How Smart Are Huskies? (Husky IQ)

Photo of a white Husky with dollar bills on top of his head and a idea light bulb above his head. How Smart Are Huskies?

 Many people believe that Huskies are amongst the smartest dog breeds out there! So, what’s the reality? How smart are Huskies? Read on and find out!

When compared to other dog breeds, Huskies are considered average intelligence. They rank in the middle to lower end of intelligence when using dog IQ tests. There is one category in which Huskies are exceptionally smart, but that’s their uncanny ability to engage and communicate with humans! Learn about what goes into Husky intelligence by reading more below!

Are Huskies smart?

We don’t blame you for asking again. After all, they’re not so bright in some ways but intelligent in others. So what do you trust? Essentially, it’ll work best if you consider a Husky to be average intelligence. They are not dumb dogs, but not the brightest dogs, either.

The major component of a dog’s intelligence is their ability to be tested, of course, and the main factor determining their intelligence is whether they obey. Many Husky parents will tell you that these dogs understand perfectly well what you want them to do; they just may not do it. So, there’s no way for a test to really determine, one way or the other, how smart a Husky is.

Unlimited claims, No credit checks, No upper age limit & Multiple pet discounts

Compare the best rates on pet insurance

How do I tell if my Husky is smart?

Pet parents are often amongst the best people to help give their Husky an intelligence test since they’ll be able to determine when their Husky is confused versus stubborn (in most cases). The criteria used to help understand general intelligence (more on specialized intelligence later) are:

  • The number of repetitions to learn a new command
  • The success rate of your dog obeying the command

The number of repetitions is thought to suggest your dog’s comprehension level. The fewer repetitions they need, the more intelligent they are. On the other hand, the success rate of your dog’s obedience is thought to show how smart your dog is at understanding the need for them to listen to you. This success rate, if it’s higher, implies more intelligence. However, this is also where a Husky’s stubbornness kicks in!

What is the IQ of a Husky?

A Husky’s IQ is thought to be lower than 100. Since 100 and above is considered smart, Huskies rank somewhere below that. Of course, the actual number can vary from dog to dog, and that stubbornness level!

How intelligent are Huskies compared to humans?

Smart dogs are considered the average intelligence of a 2.5-3-year-old child. In the case of a Husky, therefore, they would be considered to be the intelligence level of a 2-year-old, or perhaps less. 

How to calculate a Husky’s intelligence

If you are stuck with the stubborn factor. In that case, there are designated ways that you can test your Husky’s natural intelligence level. Dogs are tested using 3 different categories, so you can use an average from those to help you understand what you’re dealing with. 

Adaptive intelligence, which is a dog’s ability to adjust their behavior according to human needs and expectations, is high. Any guesses on why? That’s right, their ability to blatantly ignore their human’s request for obedience. A dog who can’t understand their human’s request can’t adapt to ignoring it, after all!

A Husky is also considered intelligent in terms of their working intelligence! They were bred as work dogs, meaning they respond well to their work roles, whatever those might be. However, that stubbornness can kick in here, losing marks, since they sometimes can get lazy on the job, even if they understand their role. They also vocalize a lot, which is another adaptive and working intelligence marker! 

Lastly, their instinctive intelligence. These dogs are thought to have a strong instinctive intelligence that makes them great for relying on those instincts in home and work settings. For example, they’ll continuously fight for alpha in your household, which would be typical of their work behavior. 

Many excerpts believe that Huskies are smarter than their noted intelligence levels. Still, they are so stubborn that testing them to rank them properly is “beneath them,” so experts aren’t able to really get a feel for their actual intelligence.

Do Huskies have a good memory?

Experts think Huskies can have great memories, but it’s hard to tell for the same excuse listed above!

Husky intelligence vs. Other dogs

So, let’s look at how Huskies rank compared to other dogs. For this, we’re using their ability to learn a new command and how many repetitions it will take. This is done mostly to keep the metrics as fair as possible!

A Husky would take between 25-50 repetitions to complete a new command or trick taught to them. A Dalmatian, on the other hand, would require only 15-25 repetitions. A German Shepherd, considered the 3rd smartest dog in the world, would only need 5-10 repetitions.

When you see the numbers stack up like that, it’s easy to understand why and how Huskies are so far below many other dogs! However, it also means that there’s a lot of confusion for those that have had Huskies and know them to be smart creatures.

Are Huskies smarter than Golden Retrievers?

No, Huskies are thought to be dumber than Golden Retrievers when using those same metrics as explained above. Huskies are thought to be more sociable than Retrievers, however, when comparing those two things directly.

Are Huskies smarter than German Shepherds?

Huskies are definitely nowhere as bright as German Shepherds, as shown by looking at the explanations and examples above! However, German Shepherds are often below Huskies for their social skills and general “softness” of personalities. Huskies are known as being goofballs with strange expressions and weird sleep position.

Are Huskies smarter than Labs?

Labs are thought to be in the same category as Retrievers, so Huskies would again be inferior to their intelligence. Labs tend to be on even ground with Huskies as far as their social tendencies, however, so it depends mostly on the individual dog and their personalities, needs, and preferences.

Why do many people think Huskies are smart?

When you see everything all laid out like that, it’s easy to start to wonder just how intelligent (or not intelligent) a Husky is! And yet, you’ll get many defensive pet parents that will argue for their dog’s natural intelligence! There are quite a few things to think about:

  • The fairness of the testing
  • The individual dog
  • The Husky’s social superpower

The fairness of the testing

As you know, you can’t give everyone a standardized test and expect them all to ace it. As many become more experienced with animal psychology and IQ tests, experts feel that Huskies don’t do well on a standardized test. They are the rebel, the divergent dog, the troublemaker. Most of us remember our school days well enough to know that those kinds of characters and personalities rarely do well on those kinds of tests. But that doesn’t reflect on their actual intelligence level!

With more testing and experience, perhaps a more accurate testing method can be created for Huskies to really get a chance to shine in their intelligence level! Or, experts can find a way to help Huskies test better on those classic tests that work with all of the other dog breeds out there. There’s always one troublemaker in every crowd, right?

The individual dog

Breed intelligence is also a stereotype. Some dogs can be smarter or dumber than their breed’s specifications, and it comes down to their natural intelligence and individual personality. The best person to understand their individual dog’s intelligence, of course, is their pet parent! That’s right, “Mom knows best” is true after all!

The Husky’s social superpower

A Husky’s social ability is where most people really see the positive difference waiting for them. Huskies are loud dogs, to put it lightly, and they love to talk to their humans. This is very common when pet parents give their Husky a command to do something, and their dog complains about it or literally turns away like they didn’t hear you. While this is certainly intelligence, it’s unclear just how intelligent a dog is.


Huskies aren’t dumb dogs, but they aren’t the most intelligent dogs ever, either. A lot is going on in those brains that allow for any number of possibilities, making a Husky’s actual IQ score a bit of a mystery!

Huskies are seen as having average intelligence rather than the often assumed above-average intelligence. They rank well in instinctive and adaptive intelligence, but their stubbornness makes it difficult to actually test these particular kinds of dogs using the same criteria used to test other dogs. One evident strength for Huskies is their ability to be very intelligent regarding socialization!

Know a Husky Mom or Dad that will enjoy this? Share it with them!

Unlimited claims, No credit checks, No upper age limit & Multiple pet discounts

Compare the best rates on pet insurance

Photo of author
Dog Advisory Council

A team whose main goal is to serve knowledge about the canine world. Together since 2012, we thrive to transform and inform, so each dog can live a happy and fulfilling life. Read more about us.