Dogs and humans have co-existed for thousands of years. Some dog owners want simple companionship, while others want a dog to fulfill a job or a need.
Depending on what you are looking for may sway your decision on your next dog. Some people seek out intelligent dogs that are genetically designed to excel at specific tasks.
But what makes one dog breed smarter than another?
A dog’s intelligence stems from what they were bred to do. Are they built to hunt, track, protect, or herd? Do they desire human companionship, and are they eager to please?
Smart breeds are generally easier to train but require more attention and stimulation to keep them busy and out of mischief.
Below are the 16 most intelligent large dog breeds, according to the American Kennel Club.
1. Border Collie
Border Collies are in the herding group with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years and weighing between 30-55 pounds.
Border Collies are affectionate, intelligent, energetic, and developed to gather and control sheep in Scotland and England.
These smart, hardworking dogs have endless energy and are still used to herd sheep on farms today.
2. Poodle (Standard)
Poodles are in the non-sporting group with a life expectancy of 10 to 18 years and weighing between 40-70 pounds.
The Poodle is active, proud, and very smart.
The Standard Poodle is a medium to large-sized dog, and although they are known for their fancy haircuts, they are eager to please and easy to train.
Poodles can be trained to track, retrieve and they also perform well in agility sports.
3. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd Dog is in the herding group with a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years and weighing between 65-100 pounds.
German Shepherds are confident, courageous, and intelligent. These large dogs are and form close bonds with their owners, making them excellent pets.
German Shepherds are hard workers, serving in the military, assisting the police, leading the blind, and protecting property.
German Shepherds require a lot of exercise, and early socialization and training are essential to ensure good behavior.
Golden Retrievers are in the sporting group with a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years and weighing between 55-75 pounds.
Golden Retrievers are friendly, intelligent, and devoted family pets that love to spend time with their owners.
Golden Retrievers are happy, trainable, and obedient.
5. Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher is in the working group with a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years and weighing between 60-100 pounds.
Doberman Pinschers are loyal, fearless, alert, and originated in Germany during the late 19th century.
Doberman Pinschers were bred as guard dogs. This breed can be intimidating, but they can be loving, loyal pets with an instinct to protect their owners.
6. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are in the sporting group with a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years and weighing between 55-80 pounds.
Labs are friendly, active, outgoing, and one of the most popular breeds in America, charming people with their intelligence and loyalty.
Labradors are gundogs and bred to locate and retrieve game shot down by hunters. They are very trainable and eager to please.
Rottweilers are in the working group with a life expectancy of 9 to 10 years and weighing between 80-135 pounds.
Rottweilers are loyal, loving, confident, and are large, and muscular. They have a natural protective instinct.
These dogs are tough, but they make great pets if appropriately trained and exercised.
8. Belgian Tervuren
Belgian Tervurens are in the herding group with a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years and weighing between 45-75 pounds.
Belgian Tervurens are courageous, alert, and intelligent working dogs that rarely get tired.
Bred to herd livestock, these dogs are mischievous and enjoy mastering any task they are presented with.
9. Belgian Sheepdog
Belgian Sheepdogs are in the herding group with a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years and weighing between 45-75 pounds.
Belgian Sheepdogs are bright, watchful, and serious-minded. Initially, the Belgian Sheepdog was just a herding dog breed, but these dogs are also used as police dogs in some parts of the world.
Belgian Sheepdogs are alert, protective, and loyal, but also sensitive and affectionate.
10. German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointers are in the sporting group with a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years and weighing between 45-70 pounds.
German Shorthaired Pointers are friendly, smart, and willing to please, making them easy to train.
They were bred for hunting in Germany in the 19th century, have a lot of prey drive, and are very active.
11. Flat-Coated Retriever
Flat-Coated Retrievers are in the sporting group with a life expectancy of 8 to 10 years and weighing between 60-70 pounds.
Flat-Coated Retrievers are cheerful, optimistic, good-humored, intelligent, and eager to please.
Flat-Coated Retrievers are easy to train but have a lot of energy. Active owners are required for this breed to thrive.
The Weimaraner is in the sporting group with a life expectancy of 10 to 13 years and weighing between 55-90 pounds.
The Weimaraner is friendly, fearless, obedient, and known for their silver-colored coats. They are also referred to as “Grey Ghost.”
Weimaraners originated in Germany and used for hunting. Weimaraners were created at the Court of Grand Duke Karl August of Weimar, where they were developed as a pointing dog for the nobility in the 19th century.
13. Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois are in the herding group with a life expectancy of 14 to 16 years and weighing between 40-80 pounds.
Belgian Malinois are large, muscular dogs that are confident and hardworking. They have a very high prey drive and need a job or active owners to be happy.
The Belgian Malinois athleticism, drive, and endurance have made them popular with law enforcement and the military.
14. Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog is in the working group with a life expectancy of 7 to 10 years and weighing between 70-115 pounds.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are good-natured, calm, and strong. These sturdy dogs were bred to work on the farms and pastures of Switzerland, herding, protecting, and guarding.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are an affectionate and sensitive breed that responds to positive training methods.
The Briard is in the herding group with a life expectancy of 12 years and weighing between 55-100 pounds.
The Briard is confident and faithful. The Briard is a French breed of a large shepherd dog known as the Berger de Brie.
Traditionally used for herding and protecting sheep, Briards are intelligent and hardworking.
Bloodhounds are in the hound group with a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years and weighing between 80-110 pounds.
Bloodhounds are friendly, independent, and inquisitive. These famous sniffer dogs have super sensitive noses designed to find people, and once they detect a scent, there is little that will get in their way.
Bloodhounds are laid back and very smart, but they can be stubborn when tracking a scent.