Are Yorkies Intelligent Dogs?

All this beauty and brains to boot!
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Yorkshire terriers bring to mind visions of pampered purse dogs. Your Yorkie certainly doesn't mind that you fell in love with her because she's so adorable, but she's got intelligence, too. Look past her soft brown eyes and her gorgeous hair and appreciate her for her brains and her beauty.

Above Average

Yorkshire terriers may not be the Einsteins of the canine world, but they are intelligent. Very intelligent, actually, according to the Official Yorkie Guide. Tracy Barr and Peter F. Veling agree in "Yorkshire Terriers for Dummies," saying that while they're not up there with the smartest of the smart dogs like border collies and poodles, Yorkies' intelligence is above average.

Bred to Work

Your Yorkie has her roots in the working class. The American Kennel Club reports that Yorkshire terriers were bred to be rat catchers and were valued for keeping 19th-century clothing mills free from the vermin. Being bred to work plays an important role in the intelligence of your tiny terrier, as working dogs are highly trainable. According to Stanley Coren, author of "The Intelligence of Dogs," good trainers can accomplish many things with dogs of any intelligence level, but they know that dogs with a working mind-set are easier to teach.

Basic Training

Training for your Yorkie should begin as soon as you bring her home. The Official Yorkie Guide suggests starting out very basic: the first lesson should be to introduce her to her new home, getting her familiar with where her food and water are, where she'll be sleeping and the proper place to potty. Potty-training may take a few weeks, but with patience and consistency she'll catch on. Use simple, one-word commands with your young Yorkshire terrier during early training. She'll be ready for puppy kindergarten by the time she is 3 months old. You may be able to train your Yorkie on your own, but classes will help socialize your little one and introduce her to an array of new sights and sounds. In her book on Yorkies, Cheryl S. Smith writes that exposing your Yorkie to new stimuli in a nonthreatening environment will help to make her a well-adjusted terrier.

A Secondary Education

Once your clever Yorkshire terrier has completed her basic education, there's no reason to think that her schooling can't continue. Cheryl S. Smith recommends continuing your terrier's education with canine good citizen classes and sport training. Vetstreet reveals that even though Yorkies are in the AKC's toy class, their enjoyment of speed, action and applause makes them perfect for agility and rally sports. Even if being a jock isn't your little terrier's thing, you can teach her a few tricks to stimulate her brain as part of her ongoing education. Cheryl S. Smith advises starting out with easy commands like sitting and rolling over. Once she has the simple stuff down, you can move on to more complex tricks like giving a salute or a high five or limping on command.

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