Why are Australian shepherds ranked in the 40s in "intelligence rankings"?

My teenage daughter wants to get a dog for agility , obedience, jogging partner and a loveable pet. She is wondering why aussies are ranked so far below border collies in intelligence? I've seen aussies who seem very intelligent. Although we have a large property and are very active (jogging, biking, hiking and hopefully agility) I am afraid to get a border collie because of everything I am reading. (neurotic etc. ) My daughter is stuck on the border and not the aussie because of the dog intelligence ranking lists. Any comments from intelligent Aussie owners? Are they just as easy to train, are they less neurotic than borders? Am I wrong about border collies?

Asked by Member 846943 on Jun 20th 2009 Tagged australianshepherd in Australian Shepherd
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I doubt any test giving low intelligence scores to Aussies is valid. I don't own one, but have seen many excel at 4-H. Trust me, I see a lot of 4-H. The vet doing checks on 14 year old Aster at the state fair last summer said I was the oldest 4-H'er he ever saw. I told him we were going to keep trying until we win.

I also know South East Guide Dogs has been very successful using them. Would you trust a dumb dog to help you across a busy street?

There are a lot of tests based on speculation that flunk the reflecting the real world test.

Aster answered on Jun 21st.

Other Answers


Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011)

(Not an Aussie owner.)
The intelligent lists are based on ease of training. The flaw is, just because is not easy to train doesn't necesarrily mean that it isn't smart. In fact, stubborn dogs are often smart emough to avoid learning what they do not want to learn.
As for BCs, I answered that in your other question.

Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011) answered on 6/20/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Bam-Bam, CGC

Let you daughter know that intelligence is in the eye of the beholder. How you define intelligence is what matters. If she wants trainability, if she wants a problem-solver, etc. And each individual dog is different. Some people would say my mastiff is stupid because I can't get him to put himself in the car, he gets a boost from me. I think he's pretty smart because he's figured out he doesn't HAVE to do it on his own.

Bam-Bam, CGC answered on 6/20/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I would encourage your daughter to research the "tests" involved - what activities do they ask the dogs to do; how is "intelligence" measured? That can tell you a lot about whether or not the test is useful to you in choosing a dog breed. We have two mixed breeds in our family - they are both very intelligent, but in completely different ways. For example, if you ask the dogs to do a trick for a treat, Bianca will perform her tricks flawlessly; Zack will only do the trick if he knows he can't get the treat another way. When you start a new trick, Zack can figure it out in minutes, and Bianca takes several days or weeks to get it down. For Zack, it's all about "what can I do to get the treat?" With Bianca, it's all about "what can I do to please the person who has the treat?" Are both dogs intelligent? Yes. But they each require a slightly different way of training. Just make sure your training style matches with the dog's learning style and motivations, and you will have a great pet.

Zack answered on 6/21/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer