Are Yorkies Smart? [High IQ Truth]

The Yorkshire Terrier is a small breed of dog that was originally bred in England in the 19th century. The breed gets its name from the English county of Yorkshire, where it was first developed. Yorkshire Terriers were originally bred as working dogs and were used for tasks such as ratting and catching vermin. 

However, they quickly became renowned as companion animals, and their popularity has only grown in the years since. Today, Yorkshire Terriers are one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the world and are prized for their small size, playfulness, and affectionate nature.

As a family dog expert, I get asked about the temperament and intelligence of dog breeds all the time. It is an important piece of information to know before you adopt! Luckily Yorkshire Terriers are a very clever breed.

By the end of this article you will know

  • That Yorkies are a top 30 intelligent dog breed
  • Why Yorkies are so smart and trainable
  • Some interesting quirks that can make Yorkies seem dumb (but they are NOT)
are Yorkies smart
Are Yorkies smart? [High IQ TRUTH]

If you are the lucky owner of a Yorkshire Terrier, we envy you! Loyal, loving, and amicable, Yorkies are the perfect companion dog

However, have you ever wondered how smart exactly is your beloved pooch?

Are Yorkies Smart Dogs?

Yorkies have above-average intelligence, according to canine expert Stanley Cohen. Yorkies truly epitomize the phrase “beauty with intellect.” 

Yorkshire Terriers are better at learning, anticipating, obeying, and discerning than many other canine breeds.

Yorkies were originally bred to hunt rats in textile mills. Because dogs must move near machinery, clothing mills are a risky place for them to be. Yorkies, on the other hand, were able to find their way and were quick, fearless, and intelligent in their pursuit of the rodents.

Although Yorkies are not among the top ten brightest dog breeds, they are smarter than the majority of dog breeds in the world. They are incredibly affectionate and friendly with their owners, making training them a breeze.

Yorkshire Terrier in the forest
Yorkshire Terrier is standing on a wood.

How Do Yorkies Rank In Terms Of Intelligence?

Yorkies are ranked 27th out of 90 dog breeds, which puts them in the above-average intelligence group. This indicates that after 15 to 25 repetitions, a Yorkshire Terrier will learn a new command and will obey it 70% of the time the first time it is practiced or spoken.

Yorkshire Terriers are quick learners, and the more new aspects and orders they are exposed to, the more probable they will learn and remember that information throughout their life.

Yorkshire Terrier running
Yorkshire Terrier running in the park.

Yorkie Intelligence In Comparison To Other Breeds 

Even though Yorkies are quite intelligent, there is a big disparity between their obedience and functioning intelligence and that of the top ten canines in the world. The top ten most intelligent dog breeds are in a league of their own. So, how bright are the class leaders?

The most intelligent canines can learn a new command in as few as five repetitions! That’s at least three times the speed of the Yorkshire Terrier. And, depending on the instruction, it might only take a few minutes for them to pick it up!

The smartest dog breeds have a 95 percent or higher success rate in obeying a recognized order on the first try and will obey a command 9 times out of 10 the first time they are given it. 

Some of the most popular dog breeds also happen to be the smartest. The Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd Dog, Rottweiler, Doberman, Sheltie, and Poodle are among them. (Therefore Labradoodles and Goldendoodles are smart dogs)

different dog breeds
Different dog breeds posing together.

How Is Doggy Intelligence Measured?

Just like humans, “intelligence” is a word or term that has a plethora of interpretations. Let’s take it a step back and look at how a dog’s intelligence is determined.

are Yorkies hypoallergenic
Are Yorkies hypoallergenic? (Allergy and Yorkshire Terrier Guide)

Are Yorkies Trainable?

When testing a dog’s IQ using Dr. Coren’s dog intelligence criteria, it was discovered that the number of repetitions required for the dog to acquire a command was the most important factor to consider. The fewer repetitions were required, the more intelligent a dog was deemed. 

Yorkshire Terriers are easy to train since they learn quickly in roughly 25 repetitions. As a result, when compared to other dog breeds, they have shown a relatively higher success rate in obeying commands.

Instincts of Dogs

Guarding, fetching, hunting, pointing, and other jobs that the different breeds were developed for are all examples of instinctive intelligence. 

Yorkshire Terriers were developed to keep rats out of textile mills, and as a result, they have a high level of instinctual intelligence. Exceedingly fast and nimble, they have a high prey drive and learn what is required of them quickly. 

Adaptive Intelligence 

Is your dog capable of solving problems? Is it true that your dog learns from its mistakes? The ability of your pooch to learn for itself is referred to as adaptive intelligence.

Yorkshire Terriers all have a similar level of natural intelligence. Individual dogs, however, can have a wide range of adaptive intelligence. Your Yorkie does not necessarily have to have a high adaptive IQ just because another Yorkie does, although both dogs might share the same instincts and love for chasing small things. 

Raising An Intelligent Dog

Yorkies are “above-average clever” dogs, according to dog psychologist Stanley Coren. They were ranked 34th out of 138 dog breeds for intelligence. Nonetheless, the Yorkie’s genuine intellect is derived from their capacity to recognize and convey human emotions.

Intelligent dogs are not suitable for everyone. Intelligent dogs need loads of mental stimulation for a happy, balanced life and are known to be higher maintenance than other breeds that are content to lounge around the house.

If a Yorkie, or any intelligent dog is under-stimulated and bored, it could lead to some destructive activities or behavior like chewing, digging, and excessive barking. Even though Yorkies aren’t particularly destructive, it’s still necessary to meet their needs.

a Yorkie dog outside
A Yorkie dog standing outside.

How You Can Make Your Yorkie Smarter? 

While it is difficult to change the instincts of dogs, some other practices throughout your dog’s life will expose him to human-like behaviors that he may grow to exhibit. These human-like behaviors are often thought of as “intelligent”. 

Socialize, a LOT! 

Dogs are social creatures by nature, and their intelligence is largely shaped by their interactions with other dogs. When puppies are first born, they are not yet capable of understanding complex canine communication. However, as they grow and develop, they begin to pick up on the subtle nuances of dog body language and vocalizations. 

This process of socialization is essential for a puppy’s development, as it helps them to learn how to communicate with other dogs. As a result, puppies who have been properly socialized are typically much smarter and more well-adjusted than those who have not.

Yorkshire Terriers in a basket
Two Yorkshire Terrier puppies in a basket.

Socialization also plays an important role in a dog’s ability to learn new tricks and commands. Dogs who are used to interacting with humans tend to be much better at picking up on new instructions than those who are not. 

This is because they are more attuned to the way that humans communicate, and they understand that humans can be a source of food or treats. As a result, socialization is an important part of any dog training program. Dogs who are properly socialized will typically learn new tricks much more quickly than those who are not.

Start Training Early 

You should begin housebreaking and housetraining your puppy as soon as possible. This is because your canine will assimilate and learn more information the younger he is.

Your Yorkshire Terrier will be less likely to engage in undesirable behavior if you start teaching him commands like “Come here” and “Sit” from an early age.

Remember that because these adorable puppies are young and learning may take some time, but with constant efforts on both sides, they will get there eventually.

Yorkie puppies cute
Even super cute Yorkie puppies can act hyper

Practice Basic Hand Signals

You can signify ” leave” or “go” by moving your fingers. Also, you can say “stay” or “wait” with hand gestures such as pointing a finger or putting your palms forward. Your Yorkie will follow and obey commands if you use these hand signs.

Most canines are excellent at reading and understanding body language, so reading visual cues as commands comes naturally to them.

Try to make sure your furry friend is in a distraction-free setting before beginning to utilize any commands. This will encourage your puppy to concentrate solely on your hand signals.

To avoid confusion for your small Yorkie puppy, make sure that each of these hand signals is distinct from the others.

Yorkshire Terrier eating
Yorkshire Terrier was given a reward after training with his owner.

Be consistent and patient 

Consistency is key in training any dog, much less a sensitive dog like the Yorkshire Terrier. Some days, your Yorkie might be distracted and moody, or simply not feeling it. Keep training sessions short and sweet, the last thing you want is a bored, distracted student.

Use positive reinforcement only, and never punishment. If a correction is needed, deliver a calm, firm correction and simply move on to the next thing, rewarding lavishly when your Yorkie accomplishes it. 

Yorkshire Terrier at the park
Yorkshire Terrier is being trained at the park.

Provide Toys or Interactive Puzzles 

Providing toys or puzzles to your canine partner might help him become more active energetic, and mentally stimulated. Treat dispensing balls are a fantastic way for your pet to learn how to move the pieces of the puzzle to get tasty rewards.

Yorkie chewing toy
Yorkie is busy chewing on his toy.

Final Thoughts 

Whether or not Yorkies are smart, one thing’s for sure – they are affectionate, loyal dogs that love being with their owners. Thanks for reading, and all the best to you and your Yorkie!