7 dog breeds that are easy to train

Training your dog will help you build a lifelong bond with them. When it comes to getting a puppy, it's important to know how to train it so that both you and your pet will be happy, you can fit into each other's lifestyles and they will be well-behaved as adult dogs.

Obviously, this can be out of your control when rescuing an older animal, but for younger dogs from rescue centres or new-born puppies, it's important to have a training plan.

Why is dog training so important?

"Training takes time, patience, and a lot of commitment, but is totally worth it for both you and your dog," PDSA Veterinary Nurse, Shauna Walsh, tells Country Living. "The kindest and most effective method is called reward-based training – also called positive reinforcement. This works by rewarding your dog when they do what you want them to do, so that they will want to behave that way again."

easy to train dog breeds
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How to train a dog

"Taking your dog to training classes is an important part of responsible dog ownership," Carolyn Menteith, dog behaviour and training expert, and Kennel Club Accredited Instructor, tells us. "At training classes you not only learn how to train your dog, but also help socialise them by exposing them to new environments and teaching them how to behave calmly around other people and dogs.

"It's crucial to start young; socialisation should start with the puppy's breeder and continue the minute your puppy comes home. What might be really cute in a puppy – like jumping up – can be far less desirable in a large adult dog. Start as you mean to go on by teaching your puppy the skills they will need to be a well-behaved member of canine society.

"Kennel Club Accredited Instructors (who have a nationally-recognised qualification), or the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme (the largest dog training programme in the country) are perfect places to start if you’re looking to train your dog or puppy.

"Instructors and clubs can provide training classes and practical advice for dogs of any age, size, ability or breed. All Good Citizen training clubs and Kennel Club Accredited Instructors across the UK can be found on the Kennel Club website."


Characteristics and natural instincts of dogs always vary and there are many other factors which can shape your dog's character and temperament. When it comes to looking at what dog breeds are the best behaved, the PDSA analyses factors including:

  • Intelligence: their understanding of commands you want them to learn

  • Focus: how easily they become distracted, calmness

  • Eagerness to please: bond with owner

  • Working dog genes: genetic predisposition to pick up training quickly

On that note, take a look at the dog breeds that are the easiest to train:

1. Doberman

doberman dog breed
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"The Doberman is highly trainable, and they commonly work with the armed forces and the police in various roles. They are loyal, and obedient, so can make lovely family pets," explains Shauna.

2. Border Collie

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Prized for its instincts and working ability, the Border Collie is thought to be the most intelligent and easy to train dog. They have a lot of energy and love to work so they need owners who can keep them busy and provide a good amount of exercise and stimulation. Collies thrive at canine activities like obedience and agility.

"Border Collies were bred to work with sheep and cattle, and they are often found on farms doing what they love! They have an innate herding instinct and can be very successful in obedience, agility, and as sniffer dogs for detecting explosives and drugs," Shauna tells us.

3. Poodle

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Poodles are highly intelligent and obedient, so as a result they are typically easy to train. They have minimal shedding and come in three different sizes, so they are a very versatile breed, too.

Shauna adds: "Perhaps more well known for their coat and interesting hair do's, the Poodle can actually be very good at learning commands. They were bred as water retrievers by duck hunters so have those predisposed working dog genes, usually making them easy to train."

4. Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer dog
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Affectionate and smart, a Miniature Schnauzer could be a good breed if you’re looking for a smaller four-legged friend and companion dog. Miniature Schnauzers are generally easy to train with the right approach and techniques. They can be strong-willed, however, so require a confident owner who will take charge and be consistent with reward-based training.

5. Labrador Retriever

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Labradors are always eager to please their owners, so training comes naturally to this much-loved breed. They are easy to train as a family or a working dog and tend to socialise well with humans and other dogs alike. They are a very food-motivated breed, so this can work well in training, but it is important to watch the quantity and type of treats given in order to keep them in good shape.

"The Labrador can be a lovely family companion, and they also are accomplished working dogs due to them being eager to please, and highly responsive to training," continues Shauna.

6. German Shepherd

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German Shepherds are ready to work, eager to please and very motivated. They are quick learners and exceptionally loyal, which is why they are often used as police and military dogs.

"The German Shepherd is well known for their success as a working dog in many areas – in the police force, the armed forces, and as guide dogs for the blind," says Shauna.

7. Bearded Collie

Bearded Collie
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Traditionally used for herding cattle and sheep in the borders and Highlands of Scotland, the Bearded Collie is responsive, intelligent and hard-working. They are very trainable and willing to please making them a great companion, family or working dog.

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