What is the Smartest Doodle Breed? Clever Poodle Mixes Explored

As people, we can partake in a plethora of tests and techniques to establish just how intelligent we are. We can even have our intelligence measured with an IQ score. What about dogs though, are there ways to determine what makes a dog smarter than the average bear? Whilst we are sure that you are sure your Doodle is the smartest breed known to man is there really one Doodle breed that’s smarter than any other? Sit back and enjoy finding out which Doodle is the top dog.

The Border Collie and the Poodle rank at #1 & #2 in the list of most intelligent dogs. It follows that their offspring, the Bordoodle, takes top spot as the smartest Doodle. Other intelligent Doodles who are strong contenders for the title including the Goldendoodle, Shepadoodle, Labradoodle and the Rottle.

Doodles have Poodle genes in them, so they were never destined to be foolish. We aim to discover what makes some Doodles smarter than others, whether dogs can be trained to be smarter and if there really such a thing as an unintelligent dog. So much to find out, let’s crack on.

What is the Most Intelligent Dog?

To get to the heart of the answer we need to first explore the Poodle IQ and some popular breeds crossed with them that are known to be of high intelligence.


The intelligence of the Poodle is widely known, and they are ranked as the second smartest breed, coming just behind Border Collies. Their traits include obedience, excellent recall memory, and being able to learn new commands very easily. Traditionally used as retrieval dogs, Poodles were relied on for their sense of smell and amazing instincts.

Border Collie

If asked what you think the smartest dog out there is, the Border Collie should always be on the tip of your tongue. It’s true, they are so smart and capable of so much. As a herding breed, they have an inbuilt desire to be obedient, attentive, and follow orders. They have so much energy and put this to good use by learning new skills easily. When you see a working Border Collie on a farm it’s very easy to see why they are ranked the smartest.

Golden Retriever

Being one of the easiest breeds to train gives Golden Retrievers the title of smart dog for sure. They can pick up new commands very quickly and love nothing more than pleasing their owners. Golden Retrievers are ranked up there in the top 5 smartest breeds. This, combined with their gentle nature, makes them a very popular family dog.

German Shepherd

Another clever dog breed is the German Shepherd and it’s why they were widely used by the Germans during the war. They currently rank as the third smartest dog breed, pipped to the post by the Poodle and Border Collie. It’s even a true fact that German Shepherds have been cast as actors in movies in the past!

Labrador Retriever

One of the brightest dogs out there, the Labrador Retriever enjoys taking on new tasks. They have an uncanny sense of smell that helps them sniff out any scent which is why they are used by the likes of cops and the military. They are mild tempered which means they can concentrate when learning new tricks.


Perhaps not a breed you would immediately think of when asked to list the smartest breeds, but they earn their right to be up there. They excel with both their obedience and working intelligence and it’s why they make great watchdogs. They can pick up new commands incredibly quickly.

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are very smart and hard-working which is why they make great herding dogs. They enjoy learning new skills and excel at physical sports where they can use their mind and body. They love having a job to do and are happiest doing this alongside their owner.


This breed is considered to have similar cognitive skills to that of a two-year-old child which earns their place among the smartest dogs. They pick up new commands well and have awesome instincts which make them great hunting dogs. Historically, they were used for many different job roles which just shows how versatile their intelligence is.

Bernese Mountain Dog

A hard-working breed taking on farming roles makes Bernese Mountain Dogs incredibly intelligent. Their roles on farms vary from cart-pulling to herding cattle and they make such reliable working dogs. Their obedience and energy levels make them on par with other smart breeds.


Perhaps another surprising addition but the Doberman earns thier right to be up there too. They were used in the war as guard dogs to the soldiers and also led troops on their missions. To this day they make incredible watchdogs but are also very gentle around their families.


One of the smallest but one of the smartest is the Papillon. In fact, they have earned the title of smartest of the toy breeds. They are quick on their feet and love nothing more than learning new tricks. They excel in the show ring and most things thrown at them.

The Results Are In – Top Ten Smartest Doodle Breeds

1BordoodleBorder Collie x Poodle
2GoldendoodleGolden Retriever x Poodle
3ShepadoodleGerman Shepherd x Poodle
4LabradoodleLabrador Retriever x Poodle
5RottleRottweiler x Poodle
6AussiedoodleAustralian Shepherd x Poodle
7SchnoodleSchnauzer x Poodle
8BernedoodleBernese Mountain Dog x Poodle
9DoberdoodleDoberman x Poodle
10PapipooPapillon x Poodle

There we have it, our very smartest of the Doodles. Don’t worry if yours didn’t make the list though – your dog is still capable of great things. These results come from some very specific tests carried out. All dog breeds are capable of learning commands and tricks with positive training techniques.

How is Doodle Intelligence Measured?

It’s all well and good listing the top ten brightest Doodles but how is this decision made so that it is fair and consistent? Well, back in 1976 the first dog intelligence test was carried out. It included testing short-term memory, problem-solving, and agility. A man called Stanley Coren published test results in 1994 in a book entitled The Intelligence of Dogs which you can find on Amazon.

Dog intelligence can be broken down into a few different headings including instinct intelligence, adaptive intelligence, and working and obedience intelligence. It may be that a dog is smarter in one area, rather than across the board. The breeds we’ve listed above performed well in all the tests carried out which earned them their place in our top ten smartest Doodle breeds.

How To Raise An Intelligent Dog

Don’t be worried that your dog hasn’t reached their full potential. We are here with some top tips to develop intelligence in your pooch and give them their opportunity to shine:

  • Socialization – An unsocialized dog is never going to be able to behave appropriately around other dogs. Get them used to being around others from the very start.
  • Bonding – A dog that hasn’t bonded with its owner is not going to want to listen to them and follow instructions. Spend time everyday bonding with your dog, lots of praise, cuddles, and stimulation.
  • Early Training – Start that training from day one. Dogs are eager to learn and please their owners.
  • Intelligence Toys – Buy some toys which encourage your dog to have to think for their reward – for example, food dishes that require problem-solving.
  • Dog Classes – Exposure to other dogs and people is a great way to widen your dog’s experiences.

Is There Such a Thing as an Unintelligent Dog?

Ever shook your head in disbelief as your dog attempts to take himself on in the mirror? How often have you referred to your dog as being daft in an affectionate way? Is there such a thing as a stupid dog? For the most part, the answer is no. There is no such thing as a stupid dog but there are dogs who just don’t have the same abilities as others. On average, a dog understands 165 words, and the smartest of dogs learn far more than this number.

Dr Cohen, whom we previously mentioned, categorized 100 dog breeds by their intelligence. Dogs who responded correctly between 70% to 95% of the time were categorized as anywhere from reasonably to highly intelligent. Anything below this was graded as average down to low intelligence.

Final Thoughts

As we wrap this article up a particular quote by Albert Einstein comes to my mind:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Isn’t this so true, even applied in the doggy world? Of course, it is. Your Doodle may or may not have made our top ten brightest Doodles but only you know the strengths and weaknesses of your dog. They might be amazing at recall and useless at problem-solving. Dogs, like humans, have things they excel at and other things which don’t come so naturally. This doesn’t make your pooch stupid – far from it. So, you are right to carry on believing your dog is smart. Enjoy watching them learn from the world around them.