Non-elastic strain behavior was investigated for several different zirconia ceramics and a possible mechanism for anelasticity was discussed. Anelastic strain was detected in zirconia ceramics irrespective of the crystallographic phase and its productivity depended on the particular kind of dopant additive. It was found that the anelastic properties could be significantly influenced by the level of oxygen vacancy in the matrix, and that the anelastic strain might be produced by a slight shift of ionic species. In order to investigate the effect of anelasticity on mechanical properties on zirconia ceramics, the tensile strength was investigated for a wide range of strain rates. The obviously unique strain rate dependence was observed only in the materials having anelastic properties. It was assumed that anelasticity could be efficient at improving the tensile strength.