The Smartest Dog Breed Is…The Answer Might Surprise You!

Group of Happy Dogs Smiling for the Camera

Do you think the Beagle with his knack-for-nosing a trail or the Bulldog making internet fame for riding around on a skateboard is taking the doggie biscuit when it comes to intelligence?  

Well, think again because the canine claiming to have the highest IQ may just surprise you.

Want to know who it is?  

Here’s a hint; this dog is always hungry to herd, perform agility courses or even just play fetch with a flying disc.  

Did you guess the Border Collie?  If you did, you nailed it!

border collie in a harness standing on the shore

So what are the experts saying that makes the Border Collie so brainsy?  According to some Border Collie experts:

“Claiming the overall train-ability, independent thinking ability, reasoning ability and ability to perform certain tasks at a high level show that the border collie can be considered the most intelligent dog breed.”  In addition, “they are constantly watching and analyzing their surroundings and are often very calculated in their actions.”

All these excellent traits may spell S.M.A.R.T, but the fact they they are smart is not all this breed has to offer. They are very cool in a number of different ways.  

up-close shoe of a border-collie

Cool Fact # 1  ~ This Breed’s Name “Borders” on Being Too Cool

The origins of dog breeds are as vast as there are types of dogs, but for the Border Collie its name actually came about because of two lands divided; England and Scotland.  According to VetStreet, this herding dog developed in the area between these two regions as farmers continued to breed their own varieties of sheepdogs to work the hilly terrain.  

Fun Factoid: Herding dogs often times had to run around 50 miles (80 kilometers) each day tending their flocks!

Cool Fact # 2 ~ It All Started With the One Dog

A Border Collie named, Old Hemp, who lived from 1893 to 1901 is considered “the father” of all Border Collies.  This dog showed exemplary herding skills beginning when he was only 6 weeks-old. Old Hemp had a unique style when herding his flock; he was less aggressive and moved quietly without any loss of effectiveness.  

Fun Factoid: His abilities inspired the creation and standards of the entire Border Collie breed.

old hemp the father of border collies

Cool Fact # 3 ~ Winston Cap, The Number One Stud

Many guys would like to believe this title goes to them, but the number one stud in the canine category has got to go to Winston Cap.  Born in 1963, this dog is known in history as the most prolific Border Collie, procreating more puppies than any other dog.  In fact, every Border Collie in the UK has Winston Cap’s DNA.

Fun Factoid:  The average Border Collie registered with the International Sheepdog Society (which is over 6,000 puppies each year) has 13.3 percent of Winston Cap’s genes.

cute border collie puppies

Cool Fact # 4 ~ First in the “Best at Herding” Category

Border Collies have many skills, but they are most notable for their instinctive nature to herd.  Whether this be a flock of sheep, cows in a pasture or children on a playground, this dog will round ’em  up and keep them safe.  In fact, the Border Collie often competes in Herding competitions.

Fun Factoid:  Many owners of Border Collies have been known to either rent or buy sheep so their dog could indulge in this instinctive behavior.

excited border collie working on a farm

Cool Fact # 5 ~ Herding is NOT Their Only Skill

The Border Collie is not only extremely good at herding, but it has an eagerness to please that makes it excellent at other jobs like search-and-rescue, medical-alert dogs for early detection of seizures (and other medical emergencies) and even therapy dogs.

Fun Factoid: Regardless of what job the Border Collie has, it will never be free of its herding instinct, this is hard-wired into its DNA.

Cool Fact # 6 ~ Forever Standing Loyal

The Scottish poet by the name of Robert Burns was a big fan of the Border Collie describing the breed as “honest and faithful.”  As a boy, Burns and his brother owned one of these canines (named Luath).  The poem “The Twa Dogs” is (in part) a tribute to his childhood companion.  Today there’s a statue in Boston’s Winthrop Square displaying Burns with Luath standing faithfully by his side.

Fun Factoid: The night before the funeral of Burns’ father, Luath was tragically killed (as stated by the brother) “by the wanton cruelty of some person.”

statue of luath - robert burns' border collie

Cool Fact # 7 ~ Officially Recognized in 1995

The Border Collie was not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) until 1995.  The holdup was because breeders of the Border were more interested in the dog being shown for its physical and herding skills rather than their appearance – which is a high priority in AKC standards.  Their concern was the integrity of these important qualities may be compromised with people breeding the dog more for its looks than its athleticism.  Interestingly enough, a Border Collie has never won the AKC’s coveted “Best in Show” title.

Fun Factoid: Today the Border Collie lines are separated into two distinct categories; Herding dogs and Show dogs.

border collie with brown eyes

Cool Fact # 8 ~ I’m Ready for My Close Up!

Border Collies have a lot of skills including being actors. One television-famed (mixed) Border was named Maui, who played “Murray” on the popular 1990’s sitcom Mad About You (Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser). This canine later went on to appear in the 2005 movies, Santa’s Slay.

Cool Fact # 9 ~ Guinness World Record Holder

Don’t think a dog can hold a Guinness World Record?  Think again.  Striker holds the record for “fastest car window opened by a dog,” and this is not an electric window!  Using just his paw and his nose this talented Border Collie set the record at 11.34 seconds on September, 2004 in Quebec, Canada.

Fun Factoid: Chaser is another remarkable Border Collie that can understand grammar – not just words, but full sentences.
These are all amazing feats done by the most intelligent canine breed on the planet, the Border Collie, but before you leave to find one to call your very own, here is one more Border that takes the prize for being super-smart.  Her name is Star and she is amazing!!  You won’t believe the number of things she can understand and do!


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