The Most Obedient Dog Breeds

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Obedience is a very desirable trait in a pet dog and an absolute necessity in a working dog. The American Kennel Club recommends that every dog owner consider some form of obedience training for their canine, not just to ensure good behavior but to establish good communication skills.

Obedience is one of the AKC’s oldest sporting events, and ranges from walking on- and off-leash to retrieving and jumping. The guidelines say that dogs must demonstrate willingness and enjoyment as part of the obedience trials. (Here are the smartest dog breeds in America.)

To determine the most obedient dog breeds, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the report “Dogs and home insurance: what you need to know” from insurance comparison company Dog breeds were ranked based on a survey of more than 200 dog obedience judges. Information on a breed’s personality attributes, typical size, and life expectancy came from the American Kennel Club.

The most obedient breed of all, according to the report, is the Border Collie, which is described as being energetic and remarkably bright. 

“Having a job to perform, like agility or herding or obedience work is key to Border happiness,” AKC says. That might also apply to some of the other breeds on our list, including the German Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdog, and Australian Cattle Dog. For contrast, these are the hardest dog breeds to train.

The Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever, two of the most popular pets, are also high scorers. Our list also includes breeds that some people find intimidating: the Doberman Pinscher and Rottweiler. The Rottweiler in particular has a reputation for being aggressive and dangerous, but that reputation may be undeserved based on its ranking here.

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10. Australian Cattle Dog
> Attributes: Alert, curious, pleasant
> Typical size: 17-20 inches, 35-50 pounds
> Life expectancy: 12-16 years

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9. Rottweiler
> Attributes: Loyal, loving, confident guardian
> Typical size: 22-27 inches, 80-135 pounds
> Life expectancy: 9-10 years

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8. Papillon
> Attributes: Friendly, alert, happy
> Typical size: 8-11 inches, 5-10 pounds
> Life expectancy: 14-16 years

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7. Labrador Retriever
> Attributes: Friendly, active, outgoing
> Typical size: 21.5-24.5 inches, 55-80 pounds
> Life expectancy: 10-12 years

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6. Shetland Sheepdog
> Attributes: Playful, energetic, bright
> Typical size: 13-16 inches, 15-25 pounds
> Life expectancy: 12-14 years

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5. Doberman Pinscher
> Attributes: Fearless, loyal, alert
> Typical size: 24-28 inches, 60-100 pounds
> Life expectancy: 10-12 years

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4. Golden Retriever
> Attributes: Friendly, Intelligent, devoted
> Typical size: 21.5-24 inches, 55-75 pounds
> Life expectancy: 10-12 years

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3. German Shepherd
> Attributes: Confident, courageous, smart
> Typical size: 22-26 inches, 50-90 pounds
> Life expectancy: 7-10 years

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2. Poodle
> Attributes: Active, proud, very smart
> Typical size: over 15 inches, 40-70 pounds
> Life expectancy: 10-18 years

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1. Border Collie
> Attributes: Affectionate, smart, energetic
> Typical size: 18-22 inches, 30-55 pounds
> Life expectancy: 12-15 years

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