The 10 Most Trainable Dog Breeds

How cool would it be to own a dog who can roll over on command, jump through a hoop and really just do any trick that will impress friends and family?

There are certain breeds who are thought to be more apt — and eager — to learn new things. In fact, to own some of these dogs, you'll probably want to come up with new tricks and tasks on a regular basis to help keep them entertained. If you're active and have the time to devote to training, then you're in the right place. If not, well, some of these dogs may be more than you bargained for. In general, these trainable dog breeds are also very energetic and intelligent, so don't expect them to settle for snoozing on the couch all day.

From the brainy Border Collie to the versatile Labrador Retriever, meet 10 breeds that can be easy to train.

Dogs Who Respond Well to Training

Border Collie by water

Anna Pozzi, Animal Photography

Border Collie

Border Collies usually like to learn — and do — new things whenever possible. This "workaholic" dog breed rarely sits still, so it's up to you to keep him busy with jobs and canine sports. Train him in agility, obedience, flyball, freestyle and (of course) sheep herding. Who knows? Maybe he could be the next Chaser, a Border Collie who knows a thousand words.

Labrador Retriever

Animal Photography

Labrador Retriever

The versatile Lab can be a companion, show dog, hunting dog, canine athlete, guide dog, service dog, sniffer dog, search and rescue dog, and therapy dog, among other things. So as far as training goes, if you can teach it, the Lab can probably learn it. But you'll need to do your part to train him properly. If you've seen or read Marley and Me, then you know what a Lab puppy is capable of doing to your home when left to his own devices.

Australian Shepherd in Agility

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

Australian Shepherd

You'll likely need an arsenal of tricks, commands and games to keep the energetic and intelligent Australian Shepherd busy and entertained. Take advantage of his generally trainable nature by teaching him tricks you both find fun. Agility, flyball, flying disc games and herding trials can be great ways to spend time together and burn off some of his energy. But if you fail to fill his days with activities, the Aussie will probably find a (destructive) way to entertain himself.

Closeup of Border Terrier dog breed

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

Border Terrier

It's hard for us to believe that the Border Terrier isn't more popular. The breed tends to be good with children, is pretty laid back compared to other Terriers, can adapt to a variety of living situations and is usually considered highly trainable. He often excels in dog sports like agility and can be trained to do therapy work.

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

German Shepherd Dog

As a generally intelligent and active breed, the German Shepherd needs a job to do. Thankfully, the breed typically responds well to training; learning new tricks is one of many things he usually enjoys. Start training him from the first day you get him, so he doesn't develop obnoxious levels of barking, digging and food stealing.


Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography


She may be tiny, but that doesn't stop the typically brainy Papillon from needing plenty of exercise and activities to fill her day. And we mean it. You'd be surprised how much damage and noise a bored Papillon can create! Besides teaching her tricks and taking her on plenty of walks around the neighborhood, engage her mind and body by training her to do dog sports.

Poodle Laying on Carpet

Leesia Teh, Animal Photography


The Poodle may be known for her looks, but she should be revered for her brains. Thanks to her heritage as a circus dog, the typically intelligent breed is often capable of learning all sorts of tricks and commands. Just don't let her outwit you (at least not too often), as she also has the potential to be rather stubborn.

Shetland Sheedog dog breed

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Shetland Sheepdog

Another smart breed, the Shetland Sheepdog is usually capable of picking up almost any trick you care to teach her, especially if it's related to agility. Besides basic commands, impress your friends by teaching her to jump through a hoop or over a bar.

Doberman dog breed on agility course

Alice van Kempen, Animal Photography

Doberman Pinscher

Surprised to see the Doberman on this list? Though he may have a reputation as an attack dog, if properly trained and socialized, he can be a friendly and stable companion. He needs an owner who will give him interesting tasks to do, or out of boredom and loneliness, the Dobie may become destructive and live up to his aggressive reputation.

Salt and pepper Miniature Schnauzer standing on stairs

Karin Newstrom, Animal Photography

Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer's typical ability to learn combined with his high energy level can make him a prime candidate for agility and obedience competitions. Just keep in mind that this Terrier likes to bark, so curbing that behavior is one thing you'll want to teach him early on, and it's probably not something he'll ever stop doing entirely.

Of course, please remember that each dog is an individual, and your training experience with them will comprise many factors, such as the dog's overall health and temperament, as well as your own expertise. So though a breed on this list might be more likely to be trainable, that's never a guarantee that the pup you bring home will take to learning tricks with ease.

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