Tibetan Terrier – Full Dog Breed Information

tibetan terrier

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The Tibetan Terrier was is a wonderful companion dog and friend, dogs of this breed enjoy being with people. They require lots of love, care and affection, they are very adaptable and can live in any environment. The Tibetan Terrier makes a wonderful addition to the family.

History of the Tibetan Terrier

Tibetan Terriers were born in Tibet, with its mountainous terrain, Tibet is also known as “the Roof of the World”. It was in this remote, high land that the Tibetan Terrier was created. They were bred in Lamaseries— a monastery for Lamas, by Buddhist monks known as Lamas and were given the name “Holy Dog”.

They were bred to be companion dogs not only to the monks that raised them but also to the nomadic herdsmen that wandered the high plains with their flocks. As a result of their reputation as luck bringers, they traveled the high plateau with the herdsmen, guarding the tents of the herdsmen. These medium-sized dogs were never sold by the lama or by the herdsmen out of fear of tempting fate, they were only given as gifts or symbols of gratitude for favors or presented to officials as a symbol of esteem.

This breed might have remained an unknown breed if not for a Tibetan man who gave a Tibetan Terrier to Dr. Agnes R.H. Grieg as a symbol of gratitude for saving his wife’s life. Dr. Greig names this puppy Bunti and became a lover of the breed, she got a male also as a gift and began a breeding program which established the Lamleh Line of Tibetan Terrier.

The Tibetan Terrier is not a true terrier as it doesn’t resemble the Tibetan in instinct or in temperament, he was given the name as a result of its size. It is neither a sporting dog or a mix. The standard of this breed was created by the Kennel Club of India in 1930 and it was officially recognized by England’s Kennel club in 1937. In 1956, the very first Tibetan Terrier was imported into the United States, her name was Gremlin Cortina.

He was owned by Dr Henry.S. and Alice Murphy. Gremlin Cortina was so beloved by Alice that she inspired Alice Murphy to establish her own kennel, Lamleh of Kalai. The Tibetan Terrier club of America was created in 1957, and the American Kennel Club recognized this breed in 1973. Today, this breed ranks 95th among the 155 breeds and dog varieties recognized by the AKC.

Appearance and size

The extreme climate and harsh terrain of Tibet played a huge role in creating a dog with a protective double coat. Tibetan Terriers are safeguarded by a double coat— a soft, woolly undercoat and a topcoat with fine hair that could either be straight or wavy.

The long hair stops before the ground, the hair falls in a natural part along the spine. The coats come in various patterns and colors which include gold, brindle, white, tricolor, black, silver and many more. Hair covers the terrier’s dark and expressive eyes with long eyelashes. They have large, round, flat feet that act like snowshoes to give the dog traction in snowy conditions.

Dogs of this breed are 14 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 20 to 24 pounds.


They have a shaggy coat which is very attractive but it needs frequent grooming. In the dog’s adolescent age, the coat requires daily brushing to keep it tangle-free as the coat changes. When they get their adult coat at approximately 18 months, they can be groomed 1 to 3 times a week.

Spray the coat with a mix of conditioner and water as you brush their coat to avoid damage to the hair, brush all the way down to the skin. Running the brush over the coat won’t remove any tangles or mats. Check for mats behind their ears, the chest and the belly, also check the area where the leg and tail intersect with the body.

Using ear powder can make the hair less slippery, pluck out excess hair in the ears and trim the hairs between the footpad. After brushing, you can also run a comb through the coat to remove dead or loose hair. You can also use a puppy clip to make grooming easier work. They require a bath at least once a month but may require a bath more than once if your pup gets dirty easily or plays outside frequently.

You also have to pay attention to their dental hygiene, brush your dog’s teeth 2 or 3 times every week but you can also brush their teeth daily. Brushing their teeth helps to eliminate bacteria and tartar buildup. Trim their nails once or twice a week as short nails keep their feet in good condition and ensure they do not scratch your legs when they jump to greet or play with you. Check their mouth and ears for parasites, fleas and ticks.

Grooming tools you can use include a spray bottle for misting the coat, ear powder, a metal “greyhound” comb, a pin brush. It is best to get your terrier used to grooming and examination when he’s a puppy.


Tibetan Terriers don’t like being left alone for long hours, they require plenty of attention, affection and the company of the people they love. It doesn’t behave like a true terrier by going to the ground to dig for vermin. This furry friend is affectionate, smart, gentle, fun-loving and pleasant. He is lively, active with a sweet and kind nature but settles down as they mature.

They are known for their adaptability and sense of humor. They excel in situations with abundant love and human companionship which is why they excel as therapy dogs. They are best suited to households with children of school age who know to to handle them properly, and they can match their energy levels all day long but it is not advised to leave dog unsupervised with children.

They socialize well with other dogs and pets especially if they have been raised in the same house as these other dogs and pets. They make great watchdogs and won’t hesitate to raise an alarm if they hear or see anything unusual and suspicious. It is normal for this breed to be reserved and cautious with strangers, he is very dedicated to his family. They prefer to live indoors with their family and not stuck in a kennel or in the backyard.


Tibetan Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but like all dogs, they can fall victim to some health conditions, some of which may be hereditary. Some of these conditions include;

Lens Luxation: Lens Luxation is an inherited disorder. This condition causes the lens to be improperly positioned in the eye, the displacement may be partial or complete. In some cases, this condition can be treated with medication or surgery but in severe cases, the eye may need to be surgically removed.

Hip Dysplasia : This is a condition in touch the femur doesn’t fit properly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint. Hip dysplasia can exist in a dog with or without clinical symptoms, some dogs however have pain or lameness in one or both rear legs. As the dog matures, he or she can develop arthritis. Screening for this condition can be done by the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP) or by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). Dogs suffering from hip dysplasia should not be bred. If you think your dog suffers from this condition, take your dog to your vet. Medication or surgery can be of help to your dog.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: PRA is a deteriorating eye disorder which leads to blindness from the loss of the photoreceptors at the back of the eye. It can be detected years before the dog shows signs of blindness. Luckily, a dog’s other senses makes up for blindness. Blind dogs can live a long, full and happy life.
Tibetan Terriers have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years and a litter size of 4 to 6 puppies. How much your adult dog should eat depends on build, size, age, metabolism and activity level. Like people, dogs don’t all require the same amount of food, an active dog will need more food than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food also makes a huge difference, the better the dog food, the more nourishment your dog gets.

Training and exercise

Dogs of this breed are active and have a lot of energy and require plenty of exercises, they require daily exercise of at least 15 minutes or long walks to stay happy and healthy, if they get this daily they do well in apartments or condos. Dogs of this breed enjoy barking, they bark when they see something unusual or when people come to the door, sometimes they bark out of boredom.

Like all dogs, this breed is easy to train with patience, consistency and positive reinforcement techniques like dog treats, plays and praises. Like all dogs, the Tibetan Terrier needs to learn socialization from an early age, they need to be exposed to different people, dogs, animals, sounds, sights and experiences.

Early socialization is key in ensuring that your Tibetan Terrier matures into a well-rounded dog. You should also introduce your pup to grooming at a tender age so they get used to it. Tibetan Terriers in their puppy and adolescent years are filled with excitement and energy, they require higher levels of stimulation and exercise than adults, but as they grow older, they are content with being couch potatoes.

It’s a good idea for a Tibetan terrier to have a secured and fenced yard where he can play, but it’s not a good idea to leave him out for long periods. When a Tibetan is bored, he barks a lot, but when he is really bored, he becomes an escape artist. He will jump, climb or fish his way over or under a fence. Training of this breed can take time but it isn’t impossible.

All you need is patience, a regular schedule and plenty of opportunities for your Tibetan Terrier to be outdoors, praising him when he does well. Crate training is a house train method to prevent your pup from chewing things in your absence, however, your pup should not be left in the crate for long periods. They perform well in dog sports such as obedience, agility and rally. Tibetan Terriers can sometimes have their agenda, so try to keep their training fun and consistent.

Why you should get a Tibetan Terrier

The Tibetan Terrier is a companion dog that loves the company of people, they are a good choice for novice dog owners, they easily adapt to various homes, even apartments, and different lifestyles.

Being affectionate dogs, they fit in perfectly with any family. When showered with plenty love, attention and affection, they become the best furry family member a person can have. Due to their moderate size, they make a good travel companion. They are suitable for hiking, walking or jogging alongside their owners

Where to get a Tibetan Terrier and price

Despite being purebred dogs, the Tibetan Terrier may be found in the care of shelter or rescue groups. To ensure you’re getting a healthy dog, don’t buy a puppy from a pet store, a puppy mill, or a breed that can’t provide you with guarantees and health clearances.

Ensure your breeder is reputable and he or she tests her dogs to be sure they are free of genetic disease and health conditions with may be passed on to the puppies. Reputable breeders have their dog’s eyes checked annually by a veterinary ophthalmologist for eye conditions.

A good breeder will effortlessly match you with the right puppy as the breeder’s primary concern will be to find the best home for the pup and not making a quick buck. A Tibetan Terrier goes for an average of $1000- $2000.

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