My daughter just read an online article that said the smartest dog breeds were: Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Border Collie, and Poodle.
I have no idea about poodles, so I'll let them slide.
I know Border Collies are smart because the herd and move cattle, horses, sheep, etc. More on this later.
But hounds - including beagles - get a bum rap on this. These lists assume that obeying and training constitutes intelligences. Oh contraire.
Retrievers - Labs or Goldens - obey and are very trainable because a characteristic of the breed is to be so. They were bred to follow the commands and instructions of the hunter: "Go get that duck I just shot down. I'm tired of walking." Off bounces 70 pounds of canine eager to please and obey. Who's the smart one - the dog or the hunter?
On the other hand, consider the hound. The hunter stands around, maybe riding a horse, while the hound does all the work. It finds the prey, follow the prey, flushes it out, and then makes the kill. The hunter then walks up, picks up the fallen critter and smiles for his picture. In this case, who's the smartest? Who did all the work. That's right, the hound.
So I vote that hounds are smarter. And having watched my strategize against each other (yes plot and plan), I feel I've seen it with my own eyes. The downside of the hound's intelligence and instinct to do it himself is that he's stubborn: "Why should I listen to you? I do all the work while you stand there and take all of the credit." Meanwhile, the retrievers do what you want and smile up at you with that big goofy grin that says "boy oh boy are you smart. You made do a stupid trick for a lousy kibble."
I'll agree that border collies are smart. They do both - work independently and follow the master's commands. So I'll give 'em that one. But what do you think? Who's smarter - hounds or retrievers? Give your vote in the comments.