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How Smart Are Australian Shepherds? The Surprising Answer!

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Red Tri-Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are working dogs that love to please their human companions. They have striking coats and beautiful bright eyes. These dogs have become popular in households across the United States due to their loyalty and ability to get along well with children. Many people say that the Australian Shepherd is extremely intelligent. Is there any truth to this? There is! Let’s discuss the topic in more depth here.

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Yes, Australian Shepherds Are Smart

Australian Shepherds are incredibly intelligent dogs, and it shows in their performance. They take extremely well to obedience and agility training. Where it might take another dog many tries to learn a command, this breed can usually do it within just a few tries. One reason for the Australian Shepherd’s intelligence is their natural herding and problem-solving abilities.

They are also extremely eager to please their human companions, so they work hard to learn what they are being taught. We humans must take on the responsibility of training Australian Shepherds to get the most out of their intelligence. Without training, these dogs can get bored and destructive. They may also become too excited in social situations to control their behavior, which can make them seem less intelligent than they really are.

Australian Shepherd
Image by: Petra Heike Laicher, Pixabay

They Aren’t the Smartest Dogs in the World

A professor of canine psychology named Stanley Coren wrote a book called “The Intelligence of Dogs,” which was published in 1994. In the book, he ranks dog breeds based on their intelligence using several evaluation factors, including how well they understand commands and how well they obey those commands. The Australian Shepherd was rated number 42 in intelligence out of 130 dog breeds.

So, they are not the smartest dogs on the block, but they certainly are not the least intelligent. It’s important to keep in mind that the rankings are based on training and obedience. The quality of training that your Australian Shepherd gets can affect their overall intelligence scores. The better your dog’s training is, the smarter they are bound to get as they learn new things throughout their life.

Australian Shepherds Are Easy to Train But —

While this dog breed is smart and easy to train, patience and consistency are important when it comes to the training process. Australian Shepherds tend to pick up on basic obedience quickly, but their cleverness and tendency to lose interest quickly can make extended training tougher. Consistency is key at this point. With confidence and proper techniques, it is possible to train your Australian Shepherd to learn extensive commands and tricks. They can do excellent on the agility field too.

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Final Thoughts

Australian Shepherds are smart animals that deserve the opportunity to expand their horizons through proper training. These dogs love to please their human companions, so they will work hard to use their smarts and make you proud. If you aren’t experienced in training dogs, consider working with a professional trainer.


Featured Image Credit: Fotoschauer, Shutterstock

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Authored by

Rachael has been a freelance writer since 2000, in which time she has had an opportunity to research and write about many different topics while working to master the art of fusing high-quality content with effective content marketing strategies. She lives off the grid in Hawaii with her husband, her garden, and her rescue animals including 5 dogs, a cat, a goat, and dozens of chickens. She is an artist at heart and loves...Read more

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