👉 Get the Husky Essentials

Are Huskies Smart or Dumb? (Dog Intelligence Ranking)

Are Huskies Smart Or Dumb?
Are huskies smart or dumb?

Are huskies smart? This is one of the most common questions about Siberian huskies and is a difficult question to answer because “intelligence” can be interpreted in many ways.

However, according to Stanley Coren, a Professor of Canine Psychology, Siberian Huskies tied for 45th out of 79 for working and obedience intelligence.

Generally speaking, however, Siberian Huskies are considered to be very intelligent dogs. As mentioned there is much more to intelligence than following commands from a human!

Keep reading to learn how smart Siberian Huskies actually are…

Husky Essentials
Siberian Husky Essentials

We understand that huskies are unique and require special care, so we’ve created this one-stop shop to help you find the must-have items for your furry friend.

  • Grooming Tools
  • Dog Food, Treats & Supplements
  • Toys & Enrichment
  • Training Aids
  • Comfort & Safety
Husky Supplies

Table of Contents

How Smart Are Huskies?

Huskies are generally considered to be intelligent dogs. They are known for their independent thinking, problem-solving abilities, and adaptability. However, their intelligence can vary from individual to individual, and it’s important to note that intelligence in dogs can be measured and observed in different ways.

Do Huskies Rank Low in Dog Intelligence? 

Huskies are often associated with being less intelligent due to their independent nature and occasional stubbornness. However, intelligence is a complex trait that encompasses various dimensions beyond obedience.

Are Huskies Smart Dogs?

Contrary to common misconceptions, Huskies possess intelligence that extends beyond traditional measures. Their problem-solving skills, adaptability, and working abilities showcase their unique cognitive capabilities.

Stanley Coren’s Perspective on Husky Intelligence

Stanley Coren, a renowned canine psychologist, provides valuable insights into Husky intelligence based on his studies and assessments. His perspective sheds light on the breed’s cognitive potential.

How smart is a husky exactly? According to Stanley Coren, a Professor of Canine Psychology, Siberian Huskies tied for 45th out of 79 for working and obedience intelligence.

Dog Intelligence Ranking

In Stanley Coren’s well-known ranking of dog intelligence, Siberian Huskies secure the 45th position out of 79 listed breeds. This comprehensive table offers insights into the relative intelligence levels of various dog breeds, shedding light on Huskies’ placement within the spectrum of canine cognition.

RankBreedWorking & Obedience Intelligence
1Border collieHighest
3German ShepherdHighest
4Golden retrieverHighest
5Doberman PinscherHighest
6Shetland SheepdogHighest
7Labrador RetrieverHighest
10Australian Cattle DogHighest
11Pembroke Welsh CorgiExcellent
12Miniature SchnauzerExcellent
13English Springer SpanielExcellent
14Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervuren)Excellent
15Schipperke, Belgian SheepdogExcellent
16Collie, KeeshondExcellent
17German Shorthaired PointerExcellent
18Flat-Coated Retriever, English Cocker Spaniel, Standard Schnauzer Excellent
20Cocker SpanielExcellent
22Belgian Malinois, Bernese Mountain DogExcellent
24Irish Water SpanielExcellent
26Cardigan Welsh CorgiExcellent
27Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Puli, Yorkshire TerrierAbove Average
28Giant SchnauzerAbove Average
29Airedale Terrier, Bouvier des FlandresAbove Average
30Border Terrier, BriardAbove Average
31Welsh Springer SpanielAbove Average
32Manchester TerrierAbove Average
33SamoyedAbove Average
34Field Spaniel, Newfoundland, Australian Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Gordon Setter, Bearded CollieAbove Average
35Cairn Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Irish SetterAbove Average
36Norwegian ElkhoundAbove Average
37Affenpinscher, Australian Silky Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, English Setter, Pharaoh Hound, Clumber SpanielAbove Average
38Norwich TerrierAbove Average
39DalmatianAbove Average
40Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Smooth Fox TerrierAverage
41Curly Coated Retriever, Irish WolfhoundAverage
42Kuvasz, Australian ShepherdAverage
43Saluki, Finnish Spitz, PointerAverage
44Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, German Wirehaired Pointer, Black and Tan Coonhound, American Water SpanielAverage
45Siberian Husky, Bichon Frise, King Charles SpanielAverage
46Tibetan Spaniel, English Foxhound, Otterhound, Jack Russell Terrier, American Foxhound, Greyhound, Wirehaired Pointing GriffonAverage
47West Highland White Terrier, Scottish DeerhoundAverage
48Boxer, Great DaneAverage
49Dachshund, Staffordshire Bull TerrierAverage
50Alaskan MalamuteAverage
51Whippet, Chinese Shar Pei, Wire Fox TerrierAverage
52Rhodesian RidgebackAverage
53Ibizan Hound, Welsh Terrier, Irish TerrierAverage
54Boston Terrier, AkitaAverage
55Skye Terrier, Norfolk TerrierBelow Average
56Sealyham TerrierBelow Average
57PugBelow Average
58French BulldogBelow Average
59Griffon Bruxellois, MalteseBelow Average
60Italian GreyhoundBelow Average
61Chinese Crested DogBelow Average
62Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, Tibetan Terrier, Japanese Chin, Lakeland TerrierBelow Average
63Old English SheepdogBelow Average
64Great PyreneesBelow Average
65Scottish Terrier, Saint BernardBelow Average
66Bull TerrierBelow Average
67ChihuahuaBelow Average
68Lhasa ApsoBelow Average
69BullmastiffBelow Average
70Shih TzuLowest
71Basset HoundLowest
72Mastiff, BeagleLowest
76Chow ChowLowest
79Afghan HoundLowest

Types of Dog Intelligence

Working and obedience intelligence

As mentioned, Siberian Huskies have been tied for 45th out of 79 for obedience intelligence. So they are only considered ‘average intelligence’ when it comes to obedience.

However, even though Huskies are stubborn and often throw tantrums, that’s probably because they are actually much smarter than the average dog!

Being obedient could actually be a sign of low intelligence. Some might say that true intelligence comes from being independent and having the ability to think critically instead of following someone else’s commands…

Further reading:

Instinctive intelligence

Even Stanley Coren explains that there are two other main types of intelligence in dogs; one being instinctive intelligence.

Instinctive intelligence means doing the things they were bred for. e.g. pulling a sled (modern day version = zoomies), keeping the Chukchi tribe members warm at night (modern day version = cuddles and kisses), and using their high prey drive to hunt (if you have a backyard, you can attest to the fact they still do this!).

When it comes to instinctive intelligence, Siberian Huskies obviously rank very high.

Adaptive intelligence

The third and final type of intelligence in dogs that Stanley Coren explains is adaptive intelligence. Adaptive intelligence is the ability of dogs to solve problems on their own.

When it comes to dogs that seem to figure everything out, Siberian Huskies are the first dog breed that comes to mind. This ability to solve problems gets huskies into the most interesting places. It’s one of the reasons that makes huskies so weird!

Smart Husky Wearing Glasses Lying On Grass
Smart husky playing the part!

Further reading: Why are huskies so weird?

Adaptive intelligence examples:

  • Learning how to open doors by themselves
  • Figuring out how to escape from any backyard
  • Instinctively knowing what the time is (e.g. normal time for walkies, treats, or dinner)
  • Being able to get our attention when they need
  • Communicating with us (even simple things like ‘my water bowl is empty’ or ‘Lexa has escaped from the backyard again, please get her back’)

There are many more examples of Huskies having high adaptive intelligence too. The above are just some common examples.

Intelligence Tests for Huskies

What Are Some Intelligence Tests for Huskies? 

Several tests, such as problem-solving tasks, memory assessments, and interactive games, can be used to evaluate the intelligence of Huskies. These tests provide valuable insights into their cognitive abilities.

Evaluating Problem-Solving and Cognitive Skills 

Through problem-solving tasks and cognitive evaluations, researchers can gain a deeper understanding of Huskies’ ability to reason, learn, and apply knowledge in various situations.

Understanding the Personality of a Husky

What Is the Personality of a Husky Like? 

Huskies are known for their independent and energetic personalities. Understanding their unique temperament is essential in comprehending their approach to learning and training.

Do Huskies Have a Prey Drive? 

Huskies, being descendants of sled dogs, have a natural instinct and prey drive. Recognizing this trait is crucial when designing training methods and ensuring their safety in different environments.

Unraveling the Complexities of Husky Temperament 

Stubborn Husky Lying On Grass
Mom: “Sit!”, Husky: “The grass feels soooo good, I think I’m going to lay down.”

Huskies possess a range of characteristics, including intelligence, stubbornness, curiosity, and loyalty. Their distinct temperament adds depth to their overall personality and must be considered in training approaches.

Further reading: Are huskies loyal?

Challenges in Training a Husky

When learning how to train a husky, it helps to first identify potential training difficulties and applying training methods that better suit Siberian huskies.

Are Huskies Hard to Train? 

Training Huskies can be challenging due to their independent and strong-willed nature. However, with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques, successful training can be achieved.

Identifying Potential Training Difficulties 

Recognizing the specific challenges that may arise during Husky training, such as distractibility and a tendency to test boundaries, allows owners to tailor their training methods accordingly.

Overcoming Challenges Through Effective Training Techniques 

Employing positive reinforcement, engaging activities, and establishing a strong bond can help overcome training obstacles and foster a cooperative and responsive relationship with a Husky.

Further reading: Types of dog training methods

Exploring the Intelligence of Huskies

Different Types of Intelligence in Huskies 

Huskies exhibit various types of intelligence, including problem-solving, social, and working intelligence. Recognizing and nurturing these different aspects contribute to their overall cognitive development.

Training Huskies to Learn New Commands

With their intelligence and willingness to learn, Huskies can be trained to understand and follow a wide range of commands. Consistency, positive reinforcement, and patience are key to successful training.

Repetition and Learning Speed in Huskies 

Huskies may require more repetitions than some other breeds to learn new commands due to their independent nature. Understanding their learning pace helps set realistic expectations during the training process.

Addressing the Perception of Stubbornness in Huskies 

The perceived stubbornness in Huskies often stems from their independent thinking. By employing positive reinforcement, clear communication, and engaging training methods, owners can overcome this challenge.

Comparing Obedience Intelligence to Other Breeds 

When assessing obedience intelligence, Huskies exhibit their distinct strengths and weaknesses when compared to other dog breeds. Recognizing individual differences in learning styles and temperaments is essential to tailor training techniques for optimal results.

By understanding Huskies’ specific obedience intelligence traits, we can enhance their training experiences and capitalize on their unique capabilities.

German Shepherd Waiting For Command
German Shepherds are considered smarter than Siberian Huskies in terms of obedience intelligence.

The Working Abilities of Huskies

Are Huskies Good Working Dogs? 

Huskies have a rich history as working dogs, excelling in tasks such as sled pulling and search and rescue missions. Their intelligence, endurance, and adaptability make them valuable assets in various working environments.

Further reading: Can a husky be a police dog?

Common Tasks for Huskies 

Huskies are commonly employed in tasks such as sledding, therapy work, and recreational sports. Their intelligence plays a vital role in understanding and executing their assigned tasks effectively.

Assessing Intelligence Levels in Working Huskies 

Evaluating working Huskies’ intelligence involves considering their problem-solving skills, ability to follow commands, and adaptability to changing conditions. These factors determine their effectiveness in their respective roles.

Comparing Huskies to Other Working Breeds 

While Huskies display high levels of intelligence and working capabilities, they differ from other working breeds in terms of their approach, energy levels, and specific skill sets.

Prominent Working and Obedience Intelligence Tests for Huskies 

Various tests, such as agility trials, search and rescue evaluations, and obedience trials, help assess and validate the working and obedience intelligence of Huskies.

Unveiling the True Intelligence of Huskies

Are Huskies Considered Truly Intelligent Dogs?

Huskies possess a unique blend of intelligence, combining problem-solving skills, adaptability, and working aptitude. Their intelligence extends beyond mere obedience and encompasses a range of cognitive abilities.

Additional Factors Influencing Husky Intelligence 

Factors such as socialization, early training, and mental stimulation contribute to the development of Huskies’ intelligence. Providing a nurturing environment helps unlock their full cognitive potential.

The Impact of Intelligence on Trainability 

Huskies’ intelligence plays a significant role in their trainability, making it essential for owners to adapt training methods accordingly. To optimize the training experience and improve learning outcomes, consider the following recommendations:

  1. Engage their Intellect: Huskies thrive when mentally stimulated. Incorporate interactive toys, puzzles, and games into their training routine to challenge their problem-solving skills and keep them engaged.
  2. Positive Reinforcement: Huskies respond well to positive reinforcement techniques such as rewards, treats, and praise. Use these incentives consistently to reinforce desired behaviors and motivate them to learn.
  3. Consistency and Patience: Huskies appreciate routine and consistency in training. Maintain a structured approach, be patient with their learning pace, and avoid rushing the process. Consistent training sessions build their understanding and improve their overall responsiveness.
  4. Use Clear Communication: Huskies are observant and responsive to non-verbal cues. Pair verbal commands with clear hand signals or visual cues to enhance their understanding and facilitate effective communication during training sessions.
  5. Varied Training Techniques: Huskies may become bored with repetitive exercises. Incorporate a variety of training techniques, including obedience commands, agility training, and interactive play, to keep them mentally stimulated and motivated to learn.
  6. Socialization Opportunities: Expose Huskies to different environments, people, and animals from an early age to foster their social skills and reduce potential anxiety or aggression. Well-socialized Huskies are more adaptable and responsive during training.
  7. Professional Guidance: Seeking guidance from professional trainers or enrolling in obedience classes can provide valuable insights and techniques tailored to Huskies’ specific intelligence and training needs. Professionals can offer personalized guidance and address any specific challenges or behaviors.

By tailoring training methods to their unique cognitive capabilities, Huskies can achieve optimal learning outcomes. With engagement, positive reinforcement, consistency, and clear communication, owners can enhance the trainability of Huskies and strengthen the bond between dog and owner.

Limitations of Husky Intelligence 

While Huskies possess notable intelligence, they may exhibit certain limitations in specific areas. Understanding these limitations helps owners set realistic expectations and approach training effectively.

Beyond Obedience Intelligence: Other Aspects of Huskies

Emotional Intelligence and Social Skills 

Huskies display emotional intelligence and social skills, allowing them to bond deeply with their owners and interact effectively with other dogs and humans.

Problem-Solving Abilities and Adaptability 

Huskies’ problem-solving abilities and adaptability enable them to navigate complex situations and environments, showcasing their cognitive flexibility and resourcefulness.

Huskies as Companion Dogs: Loyalty and Affection 

Beyond their intelligence, Huskies are cherished as loyal and affectionate companions. Their unique personality traits complement their cognitive abilities, making them beloved family pets.

Are Huskies Smarter Than Other Dogs?

Are Huskies Smarter Than Other Dogs?
Husky: “I’m smarter than you because I don’t follow your silly commands!”

Huskies are generally considered intelligent compared to many other breeds. They are known for their problem-solving abilities and adaptability.

However, intelligence can vary among individual dogs, and different breeds have their own unique traits.

Other factors like temperament and compatibility should also be considered when choosing a breed.

Are Huskies Smarter Than German Shepherds?

According to Stanley Coren’s dog intelligence ranking, which is based on working and obedience intelligence, German Shepherds are ranked as the 3rd smartest dog breed, while Siberian Huskies are ranked 45th, tied with the Bichon Frise and King Charles Spaniel.

This ranking suggests that German Shepherds are generally considered to be smarter in terms of working and obedience intelligence compared to Siberian Huskies. However, it’s important to note that intelligence rankings can vary depending on the criteria and methodology used, and individual dogs within each breed may differ in their intelligence and trainability.

Are Huskies Smarter Than Golden Retrievers?

According to Stanley Coren’s ranking of working and obedience intelligence, Golden Retrievers are ranked as the 4th smartest dog breed, while Siberian Huskies are ranked 45th. Therefore, based on this ranking, Golden Retrievers are considered to be smarter in terms of working and obedience intelligence compared to Siberian Huskies.

How Smart Are Huskies Compared To Humans?

When comparing the intelligence of dogs, such as Huskies, to humans, it’s important to note that human intelligence is significantly more complex and advanced. Dogs, including Huskies, have their own unique forms of intelligence that are adapted to their natural instincts and abilities.

While Huskies are generally considered intelligent within the context of their own species, their cognitive abilities and problem-solving skills are not on par with those of humans. Humans possess higher-order thinking, abstract reasoning, and the ability to communicate and comprehend language in complex ways that dogs do not possess.

However, dogs, including Huskies, have shown remarkable abilities in certain areas such as social cognition, emotional understanding, and specialized skills in tasks they have been bred or trained for. They are capable of learning and responding to commands, forming bonds with humans, and displaying impressive problem-solving skills within their limitations.

While Huskies can display intelligence and have unique cognitive abilities within the context of being a dog, their intelligence cannot be compared to the complexity and depth of human intelligence. Humans have a much broader range of cognitive capabilities and a higher level of overall intelligence.

So, Are Siberian Huskies Smart?

Yes, huskies are smart. Huskies possess a unique array of cognitive abilities that go beyond traditional measures of obedience intelligence. While they may present training challenges due to their independent nature, their problem-solving skills, adaptability, and working abilities demonstrate their true intelligence.

Understanding their distinct personality traits, tailoring training methods, and providing a stimulating environment are key to unlocking their cognitive potential. Huskies make loyal companions, and their intelligence adds to their appeal as beloved family pets.

How smart is your husky?

Share stories of their smarts in the comments below.

Further reading: Siberian Husky Behavior Traits


Why are huskies so smart?

Huskies are known for their intelligence, which is why they are often ranked highly in terms of dog breed intelligence. According to Stanley Coren’s research, huskies rank 45th out of 79 in terms of their ability to learn new commands and obey known commands on the first try.

Are huskies dumb or smart?

Huskies are generally considered intelligent dogs. While intelligence can vary among individuals, calling them “dumb” would be inaccurate. They possess problem-solving abilities and adaptability, but their intelligence may differ from other breeds. Proper training and understanding of their specific needs are important to nurture their intelligence.

Are huskies easy to train?

Training a husky can be more challenging compared to other breeds. While they are intelligent, huskies have a strong prey drive and are often independent thinkers. This can make them a bit stubborn and difficult to train. However, with patience and consistent training, they can learn and adapt to new commands.

Are huskies smart dogs?

Yes, huskies are generally considered to be smart dogs. They have an instinctive and adaptive intelligence, which means they are capable of learning new tricks and commands. However, it is important to note that the intelligence of individual dogs can vary, as each husky has its own unique personality.

Can huskies learn a new command easily?

Huskies are intelligent, but they may require more repetitions to learn a new command compared to some other breeds. It typically takes 25 to 40 repetitions for a husky to learn a new command, according to Stanley Coren’s research.

Are huskies one of the smartest dog breeds in the world?

Huskies are often considered to be among the smartest dog breeds in the world. They possess a combination of intelligence and problem-solving skills, which makes them excellent working dogs. They are often used as search and rescue dogs due to their intelligence and ability to navigate difficult terrain.

Watch our YouTube video about husky intelligence.
Photo of author
Max Jacobs
Max Jacobs is the owner and lead author of Husky Gifts. He loves spending time with his family, who have two huskies. Max loves to write and is passionate about creating interesting and engaging content. To learn more, visit the team section of the about page.

2 thoughts on “Are Huskies Smart or Dumb? (Dog Intelligence Ranking)”

  1. This one is a big challenge for siberians: ” and a tendency to test boundaries”. Yes, they will! They’ll absolutely know, and yet they’ll push. And once you have a firm boundary in place, repeat that a few dozen times, and do that without getting flustered or thrown off, they’ll heed it. On to the next boundary to push. I guess when you’re a dog built to do “impossible” things, daily, pushing to see what’s possible is natural. It can really try an owners patience though. But if you can direct that energy, into something they love, while patiently holding boundaries that matter, you get a wonderful dog, who loves to do things with you. You might have taken on a bit of husky in what you do, in the process. You can’t easily spend hours binging TV, if you have a husky. Your new pastime is definitely more active! They want to go, and they’ll drag you into something new.

    Smart – yes, they are possibly smarter, probably smarter, than some very intelligent herding breeds I’ve had (top ten). But it is a different kind of IQ. Voting on “dog most likely to survive on their own”, my husky is above all the others I’ve had. Voting on “dog most likely to do what you ask, right now?”, the husky isn’t looking as good as the herding breeds. It’s not what they were bred to do. They size up and evaluate, your asks. Pleasing a human isn’t a goal for them, unless the human has significance, in their mind. If you ask them to do something they know isn’t smart, they’ll override that ask. The Siberian attitude mirrors Malamutes and other Northern breeds. If you want them to follow you, or your direction, they need a reason. And it could be a relationship of trust, or it could be a simple reward. The trust relationship is better, and really means spending time with your dog, and showing them that you’re a “pack leader” that they should listen to.

    • Hi J, thank you for the detailed and lovely comment! These are great insights for those wondering about the intelligence of huskies and what it’s like to be a husky owner. Your experience with your husky testing boundaries is on point. That has been our experience too. And I’m sure the experience of many other husky owners. I love what you said about ‘when you’re built to do ‘impossible’ things, daily, pushing to see what’s possible is natural.’ Well said!

      I also agree that huskies are probably smarter than very intelligent herding breeds like Border Collies. To me, being smart does not mean being obedient. Instinctive intelligence and adaptive intelligence should be weighted much higher than working and obedience intelligence when assessing the IQ/intelligence of a dog breed.


Leave a Comment

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00