The Smartest Mid-Size Dog Breeds

Medium-sized dogs are a great option for those looking for a canine lover who might not be as intimidating as some of the larger breeds.

The “smarter” the dog, the easier it is to train. Here are some of the easiest dogs to train, measuring between 15 and 25 inches.


Barbet dogs are affectionate and extremely intelligent
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A barbet is a medium-sized breed of dog with a lovely curly coat. They can be black, beige, gray, or brown, and occasionally have white markings.

These lovable dogs are described by the AKC as “sweet natured” and “bright”, which also says that they are “very intelligent” and “learn new things quickly”.

Barbets have a life expectancy of between 12 and 14 years, so this clever pet could be a friend for a long time.

Australian shepherd

Australian shepherd
The Australian Shepherd is intelligent, with piercing eyes
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A stunning breed, the Australian Shepherd was bred to be tough ranch dog.

Its fur is a patchwork of rust, white and black spots, and it is very hardworking.

The AKC says these dogs are “remarkably intelligent” and “quite capable of deceiving an unsuspecting novice owner”. You have been warned!

Appenzell Mountain dog

Appenzell Mountain dog
Appenzeller Sennenhund dogs are active, playful and intelligent
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Native to Switzerland, this breed was built for raising livestock and working on farms. They are agile and lively, according to the AKC, and have a tri-colored coat.

The AKC says of the breed, “He is lively and spirited, confident, reliable and fearless.”

“The intelligence of this breed makes them very capable learners,” continues the AKC.

However, according to the AKC, due to their energetic character, they are not suitable for living in apartments.

Barbado da Terceira

Barbado da Terceira
This breed is great for kids and has beautiful, fluffy fur
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This breed of dog is really great with young children and often needs a lot of contact with people to be happy and contented.

They are fluffy, have large, unruly fur and are often described as great companions.

The AKC says, “The breed is intelligent, easy to train, docile and willful, happy and sensitive.”

“The Barbado da Terceira is an assertive breed that is often a tyrant to other dogs, but is cute to its owner and family members.”


Standard poodle
Dog owners can have a lot of fun with a poodle coat
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Poodles come in three varieties: standard (15 inches at the shoulder); Miniature (under 15 inches at the shoulder) or toy (no more than 10 inches). The standard poodle is medium in size and extremely intelligent.

Says the AKC, “Forget those old stereotypes of poodles and wimps. Poodles are eager, athletic, and wickedly clever ‘real dogs’ of remarkable versatility.”

Labrador Retriever

Labradors can have three different coat colors
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A breed very popular with American dog owners, Labradors are an extremely intelligent and cute breed of dog.

Described as “friendly” and “sociable”, Labradors are sociable companions and are ideal for any family.

The AKC says, “Labs are notoriously friendly. They are companionable roommates who bond with the entire family, and they socialize well with neighborhood dogs and people.”

Border collie

Border collie
Border collies are active and intelligent dogs
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Smart, energetic, and affectionate, these dogs are a classic guardian breed.

Standing 18 to 22 inches at the shoulder, they’re generally brilliant to work out. The AKC says, “The intelligence, athleticism and trainability of Borders have a perfect outlet for agility training.”

Golden retriever

Golden retriever
Golden retrievers are lovable, obedient, and intelligent
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Golden Retrievers, a Scottish hunting dog, are an incredibly popular breed.

Their friendly demeanor and loyalty make them a popular choice as guide dogs and are widely used on search and rescue teams.

The AKC says of the breed, “Goldens are sociable, trustworthy, and eager family dogs and are relatively easy to train. They adopt life happily and playfully, and maintain this puppy behavior into adulthood.”

Belgian Tervuren

Belgian Shepherd Dog Tervuren
Belgian Shepherds Tervuren are built for herding
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The Belgian Tervuren is a medium-sized herding dog and is both possessive and affectionate.

Originally from Belgium, this breed was used by farmers to herd their livestock and guard their land before the Industrial Revolution.

They were bred to be highly intelligent. Says AKC, “Tervs are delighted with their ability to handle any task, and owners say a mischievous sense of humor is at work when Tervs outsmart their loved one.”

Brittany Spaniel

Brittany Spaniel
Brittany Spaniels are fun-loving and loyal
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Bright, fun-loving, and loyal, Brittany Spaniels were bred to be versatile hunting dogs.

Their fur is strong and comes in white and bright orange patterns. The AKC says it’s a great athletic companion: “The zeal and versatility that make Brittanys incomparable hunters can be incorporated into the canine sport. Obedience, agility, flyball, dock diving, whatever, this trainable breed is geared for it . “

Flat coat retriever

Flatcoat Retriever
Flatcoat Retrievers are a sporty breed of dog
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The Flatcoat Retriever is a relatively new breed and has a silky, wavy coat. They appear to be among the happiest of all dog breeds and are slow to mature.

The AKC says it’s “a distinctive hallmark is the long head, unique among retrievers, that projects an intelligent and kind expression.”

Cocker spaniel

Cocker spaniel
Cocker Spaniels are born hunting dogs
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Cocker Spaniels are often described as “gentle, intelligent, and happy” and stand between 13.5 and 15.5 inches tall. They live between 10 and 14 years old and are born hunting dogs.

You are immensely intelligent and are brilliant with young children.

The AKC said of the breed, “Cockers are avid playmates for children and are easily trained as companions and athletes. They are big enough to be athletic but compact enough to be portable.”

Miniature American Shepherd

With a shoulder height of just 14 to 18 inches, the Miniature American Shepherd is like a smaller version of the Australian Shepherd.

These dogs are affectionate with young children and have loads of intelligence.

The AKC says: “Minis are a real herding dog every inch: energetic, versatile, robust and extremely bright.”

Belgian shepherd dog

Belgian shepherd dog
Belgian Shepherds need a lot of affection from their owners
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Another shepherd, the Belgian Shepherd, is described by the AKC as being alert, alert and serious.

These dogs are approximately 20 to 26 inches tall and have dark, thick fur. They are a sensitive breed and love regular contact and affection from their people.

The AKC states that their “dark eyes sparkle with an inquiring intelligence” and that they are “Belgian Shepherds in every way that are bright-eyed and bushy”.


Briard dog
Briards are great with children and very loving
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Briards are good with children and protect their families.

Often described as confident and intelligent, this breed originated in France where it would protect cattle ranches and sheep.

The AKC says this breed “possesses qualities common to many other shepherds: trainability, brains, a protective eye for the family (especially children they consider their flock), and caution towards outsiders.”

Standard Schnauzer

Schnauzers have very distinctive eyebrows
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There are giant schnauzers, miniature schnauzers, and standard schnauzers. The standard schnauzers are medium-sized, smart, and fearless dogs.

Both are loving with their families and good with young children. They are very easy to train, and the AKC says they have “sharp intelligence”.

The AKC continues, “Standards are sociable companions, attentive guard dogs, avid backyard squirrel hunters, being good with children and protecting loved ones.”

American leopard dog

Described as intelligent, sociable, and energetic, American Leopard Hounds are brilliant companions.

They are great with kids as they love to play. According to the AKC, “American leopards are one of the oldest tree dog breeds in the US and have extremely powerful tracking abilities, often capable of tracking prey for miles.”

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