Are Goldendoodles Smart?

Anybody who knows a Goldendoodle can probably tell you they are adorable, gentle, and friendly. Though the breed is rather new to the scene, Goldendoodle’s have gained immense popularity as canine companions

are goldendoodles smart
Cute, soft, friendly, and loyal. But are Goldendoodles smart?

If you’re considering one of these cuties for your family, you probably have some questions about more than their looks and demeanor. When you need to consider things like potty training a puppy, you may want to know about their intelligence. We’re here to answer that burning question today-are Goldendoodles smart?

How Do We Measure Intelligence in Dog Breeds?

Some breeds may be known for their brains, but one man sought to assess canine intelligence across several pure breeds. Stanley Coren, Ph.D. tested more than 100 dog breeds by adapting human psychological tests to measure things like language comprehension. Dr. Coren based his findings on two domains:

How many attempts does it take a breed to learn something new?

What percentage of the time can the breed perform tasks they know?

Dr. Coren argued that fewer attempts to learn and a higher percentage of accurately performing known commands were indicative of greater intelligence. Though his research has faced some sharp criticism, Dr. Coren’s research is the best scientific information we have about canine intelligence. 

mini goldendoodle licking everything

Understanding Canine Intellect

Dr. Coren literally wrote the book on canine intelligence and he admits that there’s much more involved in determining how smart dogs are. He lists three dimensions of canine intelligence as instinctive, adaptive, and working, and obedience intelligence. 

Instinctive intelligence is what dogs inherit from their ancestors, like herding or hunting. In other words, these are the innate characteristics shared by a breed.

Adaptive intelligence is problem-solving ability. Can your pup recognize familiar people?

Working intelligence is a dog’s ability to understand you, and it’s generally associated with obedience intelligence, which is their ability to learn from you. If you want to teach your pup several tricks, then you may want a breed with high working and obedience intelligence.

Of note, some pet experts also include interpersonal and spatial intelligence. Dog breeds that seem in tune with people may have high interpersonal intelligence. Spatial intelligence refers to a dog’s ability to understand their physical space and the environment.

Some dogs may have high intelligence in one or two domains but struggle in other areas. For example, Afghan Hounds were rated dead last in the research study, but they make excellent hunting dogs in some situations thanks to high instinctive intelligence.

Learn “Why my dog is dumb” in our non-judgemental article here.

Goldendoodle got a present
The dog got his Christmas present for being a good dog! (Image: Instagram/@hattie.the.doodle)

Drawbacks to Canine Intelligence Testing

Dr. Coren notes that these measures of intelligence aren’t necessarily indicative of how compatible a dog will be as a pet. For example, if performing tricks doesn’t matter, then you may not care if your dog has high working intelligence. On the other hand, farmers may prefer dogs with high adaptive intelligence.

Further, it’s important to note that some intelligent dogs can get bored easily. Doberman Pinschers rated high on Dr. Coren’s list, but they are notorious for needing stimulation and attention, which they may find in your shoe collection if left alone for too long.

How Did Goldendoodles Perform during Intelligence tests?

One criticism of Dr. Coren’s research is that he only tested pure dog breeds. Coren’s research excluded multiple popular crossbreeds, including designer breeds like Goldendoodles. Though the study hasn’t been repeated or expanded, it’s a fair starting point for assessing canine intelligence.

That said, we can look at how Poodles and Golden Retriever fared to get an idea about a Goldendoodles intelligence. Of course, Goldendoodles can have varying percentages of Poodle and Golden Retriever in their lineage. Fortunately, both Poodles and Golden Retrievers performed well on the testing. 

Both breeds landed in Dr. Coren’s top five. Poodles took the number two spot behind Border Collies, while Golden Retrievers slid into fourth just after German Shepherds. If you’re curious, Doberman Pinschers round out the top five.

celebrating an event with Goldendoodle
A dog poses for a photo during an event. (Image: Instagram/@fletch_theminigoldendoodle)

How Poodles and Golden Retrievers Measure Up?

Knowing where Poodles and Golden Retrievers fall on Dr. Coren’s intelligence list probably doesn’t tell you much. Let’s put it into perspective by comparing both breeds to the average dog breed in Coren’s study. 

Average dogs required between 25 and 40 attempts to learn new commands, but Poodles and Golden Retrievers learned much faster. Further, Poodles and Goldens were almost twice as likely to obey a known command on the first attempt.

What Makes Goldendoodles Smart?

Goldendoodles remain one of the best family dog breeds you can choose. It’s not just because they are adorable and playful, we’d argue that even Dr. Coren would say Goldendoodles are smart!

High Adaptive Intelligence

Goldendoodles are one of the best family dogs you can choose. They have impressive problem-solving skills and develop keen social awareness.

For example, Goldendoodles tend to be more careful around young children because they understand that infants and toddlers are fragile and important to the family. However, they make incredible playmates for older children and teenagers.

High Interpersonal Intelligence

While Goldendoodles don’t speak human words, they are excellent communicators in their own right. Goldendoodles are social, outgoing dogs who know how to grab your attention and generally devise brilliant ways to convey their needs. 

Even better, Goldendoodles develop a keen understanding of their human companions and know when you feel down or need some affection. Goldendoodle owners shouldn’t be surprised by a well-timed nuzzle or lick when they need it most! 

a goldendoodle laying on a bed

High Working and Obedience Intelligence

Goldendoodles tend to be capable of learning many commands, far more than the average dog. While some Goldendoodles may learn more than others, it’s a fair bet that training them is easier than other breeds. Some pet parents report their Goldendoodles learned commands in one or two attempts!

Since Goldendoodles have such high working and obedience intelligence, it’s important to teach them as many commands as you can. The more human words they know and understand, the easier it is for Goldendoodles to communicate.

Signs Your Goldendoodle is Smart

While you may not want to replicate Dr. Coren’s canine intelligence tests, you can gauge your Goldendoodle’s intelligence in several ways. Consider how your dog fares on these tasks:

How many commands does your Goldendoodle remember? Are there any that you haven’t used in a while that your dog still knows?

Does your furry friend like dog puzzles or puzzle toys?

Does your Goldendoodle comfort you when you’re upset? Bonus points if you receive nuzzles when you’re attempting to hide the emotions.

Think about how your dog gets your attention and conveys their needs. Do you understand them?

Does your dog learn new tricks quickly?

When you travel to familiar places, does your dog seem to recognize them? Maybe your furry friend gets extra excited to go to a friend’s house or the park.

are Goldendoodles smart

Managing Your Goldendoodle’s Intelligence

If you already know your Goldendoodle is smart and you’re looking for ways to manage those wits without losing your own, we’ve got some ideas. Mental stimulation is key for every smart pup!

Embrace the sniffing. Goldendoodles gauge a lot by sniffing their surroundings, and it makes them happy! Try “foraging” games by planting fun sniffs around your house or yard and letting your pup explore.

Introduce new things regularly. Goldendoodles excel at problem-solving, so try to incorporate new challenges and opportunities whenever you can. For example, don’t take the same walk every day and when you get a new dog toy, consider a dog puzzle or slow feeder.

Spend time together as much as possible. Any Goldendoodle puppy or Mini Goldendoodle is a social animal that love interacting with other people and dogs. Just don’t expect them to be an efficient guard dog.

Allow your Goldendoodle to socialize with other people, places, and pets. Proper socialization is crucial for this breed, so expose them to as much as possible to encourage their adaptive intelligence.

Start training early because Goldendoodle puppies can handle it! It helps that Goldendoodles enjoy learning new things and easily engage with training.

Goldendoodle playing with his friends
The three dogs are playing together! (Image: Instagram/@katsuisnotacat)

More Reasons to Consider a Goldendoodle

As Dr. Coren noted, having an intelligent dog isn’t always the best sign of a good companion. When you seek companionship and affection, you probably want to consider more than intelligence. There are several reasons to choose a Goldendoodle.

Goldendoodles can be calm and gentle and quickly learn when it’s okay to be rambunctious. They make excellent companions for people of all ages because they are adaptable, sociable, and loving.

Many Goldendoodles are classified as mixed breed hypoallergenic because they rarely shed. The amount of shedding can vary depending on the dog, but Goldendoodles usually make excellent pets for allergy sufferers. F1b Goldendoodle dog generation will shed the least. A classic 50:50 Poodle:Golden Doodle mixed breed will be more likely to shed.

Large Goldendoodles are active and natural athletes, making them wonderful playmates for active people. They can swim and love the water as well.

Loyalty is something a dog owner expects from “man’s best friend,” but Goldendoodles have it in spades and develop quick attachments to familiar people. Any dog owbers of a doodle breed can attest to the loyalty of their puppy. Just because these are a designer dog doesn’t mean that these are not the smartest dog breed. They are loving and clever!

You can expect a longer lifespan from a doodle dog or mini groodle, somewhere between twelve and fifteen years.

Even though Goldendoodles can be highly active dogs, they also love to lounge around and curl up with their humans. 

Goldendoodles as Service Dogs

Would it surprise you to learn that Goldendoodles make incredible service animals? Not only do Goldendoodles have a sweet, caring demeanor and immeasurable loyalty, but they can also learn necessary commands to serve as guide dogs or therapy dogs. 

Many a Goldendoodle pup serves as therapy dogs in nursing homes and hospitals. Some even comfort traumatized individuals and guide them through stressful situations because Goldendoodles’ natural intuitiveness helps them tune into human feelings and needs.

Goldendoodles can help people with balance issues and guide blind people. You can also train them to alert their humans to potential health situations, like seizures and low blood sugar.

Final Thoughts: Are Goldendoodles Smart?

Like many other traits, intelligence varies among dogs, especially when you crossbreed. That said, considering parentage can give you a good idea of what to expect. In this case, Poodles and Golden Retrievers tend to be two of the smartest pure dog breeds, so it’s no surprise that Goldendoodles are usually intelligent dogs. 

Goldendoodles have a lot to offer their human companions. While there’s never a guarantee about how smart any dog will be, Goldendoodles tend to be intelligent dogs capable of learning many commands and forging a strong connection with their humans. They make excellent companions and service animals for people of all ages.

If you can provide enough stimulation and encouragement for a Goldendoodle, you’d be hard-pressed to find a kinder, cuter, and more intelligent companion. Since they are so intelligent and easy to train, Goldendoodles are excellent companions for first-time pet parents, but their loyal, caring nature makes them endearing to almost anybody!

Almost every Goldendoodle owner is a happy owner!