Smaller, clever dog breeds can appeal to potential owners who want a quick-learning dog that is manageable in size.
Mary Burch, director of the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) family dog program, warns that judging a dog’s intelligence out of context can be a little unfair.
She told Newsweek, “All races are created for a specific function and intelligence is related to that function.
“Sometimes people look at dogs to see which breeds do best in obedience competitions and conclude that the dogs with the highest scores (as a breed) are the most intelligent.
“Years ago, one author concluded that the Afghan Hound is the least intelligent breed and this was based on obedience ratings. In fact, Afghans who are greyhounds are intelligent when the task is related to their strengths.
“One TV show showed a Basset Hound who wasn’t interested in playing a game in a park – the conclusion was that Bassets are not very smart.
“Bassets are scented dogs, and if a child gets lost in the woods, bring a basset who has been trained to follow the trail – they will have intelligence in natural form.”
Burch added that owning a smart dog can have advantages and disadvantages.
She said, “One of the advantages of owning a breed that is considered ‘intelligent’ is that these are usually breeds that enjoy learning and activities with you.
“They can do obedience, rally, agility, scent work, and numerous other canine sports.
“One disadvantage of owning an intelligent breed is that these active-minded dogs can thwart an owner by asking for frequent activity and rethinking the dog owner.”
Below, Newsweek rounds up the smartest of the American Kennel Club’s small dog breeds.
Miniature poodles are an excellent choice for those who want a smaller breed, 15 inches or smaller in size
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Miniature poodles are an excellent choice for those who want a smaller breed that is 15 inches or smaller.
These adorable poodles are considered a smart and easy-to-train breed of dog.
To successfully train a poodle, owners must obey their orders.
The Miniature Poodle breed often excels in a variety of dog sports, including obedience, tracking, agility, and dock diving, which makes them excellent water retrievers.
The Miniature Poodle is a great option for those who love this particular breed but don’t have enough space for the full version
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The Miniature Poodle is another great option for those who love this particular breed but don’t have enough space for the full version.
At only 10 inches in size, it also has the same properties as the other types of poodle.
As a result, this small breed of dog is easy to train if the owners consistently obey their commands.
Miniature poodles excel in many dog sports, and participating in them is a great way to strengthen your bond with one another.
Papillons are a small breed of dog that are pretty, intelligent, and eager to please
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Papillons are a small breed of dog that are pretty, intelligent, and eager to please.
They are believed to be easier to train compared to other smaller breeds, with their love of learning making them great trick dogs.
The Papillon, like many dog breeds, benefits from obedience classes and early socialization.
Miniature American Shepherd
The Miniature American Shepherd is a very trainable breed who will excel once they learn basic commands of obedience
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The Miniature American Shepherd is a very trainable breed who will excel once they learn basic commands of obedience.
However, early socialization and puppy training courses are recommended for new owners to ensure that their pup grows up into a well-behaved companion.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a breed that is considered friendly and quick to learn
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The Miniature Schnauzer is a breed that is both friendly and quick to learn.
These dogs are highly intelligent, so it is especially important that the training is fun by teaching them new commands and tricks so they don’t get bored.
Miniature Schnauzers also excel in various canine sports, from obedience, rally, agility, rally, to name a few.
The fox-faced Pomeranian toy dog is a smart breed that benefits from consistent training
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This fox-faced dog breed is of the Spitz type and has a lush double coat.
The Pomeranian is a smart breed that benefits from consistent training while excelling in numerous canine activities such as obedience, rallying, and agility.
Shetland Sheepdogs are very active and trainable dogs that were created as watchdogs for farmers
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Shelties are very active and trainable dogs that were created as watchdogs for farmers.
You excel at canine sports, especially agility, and both dog and owner will benefit from obedience classes.
Since these are herding dogs, Shetland Sheepdogs especially like to hunt anything that moves, which potential owners should definitely be aware of.
The Schipperke is a small but energetic dog who is also very independent
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The Schipperke, whose name translates as “little skipper” or “little boatswain”, is a small but energetic dog who is also very independent.
Consistent training with this intelligent breed is key to developing a strong bond between these dogs and their owners.
As a result, Schipperkes’ entry into canine sports such as obedience and agility will greatly benefit them.
The Havanese Cuban breed is highly intelligent and eager to please their owners
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This Cuban breed is highly intelligent and eager to please its owners.
The Havanese benefit from gentle and patient training as well as early socialization with other dogs and people.
Sticking to positive training practices will result in these dogs transforming into obedient and people-centered companions.
New owners can face a real challenge when training a Border Terrier as the instinct of these little bundles of energy is to chase anything that moves
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New owners can face a real challenge when training a Border Terrier as the instinct of these little bundles of energy is to chase anything that moves.
Consistent training and early socialization in puppy training courses will therefore be of great benefit to these small, wire-haired terriers.
Brussels Griffons are a very intelligent breed that likes to bond with their owners
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These former Belgian street dogs are a very intelligent breed that loves to bond with their owners.
This consequently makes Brussels Griffons very easy to train and they perform well in canine sports such as agility, tracking and obedience.
Bichon Frize dogs are smart and easy to train using positive techniques
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Known for their fluffy, snow-white coats, these eye-catching little dogs are intelligent and easy to train using positive techniques.
It can also prove to be a huge benefit to socialize them when Bichon Frises are puppies and enroll them in puppy training classes.
This little breed loves to learn new tricks and absorbs such information with ease.
Boston Terriers are highly intelligent and enjoy bonding with their owners
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This friendly breed adapts well to both city and country life with its short, angular muzzle and erect ears.
The Boston Terrier is also very intelligent and enjoys working with and pleasing its owners.
Therefore, registering this breed for a flyball class, agility, obedience, and rally can be an excellent way to create a lasting bond with them.
This small breed of dog is also very eager to please, which makes Boston Terriers a relatively easy dog to train.
You can benefit from early socialization with other people, places, and dogs.
Cocker Spaniels are considered to be cannibals who want to make their owners happy
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This family-friendly breed of a compactly built sports dog is considered a human favorite who wants to make its owners happy.
This should mean that your Cocker Spaniel will be easy to train and consequently this breed will excel in competitive dog sports.
As with most other breeds, the Cocker Spaniel will benefit from early socialization and participation in puppy training classes.
Toy fox terrier
The Toy Fox Terrier is a breeze to train because of the combination of intelligence and extraversion
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This lovable muscular lap dog is a breeze because of the combination of intelligence and extraversion.
Toy Fox Terriers are versatile enough for dog sports, as a companion on all kinds of excursions or simply as a lovable perennial favorite on the family couch.