Are Australian Shepherds Smart than other dog breeds?

Australian Shepherds are generally considered to be very intelligent. They even make it onto the American Kennel Club’s website as the “smartest breeds” of dogs. Although it is generally believed that Australian Shepherds have high intelligence, it is difficult to judge individual dogs’ intelligence.

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Many dog breeds are considered highly intelligent and have outperformed the Australian Shepherd on several breed intelligence lists. Poodle, Border Collie, and German Shepherd are the top three most intelligent dog breeds.

Australian Shepherds are intelligent dogs. Stanley Coren says they are the 42nd most intelligent dog breed in obedience and working intelligence. Their natural ability to herd is what makes them so intelligent. Australian Shepherds possess a unique type of intelligence, allowing them to guide and push sheep in the right direction instinctively.

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Standardizing Dog Intelligence

Stanley Coren used two very precise criteria to conduct his intelligence test. The first was how fast a dog learns a new command. The second was how likely the dog would obey the command the first time they tried.

What is the problem with this test? Different dog breeds and dogs have different motivations. Some dogs respond better when their owners are present. Some dogs are more responsive to food than others, while others prefer playing with their favorite toys.

This is why a standard test that uses Coren’s criteria could skew results. His “intelligence test” is more like obedience testing.

Just because an Australian Shepherd doesn’t obey you the first time doesn’t mean they don’t understand your words. Aussies are not as willing to please as other breeds of dogs.


How intelligent are Australian Shepherds?

Australian shepherds are one of the most intelligent dog breeds. They can follow orders, solve problems, and love to please. Also, they can learn a variety of commands quickly and can be taught many. They enjoy solving puzzles, which make use of their problem-solving skills.



Why Australian Shepherds are Smart

We’ve discussed obedience and working intelligence so far. Stanley Coren says that there is more to dog intelligence than this.

Coren suggests that there are three dimensions to dog intelligence. These are adaptive and instinctive intelligence.

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Herding Instinct

Australian shepherds are strong herders and, therefore quick learners. Australian shepherds can guard a property’s perimeter, herd livestock, and pick up toys. Because they can be trained in complicated search scenarios, they have been extensively used for rescue and search operations.


The problem-solving abilities of Australian shepherds are well-known. Also, they can think quickly and figure out how to accomplish a task quickly. An Australian Shepherd will often repeat a task if it has been presented to them five times. They also have a high success rate if given a task once.



Guarding Instinct

Australian shepherds have strong instincts for protecting their property. Moreover, they are loyal and protective of their property and family. Australian shepherds are great companion dogs. They can also be trained to guard homes and businesses.

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They Want To Please

Australian shepherds are driven to please their families. They are rapid learners and can be obeyed when given commands. They are loyal and protective of their owners’ territory.



Is it challenging to train Australian Shepherds?

Australian Shepherds can be trained to be highly intelligent dogs. They are energetic and alert because of their past as watchdogs and herding dogs. Australian Shepherds are also active and want to be busy. Training is a great way to develop their fine brains and learn new tricks.

Australian Shepherds can become destructive if they are not stimulated mentally and physically enough. Therefore, it is essential to set boundaries and exercise them frequently for your Aussie’s well-being and that of your couch.

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Top 10 most intelligent dog breeds

While there are many smart dogs, some breeds are known for being exceptionally intelligent. Word comprehension, problem-solving abilities, responsiveness to training and communication skills (with humans or other animals), memory and the ability to predict human behavior are some factors that determine a dog’s intelligence. These are the essential categories for intelligent dog breeds.

High-energy dogs are also a common breed among smart dogs. In fact,  to keep them from becoming bored, they need mental and physical stimulation. They might create their own entertainment activities, which may not be ideal. Also, these dogs are great service dogs and working dogs. They can be trained quickly. They love a job that requires them to use their brains.

  • Border Collie
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Poodle
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Papillon
  • Rottweiler
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Golden Retriever



Avoid certain breeds

These breeds are not dumb. Also, there are certain dog breeds that you should avoid if you expect your dog to be able to do complex tricks or perform well in a job. These breeds can be difficult to train, or they may have a stubborn streak that is independent and stubborn. Pekingese and the Afghan hound are two breeds that can be difficult to train. The basenji, borzoi, and Shiba Inu are all more independent and detached.


I’m a long-time animal lover and owner of two dogs and three cats. I grew up on a farm where we had all sorts of animals, from cows and horses to pigs and chickens. My love for animals led me to pursue a career in writing about them. I have been a pet care writer for over 5 years and have extensive knowledge of animal care, health, and behavior.

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