Everyone loves to think of their beloved pet as the best and brightest, where many demonstrate an array of tricks and can obey basic commands. But some dogs show signs of above average intelligence, where an awareness of emotion and a willingness to learn set them aside from the norm.

Certain dog breeds such as Border Collies and Golden Retrievers are known for their intelligence and trainability, and are typically chosen to take on jobs such as sheep herding and support work. Whilst these dogs have a certified intelligence level, it is possible to tell how smart your pet is just from their everyday behaviours.

Read on to find out if your dog is on a higher plane of intelligence than most.

Problem Solving

Most dogs enjoy earning treats, but some are a cut above the rest when it comes to solving complex problems. Treat dispensing puzzles are a great motivator, and come in a range of difficulty levels, where some demand a higher level of cognitive engagement. The speed at which your dog can problem solve complex tasks is a great indicator of intelligence level.


Ostensibly humans and dogs are speaking different languages, but if your pet is smart, they will find methods to communicate their needs in a way you can understand. A basic demonstration of this is when your dog indicates they’d like to go out for a walk. More advanced examples would include letting you know about oncoming illness, or warning you about various dangers, either outdoors or around the house.


Some dog breeds are easier to train than others, but an intelligent dog will be receptive to the mental stimulation that comes with frequent training and trick learning, where they are eager to work with their trainer in order to engage their intelligence, rather than merely to win a treat. A smart dog will also have a capacity to learn from others, whether by watching the behaviour of other trained dogs, or by mimicking human behaviour.

Acting Out

Even when highly trained, a particularly intelligent dog will misbehave if they are lacking in a desired level of stimulation. Destructive behaviours can be a sign of boredom, or that your dog feels unfulfilled by their current routines. Like humans, a smart dog will become restless if their day becomes repetitive and dull.

Emotional Awareness

A sign that your dog is a cut above the rest is if you feel like they really understand your full spectrum of emotions. The best guide dogs or support animals can empathise with and respond to human emotions that are different from their own. This means offering comfort at times of distress, or understanding when you are unwell.

Whether your dog is the smartest of the litter, or not quite the brightest of the bunch, they will always need a dependable vet surgery for their medical needs. Bay Vets offer a range of support and diagnostic services, including pet vaccinations, microchipping procedures and dentistry. Contact us now to make an appointment, or if you’d like more information about your pet’s wellbeing.