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Are Yorkies Smart?

Have you ever looked at a cute little Yorkie in a bag or sweater and thought to yourself – I wonder how intelligent that little guy is?

This little toy breed is often thought of as a lap dog and not really a smart dog.

But seriously, if you have a Yorkshire Terrier you probably want to know if he’s smart or not.

The good news is that yes, Yorkies (even teacup Yorkies) are considered to be a very smart breed.

In fact, they are even considered to be of above average intelligence!

Sounds pretty great, right?

Below we’ll give you more information on what this means for your little Yorkie.

How Intelligent Is A Yorkshire Terrier?


According to Smart Canine, the Yorkie ranks #34 out of 138 on the list of smartest dog breeds.

That means only 33 other breeds are considered to be smarter than a Yorkie – that’s pretty dang smart!.

Canine psychologist Stanley Coren came up with an intelligence test for dog breeds, “Coren’s Dog Intelligence Criteria,” that was used to measure the intelligence of the dogs by breed.

Coren’s criteria used the following for the test:

  • how many repetitions are required for the dog to learn a new command
  • the rate as which the dog obeys a command the first time

If you’ve got a Yorkie, then you know that their nature is likely why the breed did score so high in the intelligence rating.

Because this intelligence test is basically an obedience test, right?

And Yorkshire Terriers are definitely obedient and easy to train.

On average, it only takes between 15 to 25 repetitions for a Yorkie to learn a new command.

That’s why they are so freaking easy to train!

Based on the ranking for Yorkies in this study, they are considered to be of above average intelligence, compared to most dog breeds.

But Yorkie owners already knew that, right?

yorkie in a basket

The Truth About How Smart Yorkies Are

While Yorkies did score well on Coren’s intelligence test, I think most Yorkie owners will agree that this is a smart breed.

They are a very obedient that doesn’t take long to learn commands and actually obey them.

Yorkies are not considered to be a stubborn breed at all, as evidenced by the Coren Criteria scoring for this breed..

Though it was not measured in the Coren Criteria, Yorkies also have amazing adaptive intelligence, which is how the dog can solve problems or learn things on his own.

Specifically, Yorkies excel at recognizing and understanding the emotions of humans, which is what makes them such great companions.

woman training yorkie

Can I Make My Yorkie Smarter?

Even though your Yorkie is a very intelligent dog, you still may want to improve his intelligence even more.

Luckily, yes, there are a few ways that you can do that.

Early Training

The sooner you can start training your Yorkie, then the smarter the dog will be.

Ideally, you get your Yorkie as an young puppy and can get started on the training immediately.

The sooner you can start training a Yorkshire Terrier, the more the dog will be able to absorb from the trainer.

Use Smart Dog Toys

Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of smart dog toys as these are great intelligence boosting tools for Yorkie owners.

Interactive toys and puzzles for dogs stimulate mental activity and boost intelligence in Yorkshire Terriers and other dog breeds.

We recommend the following:

yorkie playing with toy

Final Word

As you can see, Yorkshire Terriers do score well when their intelligence is scored based on their obedience.

In fact, these adorable little rascals are actually highly intelligent, and they make great companions.

So, if you want a smart and obedient dog that is affectionate, then consider a Yorkshire Terrier.

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National Canine Research Association of America