Intelligence - capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc.
Intelligence in canines is a fascinating subject; firstly here is a compilation done by Dr. Stanley Coren listing in order dog breeds of intelligence.
1. Border Collies
3. German Shepherd
4. Golden Retriever
5. Doberman Pincher
6. Shetland Sheepdog
7. Labrador Retriever
10. Australian Cattle Dog
11. Pembrook Welsh Corgi
12. Miniature Schnauzer
At the low end of the intelligence rankings are:
107. Chow Chow
108. Bull dog
110. Afghan Hound
Intelligence is a very complicated subject; for me no dog is stupid but what they have been given with regards to interacting or working for humans may be lacking somewhat. That said; by no means should everyone have a very intelligent dog. Often when I am working with a new client I will see a dog outsmarting their new guardian. This is when I will tell them that the easy dogs are usually not the sharpest. The really smart dogs can easily manipulate their owners and the humans don't even know whats going on.
Being that I work with all breeds and mixes of dogs I see a big variation in intelligence. But; often when a breed is labeled as stupid, guardians of this breed never give them a fair shake. The English Bulldog is one such breed; almost everyone I've worked with the guardian has said "well they are a bulldog." Bulldogs are extremely intelligent, so much so that they have convinced most owners that they just can't do this obedience stuff. The breed makes me smile. They may be at the bottom of the intelligence list but it is not because they aren't intelligent. These dogs simply do not have the desire to jump hoops for us.
At the top of the list is my breed and the Border Collie. For years there has been a serious competition between the two, but there is a big difference between a Border Collie and a Standard poodle. So much so that I really don't think you can compare them. Border collies need very little human intervention; sort of like people who blurt out "I know, I know," the minute you try to tell them something. Border Collies are over achievers and often have no "off" switch. If you like a dog constantly on the go; one you constantly need to sharpen your gray matter to work with daily then this is the dog for you.
But for me the poodle is tops; they are great home dogs and one of the most utility dogs there is out there. I know what some of you are thinking "oh those foofoo dogs." Think again my friend; the foo foo image they have is completely man made.
I agree with the list mostly but what this little snippet of a list doesn't include is the guardians. Once again a dog can be all that they can be or they can simply be the dog at home. When you work with dogs; I mean really work with them, teaching them as much as you can it is amazing how smart they all are.
For me there are no dumb dogs; yes there is a huge range of motivating a dog, their natural desire to work and the teacher. Comparing dogs is like comparing people; some are driven to succeed some are not. Knowing how much drive a breed has is a good indication of what you will deal with living with a certain breed Choose accordingly or you will not have an easy time of it. For even the most difficult dog there is a motivator; the secret motivation switch that you just have to find.