When choosing the best dog for your family, you may want to consider how easy your furry friend will be to train. Even if you don’t plan on teaching your dog tricks, you’ll want your canine to follow simple directions and be able to learn the rules of the house.
In his book ‘The Intelligence of Dogs,’ dog psychologist Stanley Coren examined 141 different breeds, discussing their performance and traits with dog obedience judges. He then ran tests and graded each breed on criteria such as “understanding of new commands” and “obeys first command.” From this, he was able to discern the most intelligent dogs that will generally be the easiest to train, as well as the most stubborn.
Top 5 most intelligent / easily trainable dogs
The following dogs proved the easiest to train. When given a command five or fewer times, these breeds performed the task 95% of the time or more. In both this list and the one below, we’ve color coded the breeds that are also good with kids in green, and the most dangerous dog breeds for kids in red. (Those in black fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum in terms of kid-friendliness.)
Most easily trainable dogs:
- Border Collie
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
- Doberman Pinscher
The bottom 5 most difficult dogs to train
Although these breeds may have many other astounding qualities, they tend to be rather stubborn in the following commands department. Their trainability and desire to please ranked the lowest of the 141 breeds studied. These dogs may take as many as 80 to 100 trials to learn a new command, and even then they obeyed the command a measly 25% of the time or less.
Most stubborn dogs:
- Chow chow
- Afghan Hound