Which Dog Breeds Make the Smartest Dogs?
We once had a dog that was a border collie/Australian shepherd mix, and I think she was in fact pretty smart. Back then the watering "trough" for our cattle was actually just the bottom half of a 55-gallon barrel with a float valve on it. It was set on top of some cinder blocks so it wouldn't be resting directly on the ground, which helped prevent the bottom from rusting out. So, if you can picture it, you should be able to imagine that it wasn't particularly easy for a small dog to jump into it or even drink from it. By the way, the dog had a different water supply that was built for her size, so she didn't have to drink from it. But still, she somehow figured out that when it was hot during the summer, she could just jump into the trough and get really good and wet and cool off. Sometimes I would look down at the cow pens and just see her head sticking up out of that water barrel.
Shelby the shepherd mix never had any special training, but she was an expert herder. But here's the thing: when she wasn't herding the cattle, she hung around with them. In cold weather, she would even go sleep with them to keep warm. And as long as she wasn't nipping at their heels, the cattle didn't mind her being there one bit.
At a different time, we also had a dog that was half German shepherd/half Australian shepherd. That dog couldn't herd worth a darn, but he was the best raccoon hunting dog I ever had, and I also had a few hound mixes in there at times. None of them hunted like Rex the shepherd mix.
On the other hand, the best squirrel/rabbit dog I ever had was just a rescued street mutt named Patches.
We had a Golden Retriever (named Pardner) that one time snatched a wounded dove out of the air when it was about 3 feet off the ground. He brought it back, and her grip was so gentle, the bird was still alive when he turned it over to us.
There was also a Chesapeake Bay retriever named Major who could retrieve a bird without damaging it but would also catch armadillos and crack their shell with a bite. Unfortunately, he would also do the same thing to watermelons, so we had a hard time growing watermelons when we had him.