Owning a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences, but also one that comes with a lot of responsibility. To be healthy and live long, dogs need a safe and nurturing environment, a healthy diet, regular vet checkups, plenty of exercise and, of course, lots of attention. It’s no wonder that in addition to searching for a dog that’s easy to own in an apartment/house, most first time dog owners also search for a dog that is easy to train. Of course, all dogs can be trained, but there’s no denying that some breeds that are easier to work with than others.
The good news is, there are plenty of dog breeds that are easy to train. Below is a concise list of 10 smartest and most eager to please dog breeds that are easy to teach anything, even for first time dog owners. But remember – all dogs are individuals, so this list is a broad generalization. Also, keep in mind that even if you get the smartest dog in the world, you’ll still need to spend a lot of time training them.
One of the brightest and hardest working dog breeds in the world, the Border Colie is, to put it simply, an amazing dog. Beautiful, intelligent and energetic, this dog is the perfect pet for folks who have lots of energy and will to work and play with their dog. In fact, if you often don’t have time or energy for your pet, it’s better to steer clear of this breed. This is because Border Collies need an occupation or purpose in life in order to feel valuable and happy. And of course, in order to give your furry friend an occupation, you need to work with them often. If you can participate in dog sports with your pet, that’s even better. Collies not only love to work and learn, they’re also incredibly affectionate with their human family members and need to spend quite a bit of time with them to feel appreciated. It’s worth mentioning that due to their natural tendency to herd animals as well as people, Border Collies do best with older children.
There’s a reason German Shepherds are often used for military and police work. Originally bred specifically for intelligence, the German Shepherd is a highly intelligent, powerful, loyal and courageous dog. They learn tasks quickly, with only a few repetitions, so they’re a great choice for both experienced dog owners and beginners. They’re also very eager to learn new things, as this gives them a sense of purpose – similarly to Border Collies. If you decide to get a German Shepherd, know that early socialization and training classes are crucial – proper and continuous training is what ensures the Shep puppy grows into a well-mannered and well-behaved adult dog. Although extremely loyal to their human families, German Shepherds are not people-dogs per se, at least not when it comes to new people and animals. To outsiders, these noble dogs may seem aloof – in reality, they’re just careful who they put their trust in.
Don’t let the Poodle’s fancy fur coat fool you – this is a bright, steadfast and easily trainable dog breed that excels in a variety of canine sports. So, if you’re looking for a beautiful and proud-looking breed that is also highly intelligent and keen to work, the Poodle, no matter the size, is the right choice. Besides being smart and easy to teach, this dog is also highly energetic, meaning it enjoys various outdoor activities. They’re fantastic water retrievers, dock divers and hunting companions. This alone should tell you how easy it is to train a Poodle – intelligent and eager to please, this breed is a joy to train and work with. Of course, we can’t talk about Poodles without mentioning coat maintenance – unless you plan to keep your pet in a short trim (totally valid option!), you’ll need to learn how to properly brush them daily, plus clip their nails and trim their coat. That, or take them to a professional dog groomer once a month.
Along with German Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher is one of the most popular police and military dog breeds in the world. It’s hardly a surprise why – intelligent, fearless, loyal and powerful, this breed is not only easy to train, it’s also incredibly assertive. This makes Doberman Pinscher ideal for folks who need a protection dog, but also a beautiful family dog, as the breed is quite gentle, despite its muscular and powerful appearance. The Doberman can be easily trained for dominance or docility – the choice is yours. They respond quickly and learn easily, however, they may not be the right breed for first time dog owners. This is because they’re quite confident and strong, so if not trained properly and on time (which is crucial for Dobermans), they can easily become pushy and destructive. Needless to say, you do need a firm hand and early obedience training to have a well-behaved and well-mannered Doberman Pinscher.
Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds for a reason; in fact, for several different reasons. This beautiful breed is not only friendly and fun, it’s also very bright and eager to please. This makes it perfect for both first time dog owners and those who already have lots of dog training experience. Golden Retrievers are highly regarded for their intelligence – they can easily learn over 200 commands, as long as you’re consistent with their training. But what makes them even more desirable is their eagerness to please their human family. If you start early socialization and puppy training classes, your Golden Retriever will develop into a well-adjusted and well-behaved adult dog. Obedience training is also recommended, mostly because it fortifies the bond between the owner and the dog, but also because Goldens love to please their humans. Bear in mind that this breed is quite outgoing and friendly, so it’s best suited to people who can dedicate a lot of time and affection to their pet.
Another extremely popular Retriever, the Labrador Retriever is a gentle, friendly and fast-learning breed. It’s ideal for families with kids, as the breed is patient and affectionate, although you shouldn’t shy away from the Lab if you live alone – as long as you have the time to play and train with your dog, the Lab is a fantastic choice. As with all dogs, early socialization and training classes are important– however, because Labs are very friendly and outgoing, other animals (as well as humans) are pretty much never a problem for this breed. That’s why Labs thrive in multi-pet households. Besides being friendly, Labs are also eager to please, and equally important, bright and fast to learn new commands. As a result, they’re often chosen for search and rescue, police work and assisting disabled. Like the Golden Retriever, the Lab needs quite a bit of affection and physical activity – ideally, you’ll be into sports so you can train with your pet.
Beautiful, friendly, extremely intelligent and obedient, the Shetland Sheepdog is a fierce herder. In fact, this breed is so good at herding, it shows the same protectiveness over its human “herd” as it does over its real one. Indeed, this breed is loyal and committed to its human family, which, paired with its great intelligence, makes it very easy to train. The Sheltie is eager and quick to learn, so it’s a fine choice for first time owners. That said, the breed does like to express happiness and other emotions with barking, so do prepare yourself for some interesting sounds. Better yet, teach your pet to stop barking when desired. It’s also worth noting that since Shelties have a magnificent and long double coat, they shed considerably. Regular brushing is a must, although bathing is needed only occasionally.
Australian Cattle Dog
If you want a dog that’s not only bright and eager to learn, but curious and ever alert too, Australian Cattle Dog may be for you. This sturdy and hard-muscled dog is one of the most dependable breeds out there, which is no surprise considering this is a hard-working dog first and foremost. Indeed, Australian Cattle Dogs represent the perfect combination of intelligence, strength and protectiveness, making them easy to train no matter your dog owning experience. If you start on time with socialization and obedience training, this dog will be well-behaved and resourceful, especially happy when on the “job”, be it actual herding or protecting the house. Do bear in mind that The Cattle Dog requires continuous training and participation in activities such as herding, agility or obedience, which takes quite a bit of time and effort.
Small, cute, quick and bright, the Papillon – named after its butterfly-like ears – is the perfect pet for folks without a lot of apartment space. This toy breed may look adorable and naïve, but its innocent look is just a mask– this is one wickedly smart, tough and strong dog with athletic stamina. In fact, Papillon is often described as a big dog in a small body – this should tell you a lot about its strength and energy levels. The Papillon is highly intelligent and eager to please its human family. Early obedience classes and socializations are a must-do though, as like most small breeds, the Papillon can sometimes take a while to housetrain. This breed is a true companion dog at heart, which is why it tends to feel unhappy if left alone for long periods of time. Thankfully, it bonds really well with both humans and other animals when the owner devotes time on training and proper socialization.
The Rottweiler is a strong, intelligent and loyal guardian dog that is best suited to people who not only don’t mind spending quite a bit of time on their dog, but they love it. This is because Rottweilers are first and foremost people dogs – they love spending time with their owners, cuddling and playing, so super-busy folks should stay away. Although they are powerful and strong, don’t let their formidable look fool you – this breed is gentle and playful. That said, a well-bred and properly raised Rottweiler is a fierce protector of the family. With early socialization and basic training classes, a Rottweiler will be a disciplined and well-behaved dog. However, some Rottweilers can be really stubborn – that’s why it’s important to start training your pup on time. You should be firm, consistent and fair with a Rottweiler, and you’ll have a well-mannered and courageous guardian for life.