous for its unfaltering loyalty and retrieving abilities, the breed is also very receptive to training. Maintaining control over this breed’s outgoing personality can be a challenge, but as long as your Labrador is made to feel like part of the family, it will respond well to obedience training,” adds Hepper Blog.

“Another extremely popular dog, this gentle and versatile hunting breed is also a fast learner. Labrador Retrievers‘ outgoing nature and eager-to-please personality make them a preferred breed for service work,” claims AKC.

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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.


  1. Talking about Rin Tin Tin, my father was able to take one of her puppies (4 litters down or so). She passed away around 1964 when I was 3 y/o

      1. 💯 I have two 8mo old puppies right now…Prior, we had a blue for 14 years. She had our heart. Really heartbreaking to lose a heeler. Brilliant dogs in training.

  2. Have had our border collie Misty for 8 years now and she is whip smart and loyal. When we got her at 6 months old, I took her around our 5 acre property and told her where she could and couldn’t go and she has never gone off the property since! I swear she is smarter than us sometimes. She loves when our grandchildren come over to go swimming. It’s her “job” to guard them while they are in the pool. She will run around the pool for hours and hours watching them to make sure they are safe. Best dog ever!

    1. Border Collies are one of, if not the smartest in the working dog class. We went with heelers however. Once a heeler lover, always a heeler lover. Lol

  3. How can you not live a Lab. My wife gave me a wedding present of a chocolate many years ago. I don’t have a military installation or sheep to herd but she guarded my family and house, herded my toddler twins away from the street and was the best darn hunting dog I’ve ever seen. I still cry over her.

    1. Absolutely!! How an Aussie can be left off the list is nothing short of Amazing!! Owned three over a period of 22 years!

    2. Yes! What’s up with that? Aussie are usually placed 2 behind Border Collies. I’ve always had Aussies and they are very intelligent dogs. And not quite as energetic as borders. Do not take long to train, instinctively pick up on the families vibe and will know when someone is sad, hurt, happy or angry, or in danger and respond appropriately! Very loyal!

    1. I also noticed that the article didn’t mention Dutch Shepherds. You are absolutely right Belgian Malinions are whip smart and incredible dogs! I have a Dutch Shepherd and he’s absolutely amazing!

      1. At a mear 2 weeks old I decided to bring my Mini Belgian Malinois Runt home as the owner of the remaining litter of 8 had told me she was just going to throw them outside in 22° weather in a chain link dog pen because she’s a selfish poor excuse for a human and that’s just a little paragraph yet sad to say all 8 other pups contracted parvo and died.. I have the only serviving puppy, she just turned 1 and I haven’t told her yet that I’ll be building her an agility course this spring and of course she has no idea that she can fly yet either ;)… I Named her Takelma which means walks along the waters edge and I LOVE LOVE LOVE her!!!

  4. I think the Australian Shepherd needs to be included here. They are as smart as the Border Collie

  5. Why is there such a concerted effort to ignore or downplay the talents of the Belgian Malinois?

    1. 💯 I have two 8mo old puppies right now…Prior, we had a blue for 14 years. She had our heart. Really heartbreaking to lose a heeler. Brilliant dogs in training.

    1. I raised vizslas and when my first Tessa was brought home , a little early at 6 weeks by seven weeks she could sit , lie down , stay shake and speak by word or hand signals . She could follow directions to go up the stairs go to a certain bedroom where the kids were , come, stay she was just brilliant . She came and found me and pulled me to her whelping box right before delivery .. Jake was given to me by my vet when he found him being mistreated and then I was given a pair later on someone moving out of state .
      I sold one to a Russian immigrant who always dreamed of owning one and her father in Russia cried when he heard she had found one … I sold one from my home state if Texas to Vermont and they waited 2 and a half years later for one from my second and last litter …she was so smart they said …every neighborhood loved her they said .
      She was first in my local obedience class.
      People are just flat missing out . They are close ranging retrievers , staying far closer and watching than a golden or lab . . I miss her and Jake every day …One thing , they are fiercely bred bird dogs and clever fence climbers . don’t expect to raise chickens around them ..

  6. We’re one out 10th dog over a 50 year period from West highland terriers to Saint Bernard and the best by far was a German Shepard stray who walked into a building I was working in and started barking at me.i opened my van door and he jumped in and I took him home. After looking for a owner I had him for 10 years no training walked along side me unleashed listened to everything I said and was a quite guard of our home. I’d get another if I was 30 years younger but at 72 they’re a bit too much dog for me.

  7. No Doberman? They are extremely intelligent and can learn new commands after just a few times during training. Scary looking with their stance but well socialized with people and other animals they are big babies. Would never home another breed of dog.

    1. My Doberman was smart for herself but not too smart for me. I loved her to bits though. When she wanted something she would figure out a way to get it but training, well she just wasn’t all too interested.

  8. I’m shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, that Jack Russell Terriers are not the #1 most trainable breed, followed by Beagles and Jackabees† in a dead heat for 2nd & 3rd!

    †Technically not a recognized breed because they’re too willful to stop trading behavioral secrets with cats.

  9. I’m always surprised that you always miss the most incredible breed of all the Australian Kelpie. That have energy that is endless, are incredibly intelligent, avid learners and loyal as 10 men. Please don’t forget these guys in your lists. They are one of the most sought after dogs on the pla et for farmers and a beautiful Velcro dog that loves with no limits.

  10. Have an awesome very trainable Aussie presently. Years ago had a Belgian gronendael. He was smarter than some people I know, You could teach him something new in 5 minutes and he would always remember it

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