Corgis Intelligence: How Smart Are They? (Explained)

Corgis Intelligence: How Smart Are They

Being herding dogs, Corgis are naturally smart and respond well to training. Corgis are ranked as the 11th smartest breed in the book ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’ by Stanley Coren. Corgis are outstanding in agility, obedience, tracking, and herding.

So let’s find out what other features make them so smart.

How Do Corgis Rank in Intelligence?

In Stanley Coren’s book ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’ breeds are ranked by intelligence. In this ranking, Corgis are placed 11th out of 138 breeds.

How Smart Are Corgis?

Smart dogs are in abundance, and Corgis are definitely one of them. There are studies that have been initiated to determine this fact, and Corgis have repeatedly performed pretty well.

For one, Corgis are very good at learning new commands. On average, it takes a Corgis between 5 and 15 times to learn a new command, which is a pretty small window compared to other dogs, where it could take weeks for them to learn it.

In essence, this means that a Corgis can learn a command within a few minutes! In addition, Corgis are considered bright because they are capable of retaining old commands, and following them accordingly on the first try.

This is a great factor to attribute to their intelligence because it means that once the command has reached their long-term memory, they will be able to continuously follow the command, without fail, most-to-all of the time.

Instinctive Intelligence

When it comes to their instincts, don’t let their size fool you, Corgis are highly adept and intune with them. What makes them so innately intelligent when it comes to attunement with their surrounding is their history.

Primarily, Corgis were bred to herd cattle; meaning that they had to consistently watch out for stray cows. In modern times, this simple act has had a major positive  impact on their instinctive intelligence.

They are now very keen to notice small and large movement from both small and large animals; which makes them great at warning you that a trespasser is nearby via barking as loud and frequently as they can.

Their history is also the foundation for their alertness and protectiveness. Although they only stand around 12 inches tall, they are used to taking the lead in the form of guarding those who care for them, or the herds that they keep a close eye on.

Obedience Intelligence

Corgis are good at following directions. Why; because they are good at “following the leader”, which is you!

When it comes to these big dogs on little legs listening and taking orders, they have no problem doing so, as long as the orders are consistent and the commands are easy to follow.

As previously stated, they are known to be great at remembering commands that are lodged into their long-term memory, which doesn’t take long to happen; and because of their neurological efficiency, their ability to effectively initiate a demand is very high, and they enjoy it!

Their intelligence when it comes to being obedient is also connected to the relationship that they have with you, their caregiver.

The better the dynamic is between the two of you, the easier it will be for your Corgi to take any simple order you give it, filter it, and execute it with ease and little distraction.


As we know by now, Corgis are pretty smart dogs; which could make you think that they are easy to train and you’d be right for the most part!

Between their efficient brain, strong instincts, and secure loyalty to you, they are more than willing to stand at attention and await your orders. They enjoy learning, which is one reason why training your Corgi will be an effective and fairly easy task.

However, take note that Corgis are fierce little dogs, and although pretty happy-go-lucky for the most part, they are smart enough to come up with their own routines and habits, in association to the commands that you give them.

So due to their confidence and intelligence, they can seem a bit stubborn once they have created their own training, and their habits can be hard to break.

In the end, it will be up to you as the trainer to be even more confident and dominant than the Corgi in order to make sure that training them remains easy.

The Best Corgi Intelligence Features

Your Corgi will have many attributes about it that will convince you that they are truly a smart breed of dog; but what we can delve more into are the two features that make them a prominent breed of intelligent dog: self-correction and herding.

When it comes to self-correction, Corgis are more than capable of learning new commands; however, they are not perfect, and will mess up a few times.

What makes them interesting is the fact that they have the ability to realize what they have done wrong, and correct themselves before you do, or after you do.

Next, their ability to herd large animals like steeds and cattle is impressive because of their method and their size.

They keep their herd safe and together by barking and circling around them, which keeps the herd in a fairly tight pack, making it easier for them to maneuver through the lands; and with their size, they use their quick agility to move faster than the herd, making the Corgi the leader.

Possible Negatives That Come With a Smart Dog

With the intelligence of a Corgi, you can expect that they will eventually show you a side of them that you weren’t expecting. One negative attribute that comes with a smart Corgi is their ability to “work the system”.

Once they learn the routine, they may find a more efficient or faster way of executing a command, which will most likely seem like they are challenging your intelligence and authority. Another downside to working with an intelligent Corgi is boredom.

Since their memory is great, they will easily complete the your ordered task(s) faster and faster each time; meaning that eventually, they will become bored and understimulated.

This shortcoming can lead to adventurous behavior that could prone them to go find stimulation without your permission, or even creating their own fun, which could end up being a bit messy.

How Smart Can You Expect Your Corgi To Be?

Corgis are naturally smart dogs, and honestly don’t lack much of a capacity to be considered a “dumb dog”; however, there are some differences on individual basis, and which can shine through as you get to know your dog.

All in all, you can expect your Corgi to be as smart as you allow it to be, in accordance to how well and creatively you train it. Allowing your small beast of a dog to use its brain in challenging moments successfully will only enhance their natural brain power.

Also, training it in a structured and traditional way will teach it to know necessary skills and traits that most dogs know; while getting creative with your demands – and rewards – will give it proper motivation to pick up on out-of-the-box tricks and trades that will show off and build on their natural intelligence.

Can Corgi Intelligence Be Improved?

All intelligence can be improved, especially a Corgi’s! There are several small, yet impactful ways to increase their natural and trainable intelligence; and one of those ways is to correct their mistakes.

Yes, we know that they are capable of self-correction, but not every time.

So when there is an opportunity to make the wrong of your Corgi right, it would behoove the both of you to take full advantage of the opportunity, because it will fill in the gap of what they are unaware of, thus, improving their overall intelligence.

Another way that your Corgi’s intelligence can enhance it to watch it work, and help it to create efficient manners of execution. Basically, working with your dog to create easier ways of completing any task can take away stress on its brain, and speed up the thinking process.

This in turn will allow their brain to follow, interpret, and execute your orders – or their ideas – much faster, with a clearer sense of operation, which leads to more success.

Corgi Intelligence in Comparison with Shiba Inus, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes and Golden Retrievers

When the intelligence of a Corgi is compared to the likes of Shiba Inus, Akitas, Malamutes, and Retrievers, it can be a true rival, and it definitely matches up to their intellectual counterparts.

Although these other breeds of dog are much bigger than a Corgi, science has proven that just because a head is bigger, doesn’t mean  that they are typically smarter.

Malamutes and Akitas are smart dogs indeed, however, they aren’t the best when it comes to self-correction like Corgis.

Shiba Inus and Akitas are right up the same alley of intelligence with Corgis, but their worker’s mentality makes them a great team player, yet, not as effective in solitary leadership when compared to Corgis.

Retrievers are the top rival of Corgis for the intelligence trophy, but being able to control an entire herd of bigger animals can safely place Corgis at the top of the highly intelligent dog list, when compared to these other breeds of smart dogs.

You Might Also Like:

Scroll to Top