Why are border collies so smart? (answered!)

Border collies are the most intelligent dog breeds out there. On a scale of Intelligence, border collies score five out of five for their Intelligence and smartness. That’s not it; border collies are the only dogs in the world to know about a thousand nouns. You must be wondering what makes this dog breed so smart. 

Why are Border Collies so smart? According to neurologists, 51% of the credit for a dog’s smartness goes to genes, while 49% goes to the surrounding. Border collies have a gene called CTNND2 that is responsible for their instinctual Intelligence. This is the reason border collies are bred for their Intelligence

Qualities That Make The Border Collies The Most Intelligent Dog Breed

A dog’s Intelligence is always measured in terms of its adaptive, instinctive, and working Intelligence. The intuitive quality for which border collies are known is herding. Border collies are thought to be as best sheepherders globally. They can herd sheep without much human training, purely based on instinctive Intelligence. They can herd cattle as well.

Besides their instinctive Intelligence, they have high adaptive Intelligence as well. That means they are great self-learners. They make use of their past experiences to solve problems in the future.

However, all border collies do not share the same amount of adaptive Intelligence. Some are quick learners than others. 

Border collies also possess high working Intelligence as compared to other dogs. They quickly act on the commands because of their high IQ. They make use of both their instinctive and adaptive Intelligence to complete the task given to them. 

What Are The Criteria for Measuring a Dog’s Intelligence?

In his book “The Intelligence of a Dog,” Stanley Coren talked about the emotions, psychology, and Intelligence of dogs. He also devised criteria for measuring the dog’s Intelligence. Following are the two criteria according to Coren:

  • The first criteria are the number of repetitions a dog takes to learn any new thing or a command. The fewer the number of repetitions, the higher is the Intelligence of the dog and vice versa. 
  • The second criterion for a dog’s Intelligence is the success rate in learning a new thing or a new command. The dogs who learn commands successfully at a faster rate are indeed intelligent. 

According to the intelligence test results under the criteria mentioned earlier, Border Collies came out on top of the list of dogs. 

How Intelligent Are Border Collies Compared With Other Dog Breeds?

When should you start training your Border Collie

When compared with other dogs, Border collies are indeed an intelligent breed. This is also indicated from the test results conducted to measure the Intelligence of dogs.

The Border collies took less than five repetitions to learn a new thing. And on top of that, their success rate was more than 95%. While the majority of other dogs took 25 to 40 repetitions, and their success rate was only 50% in the tests. This means that Border collies are five times smarter than an average intelligent dog out there.

How to Test Your Dog’s Intelligence

If you want to know the level of Intelligence of your Border collie dog, here are three ways through which you can get the results. 

  1. The first is the empathy test. Sit in the room where the dog is present and pretend to cry. If Border collie comes to comfort you by cuddling, that means the dog has passed the test. This action of Border collie shows it is an empathetic dog.
  2. The second is the cognition test. Place three empty glasses upside down on the floor in front of your dog. Hide a treat under one of them when the dog is watching. Now let him find the treat. If Border collie successfully finds the treat in just one attempt, Congratulations! Because you own an incredible genius dog.
  3. The third is a problem-solving test. Put some treats under any furniture within the room. The place must be reachable with only the paws of the dog. If he successfully gets the treat out, he passes the test. 

Three Ways to Entertain Border Collies

Border Collies are herding dogs by nature. This means they love to spend their days running around in open spaces. On the other hand, if Border Collies don’t have the opportunity to do these activities, it will be hard to keep them entertained. Here are three ways to keep your smart pet happy. 

  • Engage the dog in any organized sport such as fly ball, obstacle course, treibbal and many others. Accomplishments achieved in such games keep the Border collies satisfied and happy.
  • Fetching games are best for your intelligent friend because they love running and chasing after things. They are also great learners, so that you can teach them new levels each time. Start with short-distance throwing and keep increasing the distance each time he fetches the ball or flying disc.
  • Take your dog on a walk or a hike. These dogs have high-energy deposits, which they need to spend to remain calm and happy. Exercise is the best way to do so.

These activities will keep them mentally and physically active and help keep their minds sharp.

Is a Border Collie The Right Dog for You and Your Family?

smartest dogs in the world are border collies

The Border Collie is an excellent family pet, but it is only suitable for you if you are willing to put in the effort required by this breed. Border Collies are highly sensitive, obsessive, alert, and energetic dogs. So, they need a family that is patient, understanding, and on top of athletic to keep up with the energy of this dog breed. 

I don’t recommend this dog unless you’re very athletic and think you’ll have a hard time exercising with your dog for two hours a day. It’s hard to please these dogs simply with dog toys; instead, they require mentally stimulating games to satisfy their herding instincts. 


Are Border Collies kid friendly

Border collies are one of the smartest dogs globally that are intelligent, energetic, and alert. They are swift-witted with high natural and adaptive Intelligence. With its high IQ, this dog can quickly adapt to new situations and learn new skills in no time. If you want the companionship of an intelligent and active furry friend, the Border collie is the right answer for you. 

​​If you are looking for other information about the education and training of a Border Collie, I suggest you visit the official web page of brain training for dogs, an excellent & easy-to-follow online dog training course. 

Check out Brain Training for Dogs 

Thank you for taking the time to read this article; I hope it has been useful to you! 

Until next time! 

A big hug.