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Brainy Dogs

I came across an article on the Internet just the other day on the 10 smartest dog breeds. As a dog owner myself, I knew I had to put it up on my blog. While you can click here to read the original article, I’ve decided to value add to it further on this page with additional information and some photos. Enjoy!

10. Australian Cattle Dog

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As its name suggests, this breed was developed in Australia to herd or drive cattle. At first glance, this dog bears some resemblance to the country’s wild dingo, which forms part of its ancestry including the Smithfield, collie, bulldog and Dalmatian. As is typical of a working dog, the Australian Cattle Dog is immensely energetic, intelligent and independent. Among the common ailments inherent in this breed include deafness, recessive eye blindness and hip or elbow dysplasia.

9. Rottweiler

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Unfortunately for this breed, the Rottweiler has had immense negative publicity compared to its cousins. Mostly used as guard dogs and police dogs, Rottweilers are more famed for its so-called ferocity when it is actually a product of its keen sense of perception, courage and unflagging loyalty. Originally found in Germany, the Rottweiler also began as a herding dog and sometimes as a draught dog, pulling carts to carry meat and other products to the local marketplace.

8. Papillon

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One of the oldest breeds of toy Spaniels, the Papillon has a surprising athletic ability and excel well in dog agility courses, even against their biggest cousins. The distinguishing feature of the Papillon is its large butterfly-shaped ears in which its name comes from. Originally foun din Belgium and Spain, this dog enjoyed a priviledged past as royal pets and have even been featured in many old works of art.

7. Labrador Retriever

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The most famous dog internationally by registration, this breed of dog is synonymous with being an assistance dog. Originally bred to be a gun dog, the Labrador Retriever displays immense gentility and patience, making it highly suitable for family with young children. The only thing that matches its love to retrieve (courtesy of its ancestors’ original role in retrieving dead waterfowl during hunts) is the Lab’s obsession with food.

6. Shetland Sheepdog

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At first glance, it is easy to mistake the Shetland Sheepdog as the breed of the famous TV dog, Lassie the Collie. However, there are many differences in appearance between the Collie and the Sheltie, the main of which is the size with the latter intentionally bred small to suit the terrain of its native locale, the Shetland Islands of Scotland. Though dimunitive, Shelties were originally used for herding and are known to be vocal, loving, loyal and affectionate with their family, though reserved and aloof with strangers.

5. Doberman Pinscher

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First bred in Germany by Karl Fredrich Louis Dobermann to protect him while on his rounds as the local tax collector, Doberman Pinschers were developed from a variety of different breeds, including the more famous breeds of Rottweiler, Great Dane and Greyhound. Dobermans are known for their loyalty and alertness and are commonly used in the field of security as guard dogs, watch dogs or police dogs.

4. Golden Retriever

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This breed of dog enjoys a relatively undisputed history of origin, thanks to the solid record-keeping of Sir Dudley Marjoribanks who developed the Golden Retriever for the sole purpose of retrieving dead waterfowl from far distances in line with the increasing sophistication of long-range hunting guns. Its ancestors include the yellow Retriever, Tweed Water Spaniel, Irish Setter, Bloodhound and St. John’s Water Dog. Extremely friendly, patient and confident, the Golden Retriever is ideally suited to a family with small children and make for very poor guard dogs as they are amiable to both family and strangers alike. Golden Retrievers are widely believed to learn well over 200 commands.

3. German Shepherd

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One of the most celebrated of working dogs, the German Shepherd is renowned for its strength, size, keen sense of smell and high concentration. Originally bred to herd sheep, the German Shepherd is now used primarily as a search and rescue dog, police dog and military dog. It is immensely self-assured and has a strong self-will that must be trained by a ‘firm hand’. Because of the rigourous inbreeding early into the creation of this breed, there are many common ailments of the German Shepherd including arthritis, hip and albow dysplasia, bloat and ear infections.

2. Poodle

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Mostly recognised as show dogs, the Poodle was originally from Germany and functioned as a gun or retrieving dog and thus are fairly agile and athletic. However, it was the French who further developed the Poodle to its current variations. People-oriented and generally eager to please, Poodles also make excellent watch dogs due to its sharp mind.

1. Border Collie

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Originating along the borders of England, Wales and Scotland, this breed is highly energetic and therefore must be well occupied with activity and purpose or else risk a wrecked home. Widely considered as the best sheep herding dog, the breed can be found on many farms reigning over a variety of livestock including cattle, freerange poultry, pigs and even ostriches. Border Collies are motion-sensitive and if not met with enough mental or physical stimulation, may attempt to control the movements of family members, other pets and even cars.

P.S. I know I can scare some people with the level of detail I employ when writing, and to put in so much effort for this may seem overzealous. But what can I say? Since Lizzie the Golden Retriever came into my life, I have formed a new appreciation for the canine species and talking and reading about dogs delights me to no end.

Posted on: 19 April 2009

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