There are over 300 officially recognized dog breeds across the world. Each dog within these different breeds is an individual with a personality influenced by many factors. How obedient any dog will be is informed most by their socialization process during their first months and years of life. However, there are some dog breeds which are naturally more inclined to be obedient and, therefore, more easily trainable than others.
Obedience should be taught
From this K9RL list of the 5 most obedient dog breeds you will see dogs which are most likely to be easily trainable. In the process, you will learn that we can dispel some myths. One in particular is that small dog breeds are not obedient. In fact, some small breeds are among the easiest dogs to train.
What makes a dog obedient?
It is easy to think that the most obedient dogs are simply from the most intelligent breeds. The reasoning is that a clever dog will know that following orders will get them the rewards they crave. However, intelligence can come in many different guises and just because a dog is not obedient, doesn’t mean it isn’t clever. There are many breeds which show initiative and problem solving skills, yet are stubborn and can prove difficult to train.
Obedient dogs do tend to be more intelligent, but there are different types of intelligence.
- Instinctive intelligence: dogs are bred by humans for specific purposes. While some of these might be sheer aesthetics, the majority of original breeding was for practical purposes. This led to working dogs engaged in hunting, guarding or herding. Dogs naturally most able to carry out these purposes are considered instinctually intelligent.
- Adaptive intelligence: dogs are also able to learn from their environment, but some dogs are able to adapt to said environment better than others. This involves problem solving and engaging with their environment in a way which shows natural ingenuity.
- Obedience intelligence: Coren’s factors in deciding a dog’s intelligence in terms of obedience are a breed’s ability to understand basic commands or, more specifically, the speed at which they are able to comprehend and respond to them.
Another important factor is the amount of care and type of training an owner will give to their dog. This will have a large impact on their ability to process commands. So, if you are looking for one of the most trainable and obedient dogs, remember that your own ability is just as important.
Due to the lack of available documentation and sources, it is difficult to determine exactly why any dog breed is more obedient than others. This is especially so with the older dog breeds. However, with the Border Collie, it is fairly reasonable to assume that their obedience intelligence has been encouraged due to their use as working dogs, specifically herding dogs.
Border Collies learn commands very easily and seem particularly willing to follow orders. This allows them to make quite complex moves when it comes to herding animals on farms. They are a mid-sized dog which are very athletic, meaning they require plenty of exercise. If they do not receive sufficient exercise, they will likely develop behavioral problems.
The same can be said for intelligence games with Border Collies. If they do not receive enough mental stimulation, they will become demanding. They can be trained to perform quite amazing tricks which marry their athleticism with their obedience and cleverness. Border Collies are not only one of the most trainable dog breeds in terms of obedience intelligence, but are considered the most intelligent dog breed over all.
The Poodle is one of the best examples of showing why you can’t judge on appearance alone. Their curly haired coat which is often stylized into various cuts leads many to think of them as a show dog with little to offer practically. In reality, according to intelligence tests, this dog breed is one of the most intelligent and trainable.
Both the Standard Poodle and Toy Poodle are very intelligent and obedient dogs which can respond very well to training. However, Standard Poodles are slightly more reserved and Toy Poodles can be a little more mischievous. While they both may be just as intelligent, it does mean Standard Poodles are a little easier to train and may be considered more obedient in general.
Toy Poodles go a long way to prove that size is not seemingly an important factor in terms of obedience. There are many large dog breeds which are generally stubborn and very hard to train. The Toy Poodle is definitely one of the easiest small dog breeds to train.
Another dog breed where their history is so linked to their obedience levels, German Shepherds have been used as war dogs, guide dogs, police dogs and search and rescue dogs. For all of these roles, obedience and training is essential.
German Shepherds are very loyal which means they can be equally defensive of their family, leading in part to their perception as aggressive dogs. However, as with all dogs, it is down to their training and care which determines if they are aggressive.
The Golden Retriever is a breed originating in Scotland. They are well known for their use as therapy and assistance dogs for people with a variety of health conditions. Their most common employment as assistance dogs is perhaps as being seeing eye dogs for the visibly impaired. To become a seeing eye dog, Golden Retrievers need to be tested before they can even begin training. Some dogs might not have the right temperament in terms of obedience, reinforcing the idea there is variation within a given breed.
German Shepherds were originally the breed most employed as seeing eye dogs. However, after testing it was found that Golden Retrievers were more suitable. This is due to their sweet nature, affectionate temperament and balanced character.
You will see there are some dogs on this list which many think of as aggressive before they might think of as obedient. The Doberman Pinscher, but it is exactly their obedience and trainability which leads to this reputation. Doberman Pinschers are very loyal and protective dogs. They are also very clever and respond well to training. This has lead to their use as both guard dogs and protection dogs.
Doberman’s will only be aggressive if they are not provided the right socialization and care. In saying this, they need to have the right kind of owner who can show the appropriate kind of dominance and ensure their loving and playful side is brought out, rather than aggression.
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