Top 5 Smartest Small Dog Breeds

Top 5 Smartest Small Dog Breeds


Smartest Small Dog Breeds. Are you looking for a small and intelligent companion? Well, look no further! In this article, we will explore the world of smart small dog breeds. These pint-sized pups may be small in stature, but they pack a whole lot of brainpower. If you’re in search of a clever and quick-witted canine companion, this article is for you.

Smartest Small Dog Breeds

Smartest Small Dog Breeds

What Makes a Small Dog Breed Smart?

Before diving into our list of the smartest small dog breeds, it’s important to understand what makes a dog breed intelligent. Intelligence in dogs can be measured by various factors, including trainability, problem-solving abilities, and overall adaptability. While larger breeds are often associated with intelligence, small dog breeds can be equally as clever and quick-witted.

Small dog breeds exhibit intelligence in different ways. They may excel in obedience training, possess high problem-solving skills, or display exceptional agility and quick learning abilities. Despite their small size, these dogs are far from being “dumb” or lacking in intelligence. They can surprise you with their cognitive abilities and eagerness to learn.

Top 5 Smartest Small Dog Breeds

Without further ado, let’s unveil the top 5 smartest small dog breeds that will leave you impressed with their brainpower and charm.

1. Border Terrier

Don’t let their adorable appearance fool you—Border Terriers are known for their sharp intelligence and problem-solving skills. These small but mighty dogs are quick learners and excel in various activities. Whether it’s learning new tricks or tackling agility courses, the Border Terrier will impress you with its intelligence and adaptability. Keep in mind that this breed thrives on mental stimulation, so be prepared to provide plenty of interactive play and challenging tasks.

2. Papillon

The Papillon, with its butterfly-like ears, is not only visually captivating but also incredibly intelligent. This small dog breed is highly trainable and possesses a natural agility that allows them to excel in activities such as obedience, flyball, and even canine sports like agility and rally. Their intelligence is matched by their eagerness to please, making them an ideal choice for those seeking a smart and obedient companion.

3. Poodle

Poodles are renowned for their intelligence and versatility. Whether in their standard, miniature, or toy size, Poodles consistently rank among the smartest dog breeds. They are quick learners and highly adaptable to different training techniques. In addition to their intelligence, Poodles are known for their hypoallergenic coat, making them an excellent choice for those with allergies. These dogs thrive on mental challenges, so providing them with stimulating activities and regular training sessions is essential.

Smartest Small Dog Breeds

Smartest Small Dog Breeds

4. Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdogs, often referred to as Shelties, are not only beautiful but also incredibly intelligent. Bred for herding, these small dogs possess a strong instinctual intelligence that enables them to excel in obedience training. Shelties are quick to learn commands and possess problem-solving skills that can impress even the most discerning dog owner. Their loyalty and responsiveness to training make them an excellent choice for families seeking a smart and devoted companion.

5. Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier may be small in size, but their intelligence is anything but small. These feisty and independent thinkers are known for their resourcefulness and ability to make decisions. Cairn Terriers are quick learners and require mental stimulation to keep their minds engaged. Their playful nature, combined with their intelligence, makes them an entertaining and clever addition to any household.

Choosing the Right Smart Small Dog Breed

Now that you have a glimpse of the smartest small dog breeds, it’s important to consider a few factors when choosing the right one for you. Factors such as your lifestyle, activity level, and compatibility with the breed’s characteristics should be taken into account. Remember that each breed has its unique traits, and finding the perfect match between your lifestyle and the breed’s intelligence is crucial for successful companionship.

Tips for Training Smart Small Dog Breeds

Training smart small dog breeds requires some specialized techniques to ensure their full potential is reached. Here are some valuable tips to help you train your intelligent small dog breed effectively:

  1. Positive Reinforcement is Key. Intelligent small dog breeds respond exceptionally well to positive reinforcement. Use treats, praise, and rewards to motivate and encourage desired behaviors. Make training sessions fun and engaging for your furry friend.
  2. Consistency is Crucial. Consistency is vital in training any dog, but it holds even more significance with smart small breeds. Set clear rules and expectations, and ensure everyone in the household follows them consistently. This consistency helps your dog understand what is expected of them and promotes faster learning.
  3. Mental Stimulation is a Must. Intelligent breeds thrive on mental challenges. Incorporate interactive toys, puzzle games, and obedience exercises into their daily routine. These activities engage their minds, prevent boredom, and channel their intelligence into productive outlets.
  4. Short, Frequent Training Sessions. Instead of long training sessions, opt for short, frequent sessions. Intelligent small dog breeds can quickly become bored or lose focus. Keep training sessions engaging and limit them to around 10 to 15 minutes at a time. This way, your dog remains attentive and receptive to learning.
  5. Socialize Early and Often. Socialization is essential for all dog breeds, including intelligent small ones. Expose your dog to different people, animals, environments, and experiences from an early age. This exposure helps develop their social skills, confidence, and adaptability.

Remember, training should be a positive and enjoyable experience for both you and your furry friend. Patience, consistency, and a sense of humor go a long way when working with intelligent small dog breeds.


Smart small dog breeds bring a delightful combination of intelligence, charm, and companionship to your life. From the Border Terrier’s problem-solving skills to the Papillon’s agility and the Poodle’s versatility, these breeds prove that size has no impact on intelligence. By choosing a smart small dog breed and providing them with proper training, mental stimulation, and socialization, you’ll have a lifelong companion that impresses you with their intelligence and enriches your life in countless ways.

Now it’s time to embark on an exciting journey of finding the perfect smart small dog breed that matches your lifestyle and preferences. Embrace the joy and intelligence these pint-sized companions bring into your life, and experience the wonderful bond that forms between you and your furry friend.


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