Top 10 Smartest Toy Dog Breeds: Unveiling the Canine Intelligence Rankings

Did you know that intelligence comes in all shapes and sizes, evenThere are some surprisingly intelligent ones that stand out from the pack. These small but mighty canines possess a remarkable level of adaptive intelligence, instinctive intelligence, and a temperament that sets them apart. Get ready to meet these pint-sized geniuses who prove that great things come in small packages.

Understanding Canine Intelligence Measurement

Obedience Intelligence:

Obedience intelligence refers to a dog’s ability to quickly learn and follow commands. Some toy dog breeds excel in this area, making them highly trainable and responsive to their owners’ instructions. These breeds are known for their eagerness to please and their willingness to learn new tricks or tasks. For example, the Papillon is ranked among the top toy dog breeds in terms of obedience intelligence. They are quick learners and can easily pick up on commands.

Working Intelligence:

Working intelligence refers to a dog’s problem-solving abilities and their capacity for independent thinking. Toy dog breeds with high working intelligence can figure out solutions to challenges or puzzles presented to them. This type of intelligence is often seen in dogs that were originally bred for specific tasks, such as hunting or herding. The Pomeranian is an excellent example of a toy breed with high working intelligence. Despite their small size, they possess a sharp mind and can adapt well to various situations.

It’s important to note that different types of intelligence can vary within each breed. While some toy dogs may excel in obedience training, others may showcase exceptional problem-solving skills. It’s essential for potential owners to consider which type of intelligence aligns with their lifestyle and training goals.

Understanding the different aspects of canine intelligence allows us to appreciate the unique qualities that each toy breed possesses. Whether you’re looking for a highly obedient companion or a clever problem-solver, there is a smart toy dog breed out there just waiting to be your perfect match.

Overview of Smartest Toy Dog Breeds


Pomeranians are known for their intelligence and quick learning abilities. They excel in obedience training and can quickly pick up new commands.


The Papillon is a highly intelligent toy breed that loves to learn and please its owner. They are quick learners and can easily be trained in various tricks and commands.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus may be small, but they are incredibly smart dogs. They have a strong desire to please their owners, making them eager to learn new things.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers are not only adorable but also highly intelligent. They have great problem-solving skills and can quickly adapt to new situations.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are intelligent, gentle, and easy to train. They thrive on positive reinforcement and respond well to consistent training methods.

Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinschers are smart, energetic dogs that love mental stimulation. They excel in obedience training and enjoy learning new tricks.

Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhounds are known for their intelligence and agility. They are fast learners and enjoy participating in activities that challenge their minds.

Toy Fox Terrier

Toy Fox Terriers are intelligent dogs with a strong desire to please their owners. They excel in obedience training and can quickly grasp new commands.


Affenpinschers may be small, but they possess a big brain. They are clever dogs that enjoy problem-solving tasks and learning new tricks.

Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffons are intelligent dogs with a keen sense of observation. They can quickly learn commands and enjoy engaging in mentally stimulating activities.

These top 10 smartest toy dog breeds showcase the intelligence these pint-sized pups possess. Whether it’s excelling in obedience training or picking up new tricks, these breeds have proven their mental capabilities. By providing them with proper training and mental stimulation, you can unlock their full potential and create a strong bond with your furry friend.

Top 10 Smartest Toy Dog Breeds Ranked


Pomeranians are known for their intelligence and quick learning abilities. They are highly trainable and excel in obedience training.


Papillons are intelligent and eager to please, making them easy to train. They can quickly pick up new commands and tricks.

Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinschers are smart and alert dogs. They have a natural instinct for problem-solving and can learn new tasks with ease.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus may be small in size, but they are not lacking in intelligence. They are quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers are intelligent dogs that enjoy mental stimulation. They can learn new commands and tricks quickly with consistent training.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for their intelligence and adaptability. They excel in obedience training and enjoy learning new skills.


Maltese dogs are intelligent and eager to please their owners. With proper training, they can learn a wide range of commands and tricks.


Chihuahuas may be small, but they have big brains. They are intelligent dogs that can be easily trained with positive reinforcement techniques.


Havanese dogs are highly intelligent and enjoy learning new things. With consistent training, they can master various commands and tasks.

Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffons are intelligent dogs that thrive on mental stimulation. They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods.

These top 10 smartest toy dog breeds ranked showcase the intelligence levels of these small but mighty pups. Whether you’re looking for a dog that excels in obedience training or one that can learn impressive tricks, these breeds won’t disappoint.

Poodle (Toy Variety): A Brainy Breed

Intelligence and Agility: A Winning Combination

The Poodle, particularly the Toy variety, is renowned for its exceptional intelligence. This breed consistently ranks high in terms of trainability and problem-solving abilities. Their sharp minds make them quick learners, which makes training them a breeze. Poodles excel in various activities such as obedience trials, agility competitions, and even rally games.

Affectionate Nature: A Perfect Companion

Not only are Poodles highly intelligent, but they also possess an affectionate and loving nature. They form strong bonds with their owners and thrive on human companionship. This breed’s desire to please their family members makes them excellent pets for individuals or families seeking a loyal and devoted companion.

Versatile Sporting Dog: From Water to Land

Originally bred as water retrievers, Poodles have retained their sporting instincts throughout the years. Despite their small size in the Toy variety, they still possess the drive and athleticism of larger breeds. Whether it’s retrieving game from water or participating in various dog sports like dock diving or flyball, Poodles are always up for a challenge.

Miniature Variety: Big Personality in a Smaller Package

While the Toy Poodle steals hearts with its tiny stature, let’s not forget about the equally impressive Miniature Poodle. These dogs may be slightly larger than Toys but retain all the intelligence and agility that make this breed so remarkable. Miniature Poodles are known for their lively personalities and boundless energy.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi & Cocker Spaniels: Similar Intelligence Levels

Both Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Cocker Spaniels share similar traits with the Poodle. These breeds display high levels of intelligence along with an eagerness to please their owners.

Papillon: The Intelligent Butterfly-Eared Dog

Instinctive and Intelligent Companions

Papillons, also known as the “butterfly-eared” dogs, are not only adorable but also highly intelligent. These small toy dogs have a reputation for being one of the smartest breeds out there.

A Great Companion for Humans

Papillons are more than just cute lapdogs. They excel in various activities and make great companions for humans of all ages. Whether you’re looking for a playful partner or a loyal friend, this breed has got you covered.

Natural Instincts and Abilities

These intelligent canines possess natural instincts that make them stand out from other toy breeds. With their keen senses and alert nature, Papillons excel in activities such as flyball and agility training.

A Guard Dog at Heart

Despite their small size, Papillons have a strong protective instinct. They may be tiny, but they won’t hesitate to sound the alarm if they sense something amiss. Their alertness makes them excellent watchdogs.

Love to Learn and Look Good Doing It

Papillons are quick learners who enjoy mental stimulation. They love learning new tricks and commands, making training sessions both enjoyable and rewarding. Plus, with their beautiful coat and distinctive butterfly-like ears, they always look good doing it!

Getty Images Captured Their Intelligence

If you need further proof of the intelligence of Papillons, just take a look at the stunning photos captured by Getty Images showcasing these clever canines in action.

Shih Tzu: Ancient Breed with Cleverness

Ancient Origins and Clever Nature

The Shih Tzu is an ancient toy breed known for its intelligence and cleverness. Originating in China, these dogs were bred to be companions to Chinese royalty. Their small size and adorable appearance made them the perfect lap dogs for emperors and nobles.

Patience and Adaptability

Shih Tzus are highly adaptable and patient, making them excellent family pets. They have a natural ability to understand their owners’ emotions and provide comfort when needed. This breed is also known for its calm demeanor, which makes it suitable for households with children or other pets.

Size Doesn’t Determine Intelligence

Despite their small size, Shih Tzus are incredibly intelligent dogs. It’s important to remember that intelligence is not solely determined by a dog’s size or breed. These little canines have a knack for problem-solving and can quickly learn new commands and tricks.

Age Doesn’t Diminish Intelligence

Another fascinating aspect of the Shih Tzu’s intelligence is that it remains intact as they age. Unlike some breeds that may show signs of cognitive decline in their senior years, Shih Tzus retain their mental sharpness well into old age.

Devoted Companionship

Shih Tzus form strong bonds with their owners and thrive on human companionship. They are loyal, affectionate, and enjoy being part of the family activities. Whether it’s going for walks or snuggling on the couch, these intelligent toy dogs will always be by your side.

Best Small Dog Breeds for Training

Small dog breeds excel in training

Small dog breeds are known for their intelligence and trainability. These pint-sized pups may be small in stature, but they have big brains and are eager to please their owners. Whether you’re looking for a companion or a competitor in canine sports, these small dogs are up to the challenge.

Puppy training classes are beneficial

Enrolling them in puppy training classes is highly recommended. These classes provide a structured environment where puppies can learn basic obedience commands and socialize with other dogs. It’s an excellent opportunity for them to develop good manners and build confidence.

Small breed agility champions

Small dog breeds can excel in various dog sports, including agility. Their compact size and nimble nature make them well-suited for navigating through obstacle courses with speed and precision. Breeds like the Jack Russell Terrier and the Papillon have proven themselves as top contenders in agility competitions.

Intelligence of toy dog breeds

Toy dog breeds, which include many small dogs, are renowned for their intelligence. They possess quick learning abilities and can easily pick up new commands and tricks. This intelligence makes them ideal candidates for advanced training activities such as scent work or even participating in therapy work.

The importance of consistent training

Consistency is key. These intelligent pups thrive on routine and clear expectations from their owners. By providing consistent guidance, positive reinforcement, and plenty of mental stimulation, you can help your small dog reach their full potential.

Keeping Smart Small Dogs Mentally Stimulated

Consistent Training: The Key to Unlocking Their Potential

Smart small dog breeds thrive on mental stimulation. Consistent training is crucial to keep their minds engaged and prevent boredom. By teaching them new tricks and commands, you can challenge their intelligence and provide them with the mental exercise they need. Repetitions are essential for these dogs to master commands, so be patient and consistent in your training sessions.

Socialization: Broadening Their Horizons

Early socialization is vital for smart small dog breeds. Exposing them to different environments, people, and animals from a young age helps them develop confidence and adaptability. It also prevents behavioral issues that may arise from fear or anxiety. Take your dog on walks in various settings, introduce them to other dogs, and allow positive interactions with people of all ages.

Engaging Activities: Tapping into Their Natural Instincts

Many toy dog breeds have working backgrounds as hunters or retrievers of small game or rodents. Providing activities that tap into their natural instincts can keep them mentally stimulated. Puzzle toys that require problem-solving skills, scent games where they have to find hidden treats, or interactive toys that dispense food are excellent choices for keeping their minds sharp.

Mental Workouts: Challenging Their Intellect

In addition to physical exercise, smart small dogs need mental workouts too. Teach them new commands regularly to keep their brains active and engaged. This could include obedience exercises such as sit-stay or more complex tasks like learning how to fetch specific objects by name. The key is to continually challenge their intellect by introducing new commands and increasing the difficulty level gradually.

Bonding Time: Strengthening Your Relationship

Engaging in mentally stimulating activities with your smart small dog not only keeps them entertained but also strengthens the bond between you both. These dogs are eager to please their owners, so spending quality time together during training sessions or interactive play builds trust and reinforces the bond you share.

Conclusion: Choosing the Right Smart Toy Breed

Now that you have a better understanding of the smartest toy dog breeds, it’s time to choose the perfect companion for you. Consider your lifestyle, activity level, and training preferences when making your decision. Remember, a smart toy breed requires mental stimulation and regular training to thrive. Whether it’s the clever Poodle, the intelligent Papillon, or the ancient Shih Tzu, each of these breeds offers unique qualities that can bring joy and companionship to your life.

Take the time to research and interact with different breeds before making your final choice. Don’t forget to provide plenty of mental challenges and engage in stimulating activities with your new furry friend. By choosing the right smart toy breed and investing time into their mental well-being, you’ll create a strong bond and ensure a happy and fulfilling life together. So go ahead, embark on this exciting journey with your intelligent toy breed companion!