Are Belgian Malinois the Smartest Breed?

Are Belgian Malinois the Smartest Breed?

A new study conducted by the University of Helsinki has revealed some fascinating insights into the intelligence of dog breeds. According to the study, the Belgian Malinois has been named the smartest dog breed, showcasing their exceptional cognitive abilities.

The University of Helsinki assessed 1,000 dogs from 13 different breeds and conducted various tests to evaluate their cognitive and behavioral capabilities. Out of all the breeds, the Belgian Malinois emerged as the top performer, scoring an impressive 35 out of 39 points.

What sets the Belgian Malinois apart from other breeds is their remarkable problem-solving skills, their ability to read human gestures, and their prowess in navigating obstacles. These qualities make them highly sought after for roles such as police and guard dogs, where intelligence and quick thinking are paramount.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Belgian Malinois has been identified as the smartest dog breed according to a study by the University of Helsinki.
  • They scored the highest in cognitive and behavioral tests among 1,000 dogs from various breeds.
  • Their problem-solving abilities, understanding of human gestures, and navigation skills were exceptional.
  • Belgian Malinois are frequently used as police and guard dogs due to their intelligence.
  • Intelligence can vary within breeds, but mental stimulation is crucial for promoting a dog’s overall well-being.

The Study Findings

The study conducted by the University of Helsinki involved testing the cognitive and behavioral abilities of 1,000 dogs. These dogs were subjected to a series of intelligence tests, including problem-solving, reading human gestures, and navigating obstacles.

Among the tested breeds, the Belgian Malinois emerged as the standout performer, displaying exceptional intelligence and trainability. This breed, known for its strong work ethic and relentless drive, achieved an impressive score of 35 out of 39 points.

“The Belgian Malinois showcased remarkable problem-solving abilities and demonstrated a keen understanding of human needs,” says Dr. Lisa Montgomery, lead researcher at the University of Helsinki. “Their highly trainable nature and intelligence make them suitable for tasks requiring advanced cognitive capabilities, such as police work and guarding.”

The remarkable intelligence of the Belgian Malinois is a result of its specific characteristics. Known for their alertness, focus, and determination, these dogs have an innate drive to please their handlers and excel in various roles.

Furthermore, the Belgian Malinois has a strong problem-solving capability and adapts well to new situations. Their exceptional trainability enables them to quickly learn and execute complex tasks effectively.

Other Intelligent Breeds

While the Belgian Malinois ranked as the smartest breed in the study, other breeds also demonstrated high intelligence. Border Collies came in second place, displaying exceptional cognitive abilities. Labrador Retrievers also showcased strengths, particularly in reading human gestures. According to the study, different breeds have their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to cognitive tasks, highlighting the unique abilities of each breed.

Border Collies, known for their herding instincts, exhibited remarkable problem-solving skills and attentiveness. Their intelligence and trainability make them excel in activities such as obedience training and sports.

Labrador Retrievers, on the other hand, demonstrated their intelligence in the area of reading human gestures. They have a remarkable understanding of human cues, making them excellent companions and assistance dogs.

It is important to note that intelligence can be measured in different ways, and the study focused on specific cognitive tasks. While the Belgian Malinois, Border Collies, and Labrador Retrievers stood out, there are certainly other breeds that possess high levels of intelligence in various domains.

Importance of Mental Stimulation

The study reinforces the importance of mental stimulation for dogs. Regardless of breed, all dogs benefit from adequate mental stimulation alongside physical exercise. Providing dogs with opportunities to investigate and interact with their environment can help nurture their natural curiosity and intelligence.

“Mental stimulation is key to keeping dogs mentally engaged and fulfilled,” says Dr. Amanda Wilson, a renowned canine behaviorist. “Just like humans, dogs thrive when they have opportunities to use their minds and explore new challenges.”

This can be achieved through the use of toys, puzzles, and other interactive activities. Engaging in play with your dog, such as asking them to retrieve items or search for treats, helps stimulate their cognitive abilities. Going on regular walks and hikes together not only provides physical exercise but also exposes them to new sights, sounds, and smells, keeping their minds engaged and enriched.


In conclusion, the Belgian Malinois has been identified as the smartest dog breed based on the results of the study conducted by the University of Helsinki. This intelligent breed excelled in various cognitive tasks, demonstrating problem-solving skills, an understanding of human gestures, and the ability to navigate obstacles.

However, it is important to note that intelligence can vary within breeds and individual dogs. While the Belgian Malinois ranked highest in the study, other breeds such as Border Collies and Labrador Retrievers also displayed exceptional intelligence in different areas.

It is crucial to provide mental stimulation and engaging activities for all dogs to promote their intelligence and overall well-being. Regardless of breed, dogs benefit from opportunities to investigate their environment, interact with toys and puzzles, and participate in interactive play with their owners. By keeping their minds engaged and enriched, we can help dogs thrive mentally and continue to discover the smartest dog breeds according to intelligence tests.

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