While all dogs pose different challenges when it comes to training, personality as well as environmental factors playing a part. Still, some breeds are easy to train, whereas others have qualities that can make training more difficult.
If you are a first-time dog owner or looking for your first performance dog, one of these breeds may be a good choice. Unlike most lists of “easy to train” dog breeds, you will not find one herding breed – Border Collie, Aussie, German Shepherd Dog – on this list. That’s because intelligence and work drive does not mean a dog is easy to train. These breeds have a lot of instinct and can actually be quite a challenge to train.
Below you’ll find 15 breeds that made the list, not only because of their intelligence, but because of their willing attitude and desire to please their owners!
#1 – Golden retriever
The Golden is known for its sweet disposition. And while they can be a bit feather-brained during their adolescence, they are very forgiving and easy to train.
#2 – Labrador Retriever
Like the Golden, the Lab is easygoing and one of the most enjoyable breeds I have worked with. If you make a mistake, they don’t usually take advantage of it the way some other breeds will.
#3 – Chihuahua
Their small size and intelligence makes them easy to train – no wonder they use so many of them in Hollywood! If you have back problems, however, then you may find a breed this small a bit more difficult to train physically.
#4 – Flat-Coated Retriever
Like the Golden, this breed is smart and sweet, and loves to work. Their desire to please makes them easy to train.
#5 – Bernese Mountain Dog
On the other end of the size scale is the Berner. This breed is docile in nature and willing to listen, making them easy to train. Size is a factor here too, of course. If you are tiny or worried about being pulled off your feet if he pulls on leash, you may want a smaller dog.
#6 – Poodle
Any size Poodle is a smart, willing student, though the miniature and teacup versions may have a bit more attitude than the standard. In all, they are a wonderful and intelligent group of dogs.
#7 – Norwich Terrier
This cute little breed is known for being a great beginner’s dog. Though he is easy to train, training should be positive and he prefers short sessions (as do most dogs).
#8 – Bichon Frise
Highly intelligent, this dog loves to be in the spotlight, and that includes showing off the tricks you have taught him. He is a fun, easy to train dog.
#9 – Newfoundland
Often outweighing their owners when they are full grown, the Newfie is a sweet-natured and laid-back dog that will be forgiving if you are new to training and trying to figure it out as you go along.
#10 – Brussels Griffon
This small breed is known for being easy to train and a clown around his admirers. In fact, he thrives on training and attention.
#11 – Havanese
Because of this plucky little dog’s obedience, he can be seen in performance events at all levels. Despite their look, they are also very athletic, so if you are looking for a first agility dog, they may be a good choice.
#12 –St. Bernard
You will find this gentle giant is easy to train because they are laid back and won’t punish you if you make a mistake. They enjoy therapy work and even dog sports such as cart pulling and obedience trials.
#13 –Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This adorable lap dog is easy to train, but just remember they are a spaniel, so trusting them off-leash takes some work. Otherwise, they are eager to please and make a good first dog.
#14 –Chinese Crested
Whether you choose the powder-puff or hairless variety, the Crested is a smart, willing dog that’s easy to train and loves sports.
#15 –French Bulldog
Ranked as the ninth most popular dog in America by the American Kennel Club, the Frenchie is easy to train with proper motivation (usually food). They are cute with a big personality, which makes the training even more enjoyable.
If you’re looking for a serious challenge, consider training one of the dogs that make our list of The 10 Least Obedient Dog Breeds!