Who’s a good boy? Not the dog busy rummaging through the garbage…
When it comes to training your dog to be “good”, it isn’t a matter of intelligence. The smartest dogs can be stubborn and free-willed.
Obedience comes down to a balance of intelligence, eagerness to please, and training. And while you can train all dogs, some breeds take to it quicker than others.
Owning a dog is a huge responsibility. Looking after them, training them, and keeping them happy are all part of being a good pet owner. If you’ve been considering adopting a new fur baby, or you’re curious, here is a comprehensive list of the most obedient dog breeds.
1. Labrador Retriever
A popular dog breed, and America’s favorite for the last 30 years, the Labrador Retriever is friendly, energetic, and eager to please.
They are often considered an ideal first pet as you begin learning how to train dogs.
These clever pups love a challenge, which makes training them a pleasure. Their ease of training and their calm and gentle nature has made them a top choice for guide dogs around the world.
As a reward for their efforts, they enjoy the main two options for dogs' treats: food and games of fetch. It’s important to balance these two as Labradors are prone to obesity.
2. German Shepherd
German shepherds were bred for their responsiveness and obedience.
We often see German shepherds trained to be police dogs, guide dogs, service dogs, and search and rescue dogs.
German shepherds are loyal and protective, making them wonderful family dogs. Make sure to train them to prevent aggression towards unfamiliar people and dogs.
Vizslas are an enthusiastic and intelligent breed. They are incredibly loyal once they’ve formed attachments to their owners, and will do anything to impress and please them.
These boisterous canines need regular exercise, and training is an easy way to use up their seemingly endless energy.
4. Golden Retriever
This sweet-faced breed has a gentle, playful, and loving nature. They are great family pets and love the mental stimulation of a good training session.
These pups were actually bred to be hunting dogs! Determined and strong, they respond well to training and can become obedient and well-behaved pets.
5. English Springer Spaniel
Another energetic breed, the English springer spaniel is always looking for a task to do. They are excellent retrievers with a good nose, making them perfect for dog sports.
These joyful dogs love playing, wagging their tails, and feeling helpful. To them, there’s nothing better than carrying your wallet into the house for you.
A poodle has more than just a pretty face. Intelligent and elegant, these pups are devoted to their owners and love learning new and often complex tricks.
They are agile and athletic, making them perfect contenders for dog sports.
7. Border Collie
Border collies are one of the smartest dog breeds. They have an unmatched understanding of their humans; they stay in tune with the people and pets around them.
They are quick and eager to learn, with a strong work ethic and a love of activity.
These clever dogs could be better-named boredom collies because they need a huge amount of mental enrichment to keep them from destroying household items or digging up your yard. This behavior isn’t malicious – they just hate not having something to do!
Another thing they don't enjoy is being left alone. Border collies are prone to separation anxiety, which can be eased with anxiety chews for dogs.
Curious and friendly, the keeshond’s calm demeanor can make their intelligence come as a surprise. They love learning new things and will excel in dog sports due to their natural athleticism.
Because they were bred to be watchdogs, Keeshonds can get quite carried away when barking at strangers. But with a little extra training, you can stop alert barking from getting out of paw.
While most small dog breeds are known to be headstrong and stubborn, the little Havanese are attentive and eager to please.
They thrive on positive reinforcement and will do almost anything for a belly rub and a cuddle. They can become quite shy if they don’t interact with enough people and other dogs, which makes puppy school the perfect place to train them.
10. Manchester Terrier
Manchester terriers have all the responsiveness and intelligence of other terriers, without the feistiness. These pups love being busy, so they tend to focus during training.
Be sure to keep training sessions interesting and challenging so these clever dogs don’t get too bored or frustrated.
11. Doberman Pinscher
Doberman pinschers have a reputation for aggression, but this aggression comes purely from a lack of training. Loyal and protective by nature, a Doberman pinscher responds quickly to training.
This clever breed often plays the role of a guard dog or protection dog, becoming playful and loving under the right ownership and care.
12. Shetland Sheepdog
Shetland sheepdogs are loyal, attentive, and brave. Often described as “shadow dogs”, Shetland sheepdogs form unshakeable bonds with their humans. Combined with their eagerness to please, this loyalty makes them eager to be obedient and easy to train.
Shetland sheepdogs don't tend to display destructive behavior when bored, so you can get away with basic obedience training. But they love a challenge and thrive on the encouragement they get while learning something new.
The Papillon is a gorgeous toy dog that responds surprisingly well to training. They love performing to gain positive reinforcement, so they often learn tricks to show off to their owners.
Their playful nature gets them into trouble if they don’t receive proper training, so they require lots of engagement and mental stimulation to keep entertained.
Rottweilers are a unique breed in that they not only respond well to training, but they crave it. Training is essential to ensure they don't assume a dominant role.
Their reputation for aggression comes from misunderstanding and their protectiveness. Actually, this is a devoted dog that is known to be loving and affectionate with its humans.
15. Australian Cattle Dog
With their active minds and high energy levels, Australian cattle dogs are known for their intelligence and independence. These unfettered pooches choose to obey because it makes them happy, not because they feel the need to please.
They make brilliant guard dogs as they aren’t too fond of strangers, and remain alert and wary when encountering unfamiliar people.
Although loyal and affectionate with their immediate family, their hunt-oriented breeding means they instinctively herd and guard. This can be difficult to train out of them, so families with small children might not be the best fit.
16. Australian Shepherd
A different Aussie dog, the Australian shepherd, easily adopts the role of the family pet. One of their differences from the cattle dog is that they are easier to train. With enough patience and rigorous training, you can teach them not to try ‘herding’ your children!
It’s important to socialize Australian shepherds while they are still young to teach them to enjoy new situations, environments, people, and pets. Otherwise, these devoted pups can become overprotective of their humans.
17. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh corgis are some of the most agreeable house dogs. They were bred for herding, which makes them eager to learn and easy to train.
Corgis are affectionate without being needy and enjoy meeting new people and pets. Early socialization encourages development into a well-mannered, friendly adult. Positive reinforcement and reward-based training is the best method for these sweet dogs.
This is a breed with a sense of humor. Corgis are known to chase children around the yard during playtime!
18. Miniature Schnauzer
There’s nothing miniature about miniature schnauzers’ energy! These boisterous pets require gentle but firm discipline to balance out their energetic nature.
Outgoing, friendly, and excitable, these dogs are not aggressive in the slightest. They need to be taught how to politely greet guests and other animals.
They are intelligent and bright companions who love vigorous playtime. They quickly bore of repetition so training sessions need to be unique and challenging, but they are alert and ready to listen.
19. Belgian Tervuren
Large and in charge, the Belgian Tervuren is one of the most obedient dogs you can find. They are another herding breed with a ton of extra energy, so they need to be trained somewhere with a lot of space.
They can be nervous around strangers, but once they are comfortable with a person they can turn any activity into a game. The most effective training methods take advantage of this!
Harsh discipline quickly discourages this sweet dog, but making the task fun for them works wonders. Belgian Tervurens love mastering new tasks.
Their elegance and agility complement their hardworking nature, making them a delight to train.
20. Belgian Schipperke
Widely regarded as a stubborn breed, the Belgian Schnipperke are headstrong but respond well to careful training. They are small and fiery and need guidance when finding ways to channel their excessive energy.
Watchful by nature, Schipperkes must be taught from a young age that excessive barking will not be tolerated. They are also curious and adventurous, so teaching them to come when called is vital.
Pomeranians are well known for being affectionate and joyful lap dogs. Their smiling face mirrors their happy personalities, while their ears give away their alert intelligence.
These pups love making their humans happy, and will quickly learn tricks if you let them know how clever they are. This is a breed that thrives on attention and encouragement.
Pomeranians excel with agility, rally, and obedience activities, and work well as therapy dogs.
22. German Shorthaired Pointer
Regal and boisterous, the German shorthaired pointer is an eccentric dog breed known for being good with older children.
Training is important for this breed to know where to channel its energy. Destructive behaviors are a sign of boredom for this pooch, as they are not malicious by nature.
They love exploring but don’t enjoy being alone for extended periods of time, so they will often try to get you to come exploring with them. When trained correctly, this is an easy-going and loving pet who is always up for playtime.
23. Cocker Spaniel
Cocker spaniels are known for being gentle and merry. Bred to hunt birds, these dogs are wonderful companions.
The sweet nature of a cocker spaniel makes them ideal for families with children, as they are easily trained and happy to play gently. They don’t have the endless pit of energy that other hunting dogs do, so they will often lie at your feet waiting for you to play.
The cocker spaniel is the poster-dog for people-pleasing. They are sensitive to your tone during training and hate disappointing their humans.
Their favorite rewards are food and attention. Their sensitivity makes harsh correction unnecessary and even counter-productive.
24. Bernese Mountain Dog
The sweet and affectionate nature of the Bernese mountain dog contrasts with its strong, powerful build. These dogs are as clever as they are strong, and love learning tricks to please their favorite person.
The size of large dog breeds makes obedience training a non-negotiable. Be careful with disciplining them as their feelings are easily hurt. They will not respond well to harsh correction or training methods.
These big pooches don’t enjoy being left alone for too long and can develop undesirable behaviors when they feel lonely.
Another hunting dog, Greyhounds are known for being swift racing dogs. Known for agility and grace, these dogs have a sweet and people-pleasing nature.
Little geniuses, greyhounds pick up on commands and new tricks at the speed of light.
Greyhounds are sensitive to harsh weather and loneliness. They thrive on attention, treats, and cuddles. Surprisingly, this is a dog breed that doesn't need much exercise. Their breeding for racing focused on speed rather than endurance!
Looking After The Most Obedient Dog Breeds
All dogs can learn to be obedient with enough patient training and gentle guidance. If you have been looking for the perfect dog to fit into your home, we hope this list of the most obedient dog breeds will help narrow down your search.
Whatever obedience-loving pup you bring home, make sure they feel welcome with a dog bed from Bully Beds. From the smallest pomeranian to the biggest Burmese mountain dog, we've got the perfect beds for your furry best friends.