Home German Shepherd How Smart Is A German Shepherd?

How Smart Is A German Shepherd?


German Shepherds are ranked 3rd on the list of the smartest dog breeds on the planet. It is no surprise that German Shepherds are the faces of the K-9 Force. With their ability to learn speedily, naturally athletic body, and a high sense of loyalty, German Shepherds have no doubt, found a point to hold to be in the position they stand at.

However, with this knowledge in mind, people begin to wonder. How is the intelligence of a dog checked? Is their clever mind the one reason why they are chosen? Since they sit at the 3rd spot, why were the two breeds before them not chosen?

In the lines that will follow, this article will answer all these questions as we try to understand the cleverness of German Shepherds.

What Is Dog Intelligence?

Dog intelligence is used in explaining the condition whereby a dog is capable of gathering skills and information, storing them, and sorting through them during their needed time. In other words, dog intelligence is the ability of a dog to learn and think on its own.

Two Classes Of Dog Intelligence

Dog intelligence is calculated using two different approaches.

Instinctive Intelligence

Just as with humans, the natural abilities that come with being a part of a breed are what is classified as instinctive intelligence in dogs. A German Shepherd is born with the natural will to protect others, which is what makes them good protectors.

Adaptive Intelligence

The ability to learn in dogs is defined as adaptive learning. Adoptive intelligence includes carrying out tasks, comprehending human language, and socializing.

As much as there are two ways of testing a dog’s intelligence, German Shepherds, just like other breeds, excel in one test than they do in the other.

Your dog’s intelligence can be tested through the aid of an online IQ test made specifically for dogs. Whether you have a German Shepherd or another breed of dog, this type of test can give you a general idea as to how smart your dog is.

Just be sure to follow the directions and have fun watching your dog figure out some things using nothing but his brainpower.

How A German Shepherd’s Intelligence Is Measured

At the beginning of this article, German Shepherds were named the 3rd dog intelligence-wise in the world, and there was a question as their position on the list came to be. It goes back to a researcher.

Stanley Coren is a researcher and psychologist Who has a PhD in dog intelligence research. After making his research, he made a list that ranks dogs intelligence using two criteria:  working intelligence and obedience.

The list has some imbalance in it, as not all dogs have a liking for work. However, the test helps in telling how much time it takes for a dog to retain acquired information.

Coren’s Dog Intelligence Criteria

The help of 199 obedience trial judges were requested by Coren in 1944. Two methods were involved in getting the results:

  1. The doctors were to repeat particular commands to a breed and record how many times it took for the breed to understand the command.
  2. The other means was through if a dog could understand a command the first time. Dogs that understood the commands on the first try got a higher ranking.

As much as the test was supposed to be for all dog breeds, the tests did not account for all. Only when a hundred dogs of a species partook in the test were the results used. Hybrid dogs too were exempted from the evaluations, creating an even lower number to test.

German Shepherds During The Evaluation

One thing to take into consideration is the fact that different dogs that ran up to at least 100 of a particular family were included in the research. If it had been just one dog, there would have been a different result as dogs, just as humans, differ in their level of intelligence.

By the time the test for working intelligence and obedience had been completed, the family of German Shepherds stood at number 3. They were bested by the Poodle and Border Collie families.

They, German Shepherds joined the group of top 10 dogs with the highest dog intelligence, along with others like Rottweilers and Golden Retrievers. Those in this family are dogs who managed to perform a command after it was told to them after less than five times.

With such exceptional performance, and their ability to be both intimidating yet lovely simultaneously, German Shepherds have been added to the top of the list, and have since then gone on to be one of the most well-known breeds nationwide.

Why Are German Shepherds Intelligent?

Just as their name suggests, German Shepherds were initially bred to work as shepherds. Their ability to sniff out even the most undetectable smells, stand their ground in the face of danger and remain the friendliest canines ever makes them the perfect candidate for shepherding.

German shepherds always stood their ground in the face of danger from man or animal to the herd they were guarding.

The Shepherds are from an ancestral line. They started from a breed called Continental Shepherd. Over time, they evolved, changing names as they went (first the Belgium shepherd, to become the Dutch shepherd, before finally crossing over to become the German Shepherds.

Their popularity and the name came from Max Von Stephanitz, a German captain who bred the dog and trained it to become just as perfect as he wanted it to be. From there onward, the other Shepherds came to be.

How To Develop Your German Shepherd’s Intelligence

While the dogs are known to be one of the smartest breeds there are, there is no denying that each dog varies from others in its breed. In the case where you wonder if your Shepherd has gotten to his intelligence limit, there are numerous ways to eat for its intelligence.

Teach them the basics

There is no denying the dogs’ ability to learn faster than most breeds, but there is a beginning for it. Take your dog through the basics (sit, come, stay) and it will have the opportunity to grow from there.

Also, with Shepherd’s ability to understand commands in less than five times of repetitions, training your dog will be easy.


German Shepherds are one of the most agile dog breeds in the world, and if there is one way to have a smarter dig with yourself, it is by giving it the freedom to exercise. A thirty minutes walk daily, throwing a freebie for the dog to fetch while you continue your job, will help in reducing the pent-up energy of the dog.

Brain challenges

With the ability to distinguish things, German Shepherds have a brighter opportunity at catching up. But they will not be able to distinguish things if you do not go through the trouble of training them yourself.

Obedience tests

Dogs are loyal friends to their owners. However, the business of teaching them to follow each command given to them has to start early for them to have them ingrained as they grow


Having a smart dog results in a more fulfilling companionship experience. You no longer need to repeat the same command repeatedly in order for it to be carried out, making your life easier.

Training a German Shepherd is quite simple because it is one of the top three most intelligent dog breeds.

But you can’t just pick a breed based on IQ. German Shepherds are excellent family dogs and companions. Due to their high level of energy, keep in mind that they require a lot of effort, so make sure the breed’s temperament and attitude are a suitable fit for your way of life.

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