The German Shepherd, Border Collie and Kelpie are often said to be the most trainable of all dog breeds. But popular companion breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Toy Poodles are equally responsive to training. The 'top 10' list depends a little on what type of trainability you are looking for from your dog. Every dog requires some level of training to fit harmoniously into family life with their humans. With time and patience, any dog of any breed can learn these skills. But some breeds tend to be more stubborn and independent than others! And then there are some breeds that are naturally well-behaved and eager to please. These breeds tend to be very
easy to train and are natural learners who pick things up in no time.
Overall, working breeds tend to be the easiest to train because they are ‘jobaholics’, says Karin Bridge, former president of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), and dog trainer for nearly thirty years. “Working breeds want a job and love people who give them one”, she says. Generally, working breeds tend to be highly trainable, as well as highly intelligent, as they have been bred to problem solve and work collaboratively with their humans. They may be quick to train, but this does not necessarily make them the easiest breeds to care for. Their high intelligence and high drive mean these dogs require constant mental stimulation to keep them busy, otherwise they may make their own fun and get up to mischief. “If you’re not into training, then think about getting a breed that isn’t into training either. A dog who is happy to just go for walks and sit on a couch might suit your lifestyle better”, Ms Bridge says, who has competed with her own dogs in obedience, agility, and dog dancing.
Herding breeds such as the Border Collie, Kelpie, Australian Shepherd, and Shetland Sheepdog have been bred to respond quickly to their handler’s commands. “These workaholics are very intelligent and can pick up commands on just a couple of tries, but their endless energy and demand for mental stimulation and physical work can be exhausting”, says Ms Bridge. “Poodles and Papillons are also exceptionally intelligent and respond quickly to their owners and training”, she says. These smaller sized dogs still need a regular ‘job’, but some households may find it easier to meet their exercise needs. Gundogs such as Labradors and Golden Retrievers are ‘reward hungry’. “They love all rewards – food, toys, praise, games and interactions with other people and dogs, which along with their natural intelligence and good nature, makes them easy to train”, says Ms Bridge. The German Shepherd excels at most tasks, making them an excellent choice for professional dog trainers and working dog industries. They often winning the competition for the most trainable all-rounder breed.
If training or canine performance sports appeal to you, these are the top 10 breeds that are easy to train to a high level:
· Border Collie
· Australian Kelpie
· German Shepherd
· Labrador Retriever
· Australian Shepherd
· Miniature Poodle
· Shetland Sheepdog
While some of these high-drive dogs may excel at obedience training, it doesn’t mean other breeds are not trainable or intelligent. “It is always hard to equate ‘trainability’ purely with ‘intelligence’. Some breeds were bred to think independently, while others have been bred to be more biddable”, Ms Bridge explains.
If a more relaxed but highly trainable breed sounds more your style, these friendly, people-orientated breeds might be worth considering:
· Golden Retriever
· Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
· Miniature Schnauzer
· Toy Poodle
· Griffon Bruxellois
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