How Smart Is a Yorkshire Terrier

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Yorkshire terriers, also known as yorkies, are relatively small dog breeds, making them a good choice for home pets. Their affectionate personality and loyalty to family members make them incredible companions as lap dogs. However, how smart is a Yorkshire terrier?

How Smart Is a Yorkshire Terrier?

The Yorkshire terrier is really smart, ranking position 27 in intelligence levels. They are quick learners and can learn, understand and obey a new command after 15 to 25 repetitions. In most cases, a yorkie will remember the information and commands it learns in its entire life span.

The intelligence of yorkies makes them friendly to family members and unfriendly to strangers. Typically, yorkies can recognize strangers and bark to alert their owners, making them good watchdogs.

Yorkie jumping with owner

What Makes Yorkshire Terriers Smart Dogs?

Even without training or interaction with other intelligent dog breeds, yorkies portray intelligence in how they interact with family members, children, and interactive toys. Some of the things that contribute to the smartness of yorkies include:

Adaptive Intelligence

Adaptive intelligence is the ability to interact and learn from the surroundings and apply the knowledge to solve general problems. Yorkies demonstrate high adaptive intelligence as they can learn and adapt to a new environment without human intervention.

Keep in mind that adaptive intelligence varies widely across Yorkshire terriers, so don’t expect your yorkie to demonstrate the same adaptive intelligence as your neighbors.

Natural Instincts

Instinctive intelligence refers to the ability of the dog to perform duties that it was bred for, such as fetching, hunting, and guarding. Unlike adaptive intelligence, instinctive intelligence tends to be consistent across yorkies. 

Considering that Yorkshire terriers were initially bred as ratters to help catch rats in mines and mills in Northern England, they demonstrate high hunting intelligence when chasing small prey and when playing with interactive toys. 

Ease of Training

Usually, you can tell the IQ of the dog depending on the number of times you need to repeat a new command before the dog learns and obeys. Typically, the fewer the times, the smarter the dog.

A yorkie has a high IQ and can successfully learn and obey a new command after 15 to 25 repetitions. This quick-learning ability of yorkies makes them the 27th smartest dog breed.

Although yorkies are a bit stubborn due to their hunting instincts, they still demonstrate around 70% success rate in obeying new commands.

Happy yorkie jumping on fields

How Can I Improve the Intelligence of My Yorkie?

Although the adaptive and instinctive intelligence allows Yorkshire terriers to learn and adapt to some basic things on their own, you can use the following tips to improve their overall smartness.

Introduce Your Yorkie to Hide and Seek

If you thought that this game could only stimulate the mind of your kids, it can also stimulate the mind of a yorkie and sharpen its intelligence and searching skills. However, you will need first to teach your yorkie the stay command before you play this game.

Command your yorkie to sit and stay and then hide somewhere in the backyard. Let the yorkie search for you, and once it finds you, give it treats and praise it. Typically, this game will sharpen your dog’s hunting skills and improve its concentration on the job at hand.

Provide Your Yorkie With Interactive Toys and Puzzles 

Just as puzzles and toys help in the mental development of kids, they improve the mental activity and stimulation in Yorkshire terriers. The challenges posed by the puzzles and toys make yorkies think more, sharpening their intelligence levels.

For instance, providing a treat dispenser such as the Our Pets IQ Treat Ball can make it think more as it tries to get the treats out of the dispenser. You can even increase the difficulty level by reducing the size of the opening, forcing the dog to develop an idea of how to retrieve the treats.

How Can I Know That My Yorkie Is Smart?

Although it can be challenging to know whether the yorkie is smart enough, especially if you are a new dog owner, you can know your dog is intelligent if it does the following things:

  • Mastering new commands and techniques with ease
  • Understanding when you are upset or departing 
  • Adapting and knowing how to remain safe in a new environment
  • Solving puzzles and interacting with toys
A black-brown colored yorkie looking straight

Related Questions 

Are Stubborn Yorkies Intelligent?

Stubborn yorkies are equally intelligent but are challenging to train due to their territorial instincts. It is advisable to use positive reinforcement methods when training stubborn yorkies.

Can a Yorkshire Terrier Learn Tricks?

Yes, yorkies are intelligent and can learn unique tricks such as rolling over, spinning around, or standing with their hind legs. However, you will need to entice it with rewards such as praises and treats to accomplish this.

Final Thoughts 

The adaptive and instinctive intelligence of yorkies allows them to adapt fast to new environments. Although they are a bit stubborn and challenging to train, they are among the most intelligent dog breeds, and you can train them with ease as long as you use positive reinforcement methods.