The 15 Most Trainable Dog Breeds
October 25, 2021 | 3 min read
Updated October 25, 2021
Published: June 11, 2021
Updated: May 16, 2023
Summary: In this blog, we learn which breeds of dogs are the most trainable! We'll learn the breeds of dogs that are known for their obedience and are relatively easy to train. Read on for a complete guide to the 15 most trainable dog breeds.
What Are The Most Trainable Dog Breeds?
If you're wondering what the 15 most trainable dog breeds are, then you're in the right place! When determining how to pick the breed that's right for you, knowing how easy a dog is to train is important for a dog owner that may have young children, want to take their dog to work, or simply don’t have the time and money to commit to long-term, intensive training.
Each breed has its own personality, and some are more renowned for their obedience and focus than others. But, some breeds have even been bred specifically to work cooperatively with humans, which makes them a lot easier to train.
For example, working dogs, herding breed dogs, and sporting dogs are typically easier to train as they're specifically bred for a working human partnership.
But remember, obedience and trainability doesn't necessarily equate to intelligence and it doesn't mean that other breeds can't be trained.
If training is a fun, enjoyable experience and the method is kind, ethical, and reward-based, then any dog can get to grips with commands and have obedience instilled in them. This goes for the more easily trained breeds too - if you let training slip or don’t follow essential beginner’s tips for training, then what's expected of them will slide too. Frequency (and fun!) is key!
So, what are the 15 most trainable dog breeds? Read on to find out!
The 15 Most Trainable Dog Breeds
Every dog will have its own unique personality and quirks, but these 15 breeds are known for being easy to train.
1. Golden Retriever
Golden retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds because they are affectionate, fiercely loyal, and easy to train. One reason why they are one of the most trainable dog breeds is because they have been bred to please people. Originally, the golden retriever dog breed was a hunting dog and strived to be the best human companion to their owners while out on the hunt.
Today, most golden retrievers can be found at the park or in the backyard more often than on the hunting ground, but this passion to please their owners is still there. Their sunny disposition and loyal nature makes them a great family dog.
2. Labrador Retriever
Like golden retrievers, labs are a popular family dog because they are one of the most trainable dog breeds. They were also bred to help with duck hunting and still have those loyal, active characteristics. They enjoy being active and doing tricks for their humans, such as swimming to retrieve toys!
A labrador’s natural instinct is to be outside performing acts with their humans, such as fetch, and they are natural-born people pleasers. In fact, a Golden Retriever/Labrador cross-breed usually has the most success as a guide dog because of their trainability and loyalty.
3. German Shepherd
Because of their helpful background, this police dog breed enjoys listening to and obeying their human’s commands. They can master simple tricks and go above and beyond in obedience and task training. German Shepherds are a smart dog breed and enjoy new challenges and training opportunities.
4. Border Collie
Border collies are considered one of the fastest learners in the dog kingdom, making them also one of the most trainable dog breeds. They are more high-energy than some other dogs on this list, but that makes them the perfect dog to perform agility and obedience obstacles.
Border collies love to exercise and can quickly learn both simple and more complex tricks. They'll need frequent mental stimulation because of this and ample exercise too.
Don't let this breed's twee and fancy appearance fool you. Poodles in all their forms (miniature, toy, or regular), are very willing to learn and are easily trainable. In addition, they are extremely athletic and smart. The best way to train a poodle is to use something they love as a cue, such as a treat or favorite toy. Even better, our salmon treats for dogs are the perfect training companion for you and your poodle.
6. English Springer Spaniel
Bred to hunt, this breed has a very quick and agile mind that only wants to please, putting them on the most trainable dog breed list. Their natural instinct is to follow the dog owner’s commands to fetch and they can get bored without a lot of activity. Because of this, English Springer Spaniels enjoy a lot of quality time with their humans, whether that is playing outside, going through training, or exploring a new area together. They are quick learners and love to please their pet parents.
7. Doberman Pinscher
Pointy-eared, alert and fearless, Dobermans are also often found helping out the police force or working in the security industry. This doesn't mean that they're aggressive though! Their enthusiasm toward training, and their ability to retain what they learn, not only help them make the most trainable list but also make them great companions.
8. Vizsla (Hungarian Pointer)
A very loyal and enthusiastic breed - these doggies are very eager to please and are renowned for the strong bonds they form with their owners. Like Border Collies, Vizslas require lots of exercising and mental stimulation but means they're relatively easy to train.
One note about training Vizslas is that, although they are highly intelligent, they can also be easily distracted and will require a disciplined training program in the beginning. But, once they catch up, they will excel in training. Start training early and often to make the most out of your connection with your Vizsla.
9. Miniature Schnauzer
These are one of the most trainable small dog breeds and are incredibly obedient and responsive to training! They're also quite energetic for a small breed so will require a lot of play and a suitable amount of walkies.
Like Vizslas, Miniature Schnauzers can be easily distracted during training and, depending on the task, can be stubborn. Because of this, the breed benefits from early training and socialization and lots of positive reinforcement (like the treats we mentioned earlier!). This small terrier breed responds well to strong leaders, so don’t be afraid to teach your pup who’s boss while also providing all of their favorite things (treats, food, and affection).
Papillon literally means butterfly in French and this breed gets this name because their ears resemble a butterfly! Papillons are very low maintenance which makes them attractive to owners, particularly first-time pet parents. But, they’re also another of the most trainable small dog breeds and this is because of their alertness, quick study, and eagerness to please!
11. Shetland Sheepdog
Shetland Sheepdogs (or "Shelties") are a kind and gentle breed and respond well to a calm training style. They aren’t the type of dog you can force into behaving, but they still make our list of most trainable dog breeds because, with the proper approach, they are eager to please. Use gentle guidance, positive reinforcements, and treats to train a Sheltie.
Like some of the other dogs on this list, Rottweilers have a long history of working with humans. In fact, they were used as cattle dogs up to 2,000 years ago! Some people think Rottweilers are stubborn, and they sure can be, but with the proper care and training, they can be a highly obedient family dog. You just need to be consistent with their training and regularly give them new things to learn.
13. Blue Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog)
Blue Heelers (or Australian Cattle Dogs) are known for their independence, but they also form strong connections with their primary caregiver. Because of this, they are typically devoted to their pet parents and enjoy learning new tricks in an attempt to impress their owners. They are great guard dogs and extremely loyal to their few closest family members. When training your Blue Heeler, think of new and exciting challenges for them regularly, otherwise, they will get bored and act out in other ways.
14. Australian Shepherd
“Aussies” are known for being high-energy, but they are also highly trainable and get along well with humans including children, and other pets including cats and dogs. They are eager to please and enjoy both simple commands and more complicated training. They are an active breed that loves to stay busy, making training a fun activity for both the pup and their owner.
15. Pit Bull Terriers
Pit bulls often get a bad reputation but in fact, they are an extremely loveable breed, loyal, and easy to train. They respond well to positive reinforcement and are keen to please. Pit bulls form strong connections with their owner and will do whatever it takes to impress them and earn their love.
Our Final Thoughts on Trainable Dogs
Remember, every breed of dog is trainable. What it really comes down to is the patience of their pet parent. Even the "most trainable dog breed" can't be trained by a frustrated, impatient owner.
Owning a dog, particularly a puppy or rescue that needs training, requires kind, calm, and knowledgeable input from you so make sure you put the work in to help you, your household, and your dog have a loving life together.
Johnstone, Gemma. “10 Best Dog Breeds for Obedience.” The Spruce Pets, 2 Sept. 2021, https://www.thesprucepets.com/most-obedient-dog-breeds-4796922
“Revealed! 32 of the Most Trainable Dogs for First Time Pet Parents.” TheGoodyPet, 4 Oct. 2021, https://www.thegoodypet.com/most-trainable-dogs
Stephanie Gibeault, MSc. “13 Of the Most Trainable Breeds.” American Kennel Club, 22 Mar. 2018, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/13-of-the-most-trainable-breeds/
“Which Dog Breeds Are Most Trainable?” Purely Pets Insurance, https://www.purelypetsinsurance.co.uk/blogs/which-dog-breeds-are-most-trainable/
This post was updated on 06/22/2022. This post was originally published on 10/25/2021.