By Wendy Young
Last Updated August 12, 2021

Finding dogs that are easy to train doesn’t need to be a heavy task. Since most pups are eager to please, a lot of it comes down to utilizing the right training techniques and body language. However, it’s no secret that some dog breeds are easier to train than others. So, if you’re looking for easy to train dogs to get a headstart on your bond, or even for work purposes, we’ve compiled a list of the easiest dog breeds to train.

Check out our list, and be sure to check up on the pros and cons of each type of dog. After all, just because you’ve found the easiest dog breeds to train, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right dog breed for your needs. That’s why we’ve given you the basic details of everything you need to know. So, whether you’re looking for a family dog, a guard dog or anything in between, you can be sure that these highly intelligent animals will be with you for life.

Border Collie

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a list of the easiest dog breeds to train without coming across a Border Collie. These intelligent dogs are considered the smartest dogs in the world for a reason! These little livewires live to please dog owners – but can easily become bored and require lots of mental stimulation.

Related Post: Best Dog Food for Border Collies

border collie

Border Collies were originally bred as herding dogs, across the rocky highlands and Welsh borders – hence the name. However, these days their highly trainable ways are used to meet a wide range of different needs and tasks. Friendly, loving and affectionate, you’ll find the border collie fits in well to both family life and as a working dog.

As such, this active dog is perfect for both human companionships and as therapy dogs.

Just be sure to start their training as soon as possible. You’ll be surprised how quickly rhese tiny pups pick up new tricks and learn basic commands. Which allows you to move on to more advanced training fun. After all, there’s a good reason why you’ll see the Border Collie so frequently, in canine activities such as Crufts and sports run by the American Kennel Club!

In terms of physical characteristics, there are rough and smooth-coated varieties to the Border Collie. Both are medium-sized dogs that are ideally suited to medium homes and big gardens. Their quick and nimble bodies often make them prime candidates for agility trials and other canine sports. All of which suits their eager to please personality and constant desire for physical and mental stimulation.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are the ultimate family dog. Size and shape can sometimes vary, but these medium-big dogs are lovable and enthusiastic family members, who also happen to be highly trainable. They’re best suited to busy, active households, as Golden Retrievers can happily spend hours on end playing – both on land and in water!

Like many intelligent breeds, Golden Retrievers thrive in a home where they’re in constant company.

These are active dogs that get along well with children, other dogs and other animals such as cats. As such, they are beloved as a service dog and respond very well to dog training – especially reward-based training, as the Golden Retriever lives for positive reinforcement.

Physically, this surprisingly powerful breed has a muscular body from its history as a gundog, allowing the Golden Retriever to move quickly but with a bouncy, happy gait. If it weren’t for their friendly eyes and ever-wagging tails, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this highly intelligent dog was rather serious. Just be aware that their coat needs regular grooming, as the Golden Retriever tends to moult considerably.

Shetland Sheepdog

shetland sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdogs, also referred to as Shelties, are an incredibly sensitive, affectionate and active dog that is easily trained and loves to please their masters. Initially bred to help their masters keep away hungry animals from gardens and general farmland, these dogs are best-known for the Lassie franchise.

Despite being very loving toward their families, the Shetland Sheepdog can be very protective.

If you’re after bringing your dog along with you to lots of social outings, be sure to keep them well-socialized as puppies. This will help your dog to remain happy in busy situations, as well as reducing the risk of an over-enthusiastic Sheltie from nipping anyone, while protecting you and your family.

Being active and athletic, the breed is ideally suited to dog sports and fares well in agility competitions. Of course, the Shetland Sheepdog also serves well as a companion, since they love to be around their family and do not tolerate being alone for long periods of time. As such, the breed makes a great therapy dog.

Miniature Schnauzer

Dog laying on pier of river, green background.

Miniature Schnauzers are one of the top dogs in the US – always landing in the Top 20 of most popular breeds. This should come as no surprise, when you consider the benefits of the breed. Indeed, this dog is known for being incredibly loyal to its family and being a bit of a handful – despite its smaller size.

The Miniature Schnauzer was initially bred as a ratter and, as such, this breed is high-energy and full of spunk – not surprising, given that the Schnauzer falls into the Terrier group of dogs. As such, expect feistiness and plenty of vocalizing. Meaning that this is not a dog that is suited to apartment living or being in close quarters with lots of strangers or other dogs. At least, not without plenty of training!

Luckily, these dogs also happen to be one of the easiest dog breeds to train.

So, if you’ve got the time to dedicate to them initially, it’ll definitely pay off later on. With consistent training, they can prove their adaptability to different households. Thus, being tolerant of longer periods alone, they’re great for working households.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers have long been one of the most popular breeds of dog in the Western world – and for good reason. The Labrador Retriever were initially bred as hunting dogs – fetching and retrieving (hence the name) game and fish. Actually hailing from Newfoundland, nobody quite knows why the name of Labrador stuck, but stick it did.

This breed of dog is known for their laidback attitude and need to please their owners.

Labrador Retrievers can also sometimes be a little too friendly with strangers, so don’t expect to discover any guard dogs hidden in there. A little clumsy – often accidentally whacking family members with their “otter tail” – they may be a little too boisterous for those with young children. Otherwise, these big dogs will your life with nothing but love.

German Shepherd

Beautiful german shepherd dog lay in autumn forest

German Shepherds are best known for working with law enforcement, due to being one of the most trainable breeds. The German Shepherd is also exceptionally loyal, making them a prime choice when it comes to picking out guard dogs. However, around their owners and “pack”, they’re also incredibly loving and this breed will do everything they can to make you happy.

At times, the German Shepherd will get a bad rap as a vicious dog.

But the reality is that the breed is simply a working dog – and needs a strong pack leader to follow. Much like the Border Collie, they can easily become bored and destructive, if they don’t receive enough mental and physical stimulation.

Being so full of energy and extremely sensitive, means that owners of a German Shepherd should be experienced with dogs. Otherwise, this dog can be too much of a handful. As such, they’re not suited to families that are busy or those that have no interest in an active lifestyle. With the right training, however, these loyal followers will be devoted for life.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Corgi dog pembroke welsh corgi walking outdoor in summer park

If you prefer to look for small dogs to join your household, but still want to work with the easiest dog breeds to train, you’ll find everything you need in the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Not to be confused with the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, these tiny-but-mighty herding dogs have strong cattle herding instincts.

Part of the AKC’s herding group, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a breed that loves to be given a job.

Despite their smaller size, they are often described as being fearless and remarkably independent, so this may not be the right breed for your needs if you’re seeking a constant companion or Velcro dog. They are, however, surprisingly good as watchdogs and will happily guard your home and care for the family.

Long and low, with a stocky body, these dogs can sometimes come with health problems associated with their spine. As such, exercise is not just important for their overall happiness, but for the good of their health, too.

Poodle

Portrait of a young apricot poodle dog on the sunny beach.

Poodles have long been held to a higher standard than other dogs, being one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Their elegant and proud nature gives an air of superiority – especially when compared to many others on our list. However, with the right owner, this dog is capable of much more than impressive hair and being hypoallergenic.

As one of the easiest dogs to train, thanks to an incredibly active mind, new tricks are easy to pick up.

And dog owners should be ready with many tricks to train with, since the quick brain of this pup can easily become destructive, when bored. On the other hand, Poodles also have a surprisingly clown-like streak in their nature. So, you may find that these pups love a good game – meaning toys work wonders during training.

Border Terrier

Autumn dog portrait Border terrier

Smaller, rough-coated, and full of character, Border Terriers are an oft-overlooked breed that has a lot to offer. While they don’t always adapt well to multi-pet households, they’re great for human families both large and small. The Border Terrier is good with kids (as long as the children are made aware of good human-dog socialization) and is affectionate when at home. This is despite being rough-and-ready when out and about!

Like many in the Terrier group, consistent training ensures your Border Terrier is happy and healthy.

They also need plenty of exercise, as these dogs were originally ratters, and thrive out in the country. If you have a cat or other pets, you’ll also need to be wary and offer plenty of training, since their instincts can sometimes take over when they see a rodent or cat.

This is a notoriously hardy breed, which excels when being given a job to do. That being said, they’re still very popular with those who are simply looking for a low-maintenance pup that still holds a lot of spirit.

Afghan Hound

Aristocratic show dog - an afghan hound breed portrait

Afghan Hounds are another elegant dog that often has their abilities overlooked, in favor of their looks. Easy to train and remarkably adaptable, this is a dog that will easily fit into any kind of household – providing you’re willing to put in the time and energy needed to keep the breed happy. Their only downfall is that they do not tolerate being alone very well.

As such, they need to be close to their families and thrive in a busy household, but struggle with those who work longer days.

Initially bred as hunting dogs, in the mountains of Afghanistan, the breed originally fought against leopards and other large animals. This was after running long distances, often in the cold, where their flowing coat kept them warm. As such, you can imagine the energy that is packed into their sleek bodies!

These days, the Afghan Hound excels in lure coursing or other high-speed activities. However, they have kept their aloof, independent nature. Meaning that this is not the best choice if you’re looking for an affectionate pup that loves to be by your side.

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher on the background of autumn trees

It may come as no surprise to find that the Doberman Pinscher is one of the easiest dog breeds to train in the dog world. Often pictured in media as being aggressive and willing to attack on sight, they’re actually incredibly affectionate with family members.

Instead, their personality is very reactive, as opposed to proactive, and they don’t go looking for trouble. Of course, that’s not to say that those who are looking for trouble won’t find it, with the Dobie. Naturally, this makes the Doberman Pinscher a great choice for those who want a highly trainable dog for work purposes.

However, this is a breed that thrives in active environments.

Without plenty of mental and physical stimulation – and we really mean plenty – and will become restless, destructive and even ill without this. It’s also worth noting that this is not a breed you can buy, train and then leave to guard your workspace. Instead, they thrive in an environment where they can be close to loved ones.

Top Dog Breed for Training

When it comes to finding the top breed for training, there’s no one-size-fits-all option. For many, finding a guard dog will be top priority, whether that be for home or the workplace. Meanwhile, others will be after a family dog. Or, possibly, even a service dog – whatever service that might be.

Luckily, our list of the easiest dog breeds to train covers a wide range of different types and needs. So, do feel free to read through the different types carefully, before making your decision. After all, a dog is for life and one should never be bought or adopted without weighing up the pros and cons of your final choice.

Sources:

  1. Julie Edgar, How Smart Is Your Dog?, WebMD
  2. Top 10 Easy To Train Dog Breed, Wag!
A freelance writer and word nerd, Wendy is a content writer with a knack for getting into the nitty-gritty of pet ownership. For the past three years, she’s been researching and writing a huge range of different topics – but always comes back to her beloved pet articles. Lover of all things four-legged and owner of Harley, Pepper and Rush, Wendy is currently completing her MNSW at Edge Hill University.

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