How Smart Are Yorkies? (Explained)

If you bring a Yorkie home, you may think that they are the smartest dog around. And you could be right. You may be curious as to how smart the Yorkie will be and may ask around to see how smart Yorkies are.

Yorkies can be very smart. While other small breed dogs tend to score low on intelligence tests, a Yorkie will score high. They are smart at listening to commands and can be good working dogs with the right training. While a lot of larger breeds are often given the award of being intelligent, the Yorkie ranks way up high as well.

There are many reasons why your Yorkie can be considered intelligent and with the right training, you can make this even better. Let’s take a closer look into how smart a Yorkie can be and how we can measure their intelligence as well.

How Smart are Yorkies?

Yes, your Yorkie will be considered smart and intelligent. They may not be as high up on the intelligence scale as some of the bigger breeds of dogs, but they are still very smart and will be able to catch up on commands and tricks in no time. With the right training, you will find that your Yorkie will be able to learn anything that you want them to, without too much repetition.

The amount of intelligence that your Yorkie will have does depend on the individual dog. Some are smarter than others and seem to have a talent of catching onto some of the skills that you want to teach them. Others may take longer and can struggle with the training. Trying out a few different training methods and making sure they are all done in areas without a lot of distractions can all make a difference.

How is Yorkie Intelligence Measured?

There are several tests that can be used to measure out the intelligence of your Yorkie and any other dog breed as well. One of the most common options is from Stanley Coren. There are three stages that are used to define how smart a dog can be. These categories including instinctive, adaptive, and working and obedience.

In the first stage with instinctive, we will look at the ability of the dog to perform the specific task that they were bred to do. For example, you will find that the Beagle was bred for hunting and the Sheepdog is connected with herding. The second stage is all about how capable it is for the dog to solve problems on its own.

Through the Coren test, 90 purebreds were listed out and then the dogs would be grouped into different categories to determine how smart each one is. The three categories that come with this one include:

  • The smartest dogs: Every breed in this group would have a general understanding of new commands quickly, usually in five commands or less. They can obey the first time you give the command. Very few dogs will fit into this category.
  • The excellent working dogs: This will have breeds who will understand commands well after 5 to 15 repetitions and then they will be able to obey the command from the first time 85% of the time.
  • Above-average working dogs: This is where the Yorkie is going to fall. Dogs can be much lower, having trouble with the different components of learning. When a dog is in this group, they are able to learn a command after 15 to 25 repetitions. This doesn’t take too long but is a bit longer than some of the others. They are able to obey the first command that you give them about 75% or more of the time.

Some dogs will struggle with commands and may need more than the 25 repetitions in order to get it done. The Yorkie in that test ranked 27th out of 90 breeds, so they are not in the smartest breed category from above, but they still are smarter than a lot of other breeds when it comes to learning some new topics.

Your Yorkie is actually bred to work so they belong in the working class, though they were a little bit different working than some of the other options. They were often found inside of clothing mills to help catch rats and keep them out of the way. This is part of why Yorkies have a higher intelligence level; they were bred to do a job and they are good at it.

How Smart are Yorkies Compared to Other Dog Breeds?

When it comes to smaller dogs, many are not consider that intelligent. This is something that is often reserved for the bigger breeds. The Yorkie is one of the exceptions to this. In fact, from the 90 recognized breeds, the Yorkie is in the 27th spot for above average intelligence. This isn’t the highest, but there are still quite a few dog breeds who are not as smart as the Yorkie.

In this spot, the Yorkie is able to learn commands fairly quickly, usually within 15 to 25 repetitions. And once they have been able to learn the common, they are able to obey it 70% of the time from the first word. This means that the Yorkies are in the top five of the smartest dogs out there.

Of course, this is a pretty big statement. It is talking about Yorkies in general as a breed, not as the individual Yorkie. There are some Yorkies who will pick up on commands right away and do not need a lot of training. Others seem to struggle with learning a new command and will want to spend their time playing and having fun instead. Since Yorkies have a lot of energy and tend to get distracted, your training sessions could be a little harder to pull off.

Can I Train My Yorkie to Be Smarter?

Yes, it is possible to train your Yorkie to be smarter. The more training that you can do, the smarter your Yorkie will be. You do need to be patient with your Yorkie and give them some time to learn. But Yorkies can be taught new tricks and the more they learn, the better they will do for training in the future.

When you get started with training, start slow and with things that are simple. Commands that are one word will usually be best for this and can avoid confusion. You can add in more words later for more complicated commands, but simple ones are best for now. Since your Yorkie is smart and they are very loyal, you will be able to train them well and you will find them as very obedient to work with.

While you are training, keep in mind that Yorkies are sometimes stubborn. They may be smart enough to learn a new trick, but they may also be stubborn enough to not want to do the work. Show them that you are the dominant one in the relationship right from the beginning and hten work from there.

What May Slow My Yorkie Down When Learning?

There are a few reasons why your Yorkie may not do as well with learning as other dogs. This does not mean that they are not intelligent. There may just be something that is distracting them and can make it hard for them to get the training down. Some of the reasons that your Yorkie may not do well with training could be the method of teaching you use, any distractions that are around, whether the dog is overexcited and hungry, and more.

How Smart are Yorkies

The more that you can expose your Yorkie to some different learning elements, the more they will be able to learn. Getting them outside is a good way to help them learn. If they are only ever around you in the home, this can limit the amount they will learn over time. The more they can interact with other dogs and humans and more you will be able to take them to new locations, the smarter your Yorkie will become.

If you do plan to have some training sessions at home, then make sure you are limiting the amount of distractions around. Your Yorkie can get overly excited in no time and they have no problem bouncing around, going after new toys, and having fun. If you allow too many distractions, then there is no hope for the training session. A quiet room alone with your Yorkie is one of the most effective ways to help your Yorkie learn something new.

Understanding Your Yorkie’s Intelligence

Many times the intelligence of your Yorkie is overshadowed by all of the bigger breeds who may be smarter than them. This does not mean your Yorkie is not smart though. It just means that they learn a little bit differently. When compared to other small breed dogs, the Yorkie can be really smart and may impress you with all of the knowledge that they already have. With the right training and exposure to a lot of different types of situations, you will find that your Yorkie can be very smart.