Where Do Poodles Rank In Intelligence?

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Just like with us hoo-mans, intelligence is defined in many ways in a term that is very broadly used.

Dogs and humans have been working in partnership for thousands of years, ever since the first domesticated dogs hunted for us, and protected our homes and families.

Where do Poodles rank in intelligence is largely defined by how dog intelligence is measured. 

By Adeline Ee.

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What Is Doggy Intelligence?

One of the ways to measure a dog’s intelligence is to observe how well the dog learns new commands.

Dogs that are able to quickly learn new commands and follow them correctly are considered to be more intelligent than those that struggle to learn or remember commands.

Another way to measure a dog’s intelligence is to see how well the dog solves problems.

Dogs that can figure out how to open a door or escape from a fenced-in area are considered to be more intelligent than those that cannot.

How Is Doggy Intelligence Measured?

The criteria that are frequently used to judge a dog’s intelligence include:

  • The number of repetitions that it takes for a dog to learn a new command
  • The success rate in obeying commands in percentages
  • How long between commands is it before a dog forgets

Dog intelligence consists of three major dimensions, all of which encompass the overall intelligence level of a dog breed.

The three categories are instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence, and working and obedience intelligence.

So Where Do Poodles Rank In Intelligence?

The Standard Poodles are considered the 2nd smartest breed of dog in the world, right after the Border Collie and ahead of the German Shepherd.

Before looking at where do different Poodle breeds rank in intelligence, it might be worth looking at how smart Poodles actually are.

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How Intelligent Are Poodles?

  1. They are able to remember about 300 or more different human speech phrases and sign language. In contrast, the average dog can remember about 165.
  2. In basic obedience, the average dog will complete a task about 50% of the time on its first try. A Poodle can do that with about 70% accuracy.
  3. They know object permanence, a theory that stipulates that if an object is not visible, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
  4. They can learn new commands in 6 repetitions or even less, while an average dog may need up to 100 repetitions before “getting it”.

Poodles Come in Three Sizes – Small, Smaller, and Normal!

Before I get to the intelligence of each, you might want to know that there are three AKC-recognized sizes of Poodles – the Toy, the Miniature, and the Standard.

While the core intelligence of each type of Poodle is very similar, there are some slight differences in their abilities, particularly between the much-larger Standard Poodle and the two smaller breeds.

How Intelligent Are Standard Poodles?

Standard Poodles are active, high-energy dogs that require mentally stimulating games that are tough.

In addition, they are social creatures that might develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods or mentally under-stimulated.

They are also emotionally intelligent and need a calm environment.

With their superior intellect and energy levels, the Standard Poodle is not your average lapdog that might be content to lie on your couch all day.

They need moderate to high amounts of exercise and loads of mental stimulation to be happy.

The Standard Poodle will do well in a household with at least one experienced dog owner, and households with active family members that can take turns giving the pooch attention and stimulation.

How Intelligent Are Toy And Miniature Poodles?

These two breeds are very similar and differ only very slightly in mental capacity and temperament.

Both breeds are little sticks of dynamite with incredibly active minds, paying close attention to their human owners and picking up information rapidly.

They are smart, loving, and adore their humans, yet because of their size, have modest exercise needs and are way easier to handle than a bored Standard Poodle.

Sensitive, emotionally intelligent, and loving, the smaller Poodles make excellent therapy and emotional support dogs.

They make wonderful additions to most households, even those with young children, seniors, or inexperienced dog owners.

Did You Know That… ?

Contrary to the Poodle’s often misunderstood image of a fluffy lapdog with a fancy haircut, Poodles were originally bred as powerful swimmers working in partnership with hunters to retrieve waterfowl.

Hunting dogs are bred with a high level of intellect, capable of swiftly learning and carrying out their owner’s instructions.

While hunting Poodles are now practically non-existent, the innate intelligence in the breed continues to exist to this day.

The hugely popular Poodles not only are very smart, but they’re also proud, active dogs, with the added benefit of having hypoallergenic coats, making them suitable for folks with allergies.


The Poodle is a breed often misrepresented by the media as a rhinestone-collared Princess with a fancy haircut.

Nothing could be further than the truth.

These versatile, intelligent dogs with modest grooming needs will fit well into almost every household.

Just be sure to buy loads of interactive toys to keep these canine brainiacs busy!

Photo by Rolf.